The BPIF is warning industry companies that the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations are changing on 26 May 2011. The major changes relate to cookies, the need for public electronic communications service providers to report personal data breaches, and the powers the Information Commissioner has to enforce these regulations.
The new regulations will force websites to obtain user consent before tracking the user's online activity through cookies – small text files that remember what sites a user has visited on the internet.
The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) is a data protection regulator which is tasked by the Government to enforce the new laws and has now produced guidance on compliance with the new regulations.
The ICO has advised that websites should not rely on browser settings as indicating whether a user consents to having their online activity tracked.
"You need to provide information about cookies and obtain consent before a cookie is set for the first time. Provided you get consent at that point you do not need to do so again for the same person each time you use the same cookie (for the same purpose) in future," the advice said.
Further information on the changes can be found on the ICO website: http://www.ico.gov.uk/