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 October 23, 2009  Business, Laws, Non-U.S., Online

Struan Robertson of Out-Law.com has an editorial piece on how the fate of online advertising cookies in the UK is tied to a file-sharing bill that has as yet to be resolved:

Visitors to websites in Europe may soon face a barrage of pop-ups that seek their consent to internet cookies. Bizarrely, the plan to change current laws on cookies can be stopped only if politicians fail to resolve a file-sharing dispute.

If the new law is passed, websites will be required to seek consent from users before serving cookies – the small text files that help a site to remember a visitor. The law’s fate has become inextricably linked to a file-sharing policy.

The EU’s Council of Ministers and Parliament are in disagreement over a single clause in a package of laws, a clause that requires a court’s authority before an individual can be disconnected from the internet for illegal downloading. The rest of that package – including the cookie plan – is now sealed and closed to further negotiation.

If the file-sharing impasse is resolved, the entire telecoms package will be passed into law on 14th December. If MEPs and Ministers cannot reach agreement before then, the entire telecoms package falls.

So if your business is funded by web advertising, cross your fingers that a committee of 54 MEPs and Ministers continues to squabble over the rights and freedoms of BitTorrent users. Any consensus may damage your website’s usability and possibly your business.

Read more on Out-Law.com

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