HC Deb 24 January 2002 vol 378 cc1071-2W
Norman Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what controls exist in respect of(a) the placement of cookies on websites and (b) the use of such cookies to monitor the computer usage of individuals. [28329]

Mr. Alexander

[holding answer 22 January 2002]: Where the use of cookies by website operators involves the processing of personal data, they are subject to control under the Data Protection Act 1998. Website operators are required to ensure that users are aware who is processing such data and why, and give them an opportunity to refuse.

There are proposals for further regulation of the placement and use of cookies in the proposed communications data protection and privacy directive, which is currently under negotiation. A draft provision agreed by member states at the Telecoms Council on 6 December would extend the requirement to provide information and an opportunity to refuse to cookies which do not involve the processing of personal data.

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