23 Jun 2011

Stick a clog in it! The Dutch deal with cookies

It's big news from Holland, where they have been busy passing laws on cookies and net neutrality.

In a somewhat surprising move, they are first to follow up on a previous European directive that insisted that cookies had to be opt-in. At the time (Nov 2009) an update to the Telecoms Reform Act caused concern to marketers who were worried what an opt-in would mean, but then in December they seemed to climb down and the panic seemed over smaller.

The idea is good. There is a move to ensure consumers understand what data is being collected on them and give them choice on whether to proceed. The problem though is that the word 'cookies' has a bad name and is associated with nothing but negative connotations. The reality is that cookies provide important functionality, but also a better browsing experience, more relevant content and better advertising.

The presence of cookies should be communicated, but forcing an opt-in is likely to only have a negative impact.

For a background on cookie law...


In a more positive move, Holland also passed a law that says mobile networks can not charge more for accessing services like Skype, perhaps the first move to a true net neutrality legal framework.


(Note to British readers - best Peter Kay one-liner - "I met a Dutch girl with inflatable shoes. I called her up to ask her for a date, but she'd popped her clogs.")


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