Future of Privacy

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Will users opt-in to analytics cookies? Initial results show: “No!”

In order to demonstrate a model implementation for opt-in cookies under the Amendments to the EU Telecom Directive, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) implemented an opt-in for the use of an analytics cookie. The “above the banner” opt-in request can be seen here, and at the links here and here you can see the results of its implementation in visuals.

So what happened? Tracked traffic to the site fell by a staggering 90%! Leading web analytics expert, Vicky Brock (@brockyvick) made a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to obtain the traffic to the ICO site measured using the Google Analytics tool. The results are what is shown in graphics linked to above (on Vicky Brock’s Flikr).

Though these numbers are only an initial look at the effects of implementing the cookie amendments to the Telcom Directive, they make it clear that interpreting the law expansively will be impractical. Although some companies may figure out how to do better at enticing consumers to consent to analytics, the negative effect on a Web site’s ability to track basic information about how a site is being used will clearly be dramatically affected.

Posted by on June 23, 2011.

Categories: Blog

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About Future of Privacy

The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) is a Washington, DC based think tank that seeks to advance responsible data practices. The forum is led by Internet privacy experts Jules Polonetsky and Christopher Wolf and includes an advisory board comprised of leading figures from industry, academia, law and advocacy groups.more →