Cookies!! Soon to be missed, or hated. #kaklagen

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Cookies can be used to a lot of handy stuff. But yesterday the Swedish government voted through a piece of legislation with 153 positive against 133 negative votes including 4 reservations(4 out of 8 parties put forth a reservation).

So what’s the fuzz about? Well they just voted through, as part of the European Unions “Telecom Package” that all web site cookies has to be explicitly accepted by the visiting user. The law in swedish states the following(click on it to get the google translation):

Vad gäller användningen av bl.a. s.k. cookies klargörs det att uppgifter får lagras eller hämtas hos en användare endast om denne får tillgång till information om ändamålet med behandlingen och samtycker till denna

Which in essence means that before use of cookies and all technologies like it(a bit fuzzy here) the visiting user has to be notified that a piece of information about the user is stored on their computer and what it is going to be used for.

This piece of legislation will go live as per the 1st of july 2011, so in less than two months. It’s gonna be a lot of sites to rebuild.

A better approach to this legislation would be to have put demands on browser makers instead of web site creators(roughly 20-ish browser makers vs. billions of websites to change their code).

So here we are, what do we do? Well there is going to have to be some precedent verdict on this issue before we know for sure, but from my stand point I can identify two viable paths:

Path 1 – In the land were localstorage is king

On the off chance that HTML5 local storage is not being within the reach of this legislation (depending on how the courts see the issue) we could just change our cookie-wrapper-functions to talk with HTML5 local storage.

For browsers that don’t support HTML5 local storage we display a large sign informing them that their browser is old and needs to be updated or they will have to receive tons of popups explaining each cookies purpose and requesting a approval. I mean, they were warned.

Path 2 – In the sober grim reality

But since the law is actually aiming at(and I think that this is how it will be interpreted by judges and jurys) is that tracking has to be done with consent. We will se a lot of sites just ignoring the law al together. Why? Because being the first site to follow this legislation is definitely going to be bad for business. So as all other laws that are impossible to adhere to, it’s going to be largely ignored until someone actually get a law suite agains them.

On twitter @drrotmos is currently trying to persuade a bunch of people suing the governments public web sites for braking this law. First and foremost for getting a really important piece of precedence and maybe, also setting the path for others to follow.