Cookies and UK Government Sites

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In the previous post I made it clear that US government sites are not allowed to use persistent cookies ever. The cookie policy for UK government sites is more lenient so that web designers can actually use cookies. However, note that when developing a UK government site you should adhere to the following requirements if you plan on using cookies:

  1. Have a page or section that explains to users the purpose of the cookies and detail the kind of information that will be collected by those cookies. You should also outline what will be done with that information. Usually this is stated in the privacy policy of the website.
  2. You should design the website so that users can have the option of turning off cookies. Even when cookies are disabled the user should be able to surf the website and perform basic functions without it affecting the performance of the website too much.
  3. If your website is designed in such a way that user experience will be affected (remember this should only be slightly) when cookies are disabled you should have a way of warning the user of the possible effects to their surfing experience.

The most important requirement is clearly the ability of users to opt out. The good news for those concerned with web analytics (and you should be concerned about web analytics!) is that at least with UK government sites you will be able to extract data thru cookies. Remember to state that you’ll be using the data for web analytics!

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