The Cookie Law

In May 2011, a European Union (EU) Directive was adopted by all EU member countries to protect consumer privacy online. This piece of privacy legislation requires that covered websites:

  • Let users know if they are using cookies
  • Explain what data is gathered through the use of cookies and how that data is used, and
  • Gather user consent to the use of cookies

The law is enforced by governing bodies in the EU, and therefore can’t apply unilaterally to everyone. If you live outside of the EU, have a website hosted on a server outside of the EU, and are targeting consumers anywhere other than the EU, you don’t need a cookie consent notice.
Who Does the Cookie Law Apply To?

  • Any person or organization that is physically located in the EU and has a website
  • Any website that targets EU consumers

However, there is one additional qualification. In order to be covered by The Cookie Law your website has to use cookies.

Does My Site Use Cookies?

Yes. All WordPress websites use cookies.

The WordPress core software uses cookies for user authentication and for commenting, and plugins use cookies in a wide variety of ways.

To comply with the law you need to do three things:

  • Let users know that you’re using cookies
  • Provide a link where they can learn more about how you use the data you gather
  • Provide a way for users to consent to the use of cookies

The most common way to do this is to display a small banner at the top or bottom of your website with a link to a detailed privacy policy and a button to consent to the use of cookies and hide the banner.