TrustArc Blog

The Cookie Law: Is Enforcement Around The Corner?

October 09, 2012

Danilo Labovic
EMEA Managing Director | TRUSTe

After the initial flurry of media coverage subsided last spring many companies thought that the EU Cookie Directive was a passing headache they could soon forget.

They would be wise to pay attention, however, to the changing tone of reports coming from certain EU member states amid increasing talk of investigation teams, enforcement actions, and penalties. The UK Financial Times reported last week,  for example, that the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) had “received 486 complaints about non-compliance and had increased the size of its enforcement team by 60 per cent to 37, to investigate infringements.”

A blog post last month by Dave Evans, ICO Group Manager for Business & Industry, revealed that sites that have failed to comply are “being set a deadline to take steps towards compliance, with formal enforcement action likely if they fail to meet this deadline,” reminding his readers that “failure to act on an enforcement notice is a criminal offence.” Read more “The Cookie Law: Is Enforcement Around The Corner?”

Midata – A privacy milestone for UK consumers, or an additional business burden, and data security risk?

September 12, 2012

Saira Nayak
Policy Director | TRUSTe

Earlier this week TRUSTe filed comments on the UK Government’s proposals to require organisations to give people access to their historic transaction data in a machine readable format – the so-called midata initiative.

Through this initiative, the UK Government hopes to unlock the benefits of Big Data by empowering consumers to make the right purchasing decisions through an expanded right of access to their purchase history and related information. In the consultation document, the UK cites evidence from the US Government’s Green Button initiative – aimed at creating a common data standard among Smart Grid companies and US power utilities for the storage of users’ personal energy information.[1] However, the proposed UK requirement would take access one step further – making it compulsory for all suppliers of services and goods to provide this data to customers on request. Read more “Midata – A privacy milestone for UK consumers, or an additional business burden, and data security risk?”

Nearly Two In Three Top UK Websites Have Taken Steps To Be Cookie Compliant

September 06, 2012

Richard Foster
UK Director Ad Solutions | TRUSTe

The recent EU Cookie Directive put third party tracking and online behavioural advertising under the spotlight in the UK and required advertisers, publishers and brands to consider their data privacy practices and how they communicated these to their users.

Despite the UK regulator, the ICO, giving companies a 12 month-grace period there were notably few visible compliance solutions by the start of the year. It wasn’t until the final week in May, with the deadline for enforcement looming, that companies started to show their hand and high profile websites such as and unveiled their proposed solutions.

Three months on we decided to review the current state of play and conducted an in-depth analysis of the efforts undertaken by UK websites to address the EU Cookie Directive. During July and August we analysed 231 top UK websites using website usability tests and TRUSTe’s Tracker/Cookie Monitoring service. The sites selected included top consumer brands and some of the most trafficked UK websites in the publisher, travel, e-commerce, finance, technology, consumer goods and entertainment sectors. Read more “Nearly Two In Three Top UK Websites Have Taken Steps To Be Cookie Compliant”

When Self-Regulation Works, Your Privacy Is In Good Hands

July 27, 2012

Jim Adler
Chief Privacy Officer & GM of Data Systems | Intelius

Image Credit

Despite the ongoing discussions about online privacy by legislatures, regulators, and data conservationists — self-regulation remains the primary tool to ensure consumer information is handled responsibly. And rightly so.

Too often, privacy debates devolve into false dichotomies, dominated by arguments that advocate for being always anonymous or that privacy is dead. Both are wrong. Online privacy continues to be an important conversation because we humans are both social and autonomous creatures. And, we need solutions that balance values of both disclosure and discretion. The U.S. founders knew that. Read more “When Self-Regulation Works, Your Privacy Is In Good Hands”

Websites Are In The Dark About Third Party Tracking

July 20, 2012

Tony Berman
Sr. Product Manager | TRUSTe

TRUSTe’s Website Tracker Audit Service was recently used in an experiment to analyze the accuracy of the privacy disclosures of some of 116 popular websites on the Internet (see footnote for a list of domains scanned)[1]. Forty eight percent (48%) of the sites included in the experiment do not disclose all the tracking technologies used on their site. This really drives home the fact that almost 50% of websites are not fully aware of all the tracking going on.

The key to fully understanding the tracking technologies on your site and how they affect online privacy is multifaceted.  You need to fully vet the Who, What, When, Where and How of website trackers:


WHAT tracking technologies are used on a site?
You need to able to differentiate cookies, flash cookies and other technologies such as web beacons/ pixel tags and scripts on a website. It is important to know whether these are set by first or third parties. Read more “Websites Are In The Dark About Third Party Tracking”

The State of Consumer Privacy Confidence

July 17, 2012

Dave Deasy
VP of Marketing | TRUSTe

Last month we released the results of the Q2 U.S. Consumer Confidence Edition of our Privacy Index series. We found that consumer privacy concerns remain high – 91 percent of U.S. adults worry about their privacy online, up slightly from 90 percent in Q1. The potential business impact of these concerns is substantial and unchanged from the previous quarter – 88 percent of U.S adults say they avoid companies that do not protect their privacy.

While worrisome that just over half of consumer have a low level of trust (53 percent report that they do not trust businesses with their personal information online), the fact that nearly 50 percent of consumers do trust businesses indicates that many companies are successfully addressing concerns through strong privacy management practices. Overall, companies still have a lot of work to do,  and consumers are watching – 93% believe that businesses have a responsibility to protect their privacy online.

At TRUSTe we have been working hard to educate businesses on the value of privacy (through surveys, webinars and events across the country) and equipping them with the technologies and tools they need to implement strong privacy management practices across their online platforms. Read more “The State of Consumer Privacy Confidence”