Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Two-thirds of UK web cookies owned by third parties

Most websites in the UK are tracking your every move

Article comments

UK websites contain an average of 14 cookies per page, the majority of which belong to third parties, according to a new report.

Cookies are small sections of code that websites put on a user's computer so that they can remember something. They are used to enable websites to remember users’ preferences, but can also be used to track consumers’ browsing behaviour for targeted advertising purposes.

A typical user will encounter anywhere between 112 and 140 cookies during their average session on a British website, according to privacy solutions provider TRUSTe, and over two-thirds will be used by third parties (ie. not the website owner) to deliver targeted advertising.

The news comes just over a month before the EU e-Privacy Directive is enforced in the UK, requiring anyone running a website to get explicit opt-in consent from their visitors before deploying cookies on their machines. The law is designed to give people greater choice about whether or not they want their online behaviour to be tracked.

However, research by KPMG earlier this month revealed that 95 percent of businesses were not in compliance with the cookie-related requirements of the e-Privacy Directive, and are therefore risking fines of up to £500,000.

The so-called “cookie law” also requires website owners to provide “clear and comprehensive” information about the use of cookies and alert users to their presence.

TRUSTe's research reveals that the average UK website privacy policy is 2,299 words – more than twice as long as the typical Queen's Speech. Given their length, most online privacy policies are not easily accessible to consumers, limiting their ability to understand how their personal data will be collected and used.

“Clearly more work needs to be done to deliver shorter, more accessible privacy notices that can be easily understood by consumers so that they can make informed choices around their personal information,” said Chris Babel, chief executive of TRUSTe.

Earlier research conducted on behalf of TRUSTe found that 90 percent of British adults worry about their online privacy. Over a third do not trust most companies with their personal information online, and 88 percent avoid companies that they believe do not protect their privacy.

“Every UK user should remember that you are being tracked and surveilled without your explicit consent by a myriad of companies, through deals with major websites to gain access to your web browsing habits. This is unacceptable – and may now be a breach of e-privacy laws,” said Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group.

“The lack of explicit consent for online data collection can't continue.”

The EU e-Privacy Directive comes into force on 26 May 2012.


More from Techworld

More relevant IT news


Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *