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May 26 2011


New EU cookie laws: websites get a year to comply. Are you ready?

Journalism.co.uk :: Changes to the law in relation to accessing information on user's computers will be "phased in", communications minister Ed Vaizey confirmed today.

[Ed Vaizey, ICO:] We recognise that some website users have real concerns around online privacy, but also recognise that cookies play a key role in the smooth running of the internet. This Europe-wide legislation will ultimately help improve the control that individuals have over their personal data and help ensure they can use the internet with confidence.

In a letter to representatives of the online industry Vaizey said changes to website operations will not be expected overnight as the new EU rules on 'cookies' come into force tomorrow. The Information Commissioner's office (ICO) said websites will have up to 12 months to "get their house in order" before enforcement of the new law will begin.

Continue to read www.journalism.co.uk

Download Ed Vaizey's letter (PDF)

Download ICO announcement The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) (PDF)

Press release "Cookie rules to be phased in" www.culture.gov.uk

April 01 2011


Blocking content sites by ‘self-regulation’ – a recipe for easy censorship

At the start of this month I said that journalists were failing to “protect the public sphere”. Well, here’s just one example of this in action that we need to be watching.

Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, has confirmed to the Open Rights Group “that discussion are ongoing between rights-holders and Internet Service Providers about ‘self-regulatory’ site-blocking measures.”

For journalists any move in this direction should be particularly concerning, as it provides a non-legal avenue (i.e. without due process) for anyone to suppress information they don’t like.

The point is not blocking sites, but the ease with which it might be done. If distribution van drivers ‘self-regulated’ to stop delivering newspapers whenever anyone complained, publishers and journalists would have a problem. An avenue to appeal doesn’t solve it, because by then the editorial moment will likely have passed – not to mention the extra costs it incurs for content producers.

Here are some precedents from elsewhere:

If you want to write to your MP, you can do so here.

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