Did someone at the ICO get pissed at lunch? Privacy lunacy

So the story so far..after many years of neglect the governments of US and UK decide we need to manage better the laws around privacy. The US agrees that we don’t need a law but the relevant bodies should show clear guidance and management of the issue, proving that the industry will be responsible. The US have done that, it’s still a little disorganised but it’s getting there.

At the same time in the UK we were doing the same. Everyone working together and moving towards an acceptable solution. It was loosely agreed that cookies required by a company to deliver a service, think about how intuitive Amazon is or how your bank remembers you etc etc. Everyone was happy with that approach. At the same time the advertising and targeting industry was looking, similar to the US at another self regulation approach. There was a number of options but it was going in the right direction.

As I had mentioned before, based on information from Evidon, consumers had shown not a fear of being tracked but rather a desire to be represented appropriately and therefore receive the most relevant advertising and or slick process through ecommerce websites. This to me is crucial, absolutely crucial and the government needs to understand this point further.

So all was going smoothly. Then someone went to lunch and got pissed at the ICO because when they got back they decided to throw all that out and do a number of things:

1. You need agreement from the user to cookie them, before you start to do it
2. They tightened up the rules for advertisers as to what is a crucial cookie and therefore exempt vs one that just makes your life easier.
3. They then left all that hanging with no actual solutions.

It is absolute lunacy, we are left with chaos, are we really suggesting pop up boxes and drop downs and virtual signatures before being able to drop a cookie? Perhaps we should just go the whole hog and ask for permission in writing as one European country is discussing.

This approach is a major departure from where the Government was only weeks ago and has caught everyone off guard, ecommerce is at risk as is most of the digital advertising business and hence why it is lunacy. The point in this blog however is simple, the only reason they could have had this short term turnaround is because they went to lunch and got pissed because frankly there can be no other explanation.

This needs of be sorted out, I am sure it will be and I know everyone is working closely together as agency groups, advertisers and industry bodies, so nobody panic. If all else fails get down the pub with the ICO boys and try and persuade them otherwise.

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