Everyone loves cookies!
Except for diabetics perhaps…
And in Internet terms, they help website-makers to create the website experience that’s expected by its users. Unfortunately, governing bodies are set up to be diametrically opposed to anything decent, good and wholesome, so the EU have decided to bring in legislation against cookies. On May 26th 2011 this law was brought into effect, meaning that cookies are now illegal, unless a website owner explains the end-user what cookies are and inform why the website uses them. Which is exactly what I have done via this page.
I’m not even sure the cookie law applies to this site, as it appears to be aimed at businesses. However, I’m not taking the risk of a half a million euros fine that I couldn’t afford to pay off in my lifetime. That’s another problem, this law is just too vague.
The irony is, if I really wanted to track people visiting the site, I could set up a rudimentary PHP script that logs what operating system you’re using, your ip address, what your host name is, what port you’re using and a whole bunch of other neat stuff. The best part? As long as I don’t use a cookie (which I wouldn’t), it would be entirely legal. Actually, most servers have logs built in that capture this information anyway!
What is a cookie
It’s a little text file that gets stored on your machine that contains various information, depending on what it’s being used for. Common uses include:
- Remembering your preferences for a particular website
- To assist shopping carts when buying online (as in, a key component)
- To aggregate visitor traffic so website owners can see where their visitors are coming from
- Potentially to track what websites people have visited and offer them targeted advertising
It’s the last two that has the EU concerned, so they’ve just decided to make an integral part of how the internet works illegal and damn the consequences. I don’t know about you, but I’m all for targeted advertising. I really prefer to see a nice ad with the latest geek stuff, instead of an ad trying to sell me incontinence pads.
How does this web-site use them
There’s some YouTube videos embedded into the site that have cookies related to them, but we all like videos so sod removing those.
All of the pages on this site have a Analytics tracking code in them that allows me to see what meager traffic I get from this site and justify to myself that it’s worth keeping this thing running. The tracking extends to what part of the world you came from and possibly what search term you used to find my site. That’s it. It doesn’t give me your name, address or bank details (but if Google could get on that I’d be most appreciative).
The stupid EU cookie law in 2½ minutes:
So… Have a cookie: Accept
Or… Have a jar full of cookies and use a plugin from https://cookiesok.com/ to automatically accept cookies on many popular websites, including this one.