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Changes to Cookie Consent – Will You Need a New Cookie Banner?

The UK Government is soon to announce changes to the UK GDPR, which could mean changes to your website.

In a comprehensive consultation, the UK Department of Digital, Cultural Media and Sport has proposed a broad set of changes to British data protection laws.

“These reforms aim to move the ICO away from handling a high volume of low-level complaints and towards addressing the most serious threats to public trust and inappropriate barriers to responsible data use.”

One of their stated aims is to simplify regulations around cookie consent.

Does my website use cookies?

Probably – most websites do. If you’ve got social media buttons, a shopping cart, or if you use Google Analytics to track the behaviour of your website visitors, then your website uses cookies – a tiny piece of code that your website inserts into your visitor’s browser.

Google Analytics cookies

Google Analytics allows you to choose what kind of data this code will capture. The old version of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics, or UA) would record all sorts of data about the website visitor, including location data, demographic data, and other sites they visit.

This data was recorded and shared using ‘third-party’ cookies. There was always the option to turn these features off though, and just use ‘first-party’ cookies, which only record data about the visitor’s interactions with your website.

The new version of Google Analytics (GA4) doesn’t use any third-party cookies at all, and Google has announced they’ll be blocking the use of all third-party cookies on Chrome by 2023. (Safari, Apple’s browser, has been blocking third-party cookies since 2013).

Do I need cookie consent?

Yes. The GDPR regulations, introduced in May 2018, require that all websites inform the site visitor about the cookies used, in order to obtain consent.

Typically, web designers will create a cookie consent banner, that pops up when a visitor arrives at your website. There are four different ways to obtain consent.

Different types of cookie consent

Notice Only

The visitor is informed that a website uses cookies but is not given the ability to opt out.

Opt-In Consent

Cookies are disabled by default and will not track unless a visitor manually asks to be tracked.

Opt-Out Consent

Cookies are enabled by default and will track unless a visitor manually asks not to be tracked.

Implied Consent

The visitor is informed that the action of browsing the website means that they have accepted cookie tracking. Typically, there are still some means of opting out.

Many companies prefer the opt-out or implied consent options because the ‘opt-in’ approach can result in many site visits going unrecorded.

Originally, the opt-in consent was only required if you were using third-party cookies or you had the third-party cookies features switched on in Google Analytics.

Then in July 2019, the ICO (the UK regulatory body that enforces data protection law) declared that all cookies required opt-in consent.

If your site has a cookie banner that doesn’t explicitly require opt-in consent then don’t worry – you’re not alone. Less than 50% of UK businesses are thought to be fully compliant on this contentious legal issue, and the government consultation contains proposals specifically aimed at relaxing these regulations.

The consultation analysis estimates that UK businesses could save roughly £15.8 million as a result of removing the opt-in requirement.

Stay compliant with Trio Media

The public consultation on these proposed reforms closes on the 19th November, 2021. Here at Trio, we’re following these developments closely, so that our Leeds web designers can implement the best practice GDPR solution for your cookie consent needs.

If you want to make sure your cookie banner meets the new regulations, contact us today and we’ll book you in.

NOTE – Please be aware Trio Media does not offer a legal guarantee of compliance.