Updates from QA Training

Storing Cookies and the EU Directive

A few delegates recently have asked me recently about how they can add some code to get users to confirm acceptance that your website will store cookies for them.


David Walker | 16 July 2012

A few delegates recently have asked me recently about how they can add some code to get users to confirm acceptance that your website will store cookies for them.

The notification of users, even if implicit consent is the only option you give them is now a legal requirement within the EU as the Information Commissioner's Office makes clear.

Where appropriate I have hooked together an example to show them the way to go about this during classes. The weird thing is if you implicitly or explicitly give consent you need to store a cookie so you do not get asked each time where storing cookie is about you is OK. If you ever want to see what cookies are stored about you can do so in the developer consoles of most browsers. In Chrome we would do the following:

Press F12 or Command Option I on a Mac to bring up the developer consoles. Choose the Resources tab and then cookies expanding the cookies tab as show in the image below. You will be able to inspect the cookies from the website you are on and any rules attached to them for example if they are session or persistent.

cookies

By the way, if you ever see anything human readable in these cookie values walk away from the website and never return.

Your website needs to move towards asking users if it is OK to hold this information about them. Doing so usually involves a little bit of javascript of jQuery jiggery-pokery but there is a great script offered by CivicUK that does most of it for you. It has a series of different styles and options and only really requires jQuery to do the rest for you. The instructions on how to use it are clear and you have a choice wether to do so as raw markup, integrate in WordPress and Drupal.

If your website does not yet implement this it is another easy win which will leave you with happy managers and informed users.

As a closing comment is anyone knows if the EU Directive on Cookies in web pages is for any information stored about users or specifically just cookies? (I'm concerned about HTML5 LocalStorage and IndexedDB) I would really love to hear from you. Drop me a twitter message or email.


David-Walker---sq

David Walker

Head of Emerging Technologies

David is a change-driven technologist who works closely with organisations and industry experts to understand the opportunities and threats posed by new technology. David has designed multiple learning solutions that have helped organisations redefine their business strategy and culture – creating new business models that view IT as a strategic competency rather than a support function.
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