63% of top UK websites have taken steps to address the EU cookie directive.

London, 6 September 2012 - Three months since enforcement of the EU Cookie Directive in the UK began, TRUSTe, the global leader in data privacy management solutions, has released the results of an extensive study of compliance efforts to date. TRUSTe’s analysis reveals that nearly two in three top UK websites have implemented at least some measures to address the Directive, including several who have implemented robust and user-friendly compliance solutions. TRUSTe’s study reviewed both compliance efforts and tracking activities on top UK consumer websites.

Of the 231 websites included in the TRUSTe Privacy Index: UK Compliance and Tracking Edition, 12% had implemented prominent privacy notices with robust cookie controls; 51% had minimal privacy notices with limited cookie controls, and 37% did not appear to have taken any steps to comply with the Directive. Of those sites that had not yet taken any visible compliance action, 49% had a low number of third-party cookies present on their site (0-25), 35% had a moderate level of third-party cookies (26-50) and 16% had a high level of third-party cookies (> 50). Overall, 56% of the sites examined in this study had moderate to high levels of third-party trackers, but within this group only 17% had implemented robust compliance solutions combining prominent privacy notices and strong cookie controls.

Some of the best examples of robust compliance solutions leveraged creative approaches that made the implementations especially user-friendly. Toyota, for example, made it very simple for users to control cookie settings on their site http://www.toyota.co.uk and provided individual descriptions of cookie purposes (e.g. "Locate your dealer with Google Maps"). Similarly, Barclays' website http://www.barclays.co.uk displayed a clear privacy notice directing users to a page explaining the purpose of each cookie whilst giving the user readily accessible cookie preference controls. Companies have also worked hard to ensure that the messaging is applicable to their users and consistent with their brand as shown in Aldo Shoes implementation of TRUSTe's Consent Manager on their site http://www.aldoshoes.com/uk, where customers who click on "Cookie Preferences" are asked if they are "Cool with cookies?"

Chris Babel, CEO TRUSTe said:

"Based on our analysis it is clear that many companies have started to take the EU Cookie Directive seriously and devoted time and resources to implement a compliance solution that helps their users control the tracking activity on their site.

At the same time it is clear that some companies have yet to put a compliance solution in place. We at TRUSTe, alongside the industry bodies and regulators, will continue to work with companies to help them implement solutions appropriate to their business model."

Notes to Editors

  1. TRUSTe is the leading global Data Privacy Management (DPM) company and powers trust in the data economy by enabling businesses to safely collect and use customer data across their customer, employee, and vendor channels. Our SaaS-based DPM Platform gives users control over all phases of data privacy management from conducting assessments and implementing compliance controls to managing ongoing monitoring. Our DPM Services, including assessments and certifications, are delivered by an expert team of privacy professionals. Thousands of companies worldwide rely on TRUSTe to minimize compliance risk and protect their brand.
  2. The 231 websites analysed represent top consumer brands in the UK and some of the most trafficked UK websites in the publisher, travel, e-commerce, finance, technology, consumer goods, and entertainment sectors. For details of the research findings see http://www.truste.com/uk-compliance-tracking-index The data on third party trackers was compiled using TRUSTe's deep scanning technology that is available to businesses through the Website Tracker & Cookie Auditing Service. For more information see: http://www.truste.com/products-and-services/enterprise-privacy/website-monitoring-service
  3. For TRUSTe UK media enquiries and interview requests please contact Eleanor Treharne-Jones at +44 (0) 7811 093648 or e-mail eleanor@truste.com