Cookies …mmm

cookiesSo what ‘cookies’ are we serving here? Sadly, I’m not talking the chocolate chip variety  – that was just a ruse to get you in. If you have ever used a website (yeah exactly), or have your own website, and you regularly visit overseas websites, then it’s highly likely you will have bumped into this cookie monster before.

Let’s start with a brief explanation. A ‘cookie’ is a tracking technology – a small file placed in your web browser that collects information about your web browsing behaviour.

Cookies are generally used to make websites work or work in a more efficient way. For example, they can recognize you and remember important information that will make your use of a website more convenient (e.g., by remembering your user preferences).

Although this tracking technology does not access any information stored on your computer or any personal information (e.g. name, address, email address or telephone number), it does allow collection of identifiable information.

As a result, the law in the UK and Europe, stipulates that if you use cookies, you must alert visitors to your website, that you track visitor behaviour and visitors must provide their consent to their use.

Australian privacy regulations are not quite as stringent. If your website uses cookies, then you must state in your Privacy Policy how that collected information is stored (for example on a secure server) and what it is used for. An alert/or notification and consent are not required.

As a result ‘cookies’ are not generally seen as an issue in Australia just yet. However, there is no harm in being ahead of the curve and actually understand:

  • ‘where’ your website uses cookies
  • how to enable and disable these cookies
  • what functionality these cookies provide
  • which countries are your visitors coming from?
  • are your analytics dropping cookies on visitor browsers?
  • perhaps if you use WordPress, your social media plugins have cookies?
  • is your shopping cart software using cookies?
  • are online advertisers using cookies on your website?

Even though it’s not a requirement just yet, at McCC we would suggest it’s Best Practice to inform your website visitors and users that cookies are being used and specifically what information is being collected, and how it is being used.

It’s a topic that is always changing, always evolving so make sure your business is keeping up with the latest directive in your country.

If you would like more information on cookies, please contact evie@mcraecomms.com

 

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