I work on a service that has multiple EU clients. The service is hosted and maintained in the US. Before I even worry about compliance, I'm trying to figure out whether my service needs to comply at all.

Is there an anything out there that explains the new EU cookie directive rules in plain English?

  • 2 up votes and 3 votes to close :)
    – KevinDTimm
    May 23, 2011 at 16:21
  • 1
    Guidance published by the UK ICO available here - ico.gov.uk/~/media/documents/library/Privacy_and_electronic/… They say they plan to issue more guidance nearer the time, and a few places have noted that they themselves are not yet in compliance.
    – Robb
    May 23, 2011 at 16:24
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    Thanks for the link Robb. If voting to close, please provide guidance as to where an appropriate place to ask this question would be.
    – rr
    May 23, 2011 at 16:25
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    @rr Not on Stack Overflow, and probably nowhere in the network, since this is a legal question only tangentially related to programming. You're looking for legal advice, so the standard answer is to look for a lawyer
    – Yi Jiang
    May 24, 2011 at 14:47
  • 3
    Especially in small business environments, it is the programmers who will have to understand how the new rules restrict the ways in which they can use cookies, and it is programmers who will have to implement those changes. It's not about code, but neither are all aspects of programming. I submit that it is relevant on Stack Overflow rather than pigeonholing the answer onto a site with a far smaller reach.
    – Nicholas Piasecki
    May 27, 2011 at 15:10

1 Answer 1


Technically your question is one of international law. But I think that's stretching the technicality well past absurdity for a public forum such as this.

My answer is from a more practical "what should the IT folks do until the lawyers and judges figure all this out?" point of view.

The answer is do nothing until you see the BIG players responding and then you will have to (like the rest of us) inevitably follow their lead.

Don't expect anything significant to happen for years.

These laws are rooted in aspiration and are an attempt to slowly guide privacy best practice (from the EU/ICO point of view) amongst web-hosts and web client developers backed up with the eventual full weight of legal requirement from a large jurisdiction (the EU).

They obviously hope that the market will eventually come up with privacy-robust, usable and economically practical solutions.

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