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ICO Targets Non-Compliant Advertising Cookies: A Call to Action for Website Owners

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is intensifying its efforts to ensure compliance with data protection laws regarding advertising cookies, targeting some of the UK’s top websites. In November, the ICO sent letters to 53 of the country’s top 100 websites, cautioning them about potential enforcement action if changes were not made to align with data protection regulations.

The ICO report that the response was positive. Out of the 53 organizations contacted, 38 have already adjusted their cookie banners to comply with regulations. Additionally, four organizations have committed to achieving compliance within the next month.

In line with data protection laws, websites are expected to offer users a fair choice in consenting to the use of advertising cookies or similar technologies. Businesses that disregard these legal requirements will face consequences, as the ICO vows to extend its enforcement beyond the top 100 websites. The regulator is already gearing up to contact the next 100, and the 100 after that!

To speed up their work in this area, the ICO is developing an artificial intelligence solution that will help them identify websites with non-compliant cookie banners. A ‘hackathon’ event scheduled for early 2024 will explore the practical implementation of this AI solution.

The ICO’s advice to all organizations is clear: take proactive measures to achieve compliance now, before they come knocking.

With the ICO taking proactive steps to uphold data protection laws, it may be a good time for you to consider whether your website’s cookie banners are compliant.

For guidance on the use of cookies, see: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/direct-marketing-and-privacy-and-electronic-communications/guide-to-pecr/guidance-on-the-use-of-cookies-and-similar-technologies/ See: https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/media-centre/news-and-blogs/2024/01/ico-warns-organisations-to-proactively-make-advertising-cookies-compliant/

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