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Cookie Directive to be Transposed into Irish Law

Directive 2009/136/EC (the “Cookie Directive”) is expected to be transposed into Irish law in the next few days. The initial 25 May 2011 deadline for transposition has not been met by Ireland along with several other EU Member States. The UK introduced its legislation on the topic within the timeframe set.

As discussed in a previous article on this topic (please click here), the Cookie Directive makes key amendments to Directive 2002/58/EC (the “E-Privacy Directive”). Under the E-Privacy Directive, website operators must clearly inform users as to how cookies operate and they must also facilitate website users who wish to exclude or limit the use of cookies on their computers. The Cookie Directive goes further however and provides that users must “opt in” or consent to cookies being stored on their computers. The aim of these provisions is to allow consumers have more control over the data that are collected about them.

The new provisions have raised concerns amongst website operators who fear the practical implications of having to obtain user consent each time a cookie is placed on a user’s computer. All interested parties will be keeping a close eye on how the new legislation transposing the Cookie Directive will be worded and interpreted in Ireland. The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner has stated that it will publish guidance in order to assist relevant parties in complying with the new provisions.

Contributed by Leo Moore & John Magee