1. A lot of people have no idea what they’re doing
The first thing I realised when everybody started talking about the cookie law was that nobody really knew what cookies did. I wasn’t really surprised to see that users didn’t know this. The law was introduced because users had no idea what data they released, to whom and what those parties did with that data. Although the law is meant to protect these users it seems like they really don’t know or don’t care about their privacy. I was more surprised to notice that the majority of website owners had no idea what they did with cookies, or even worse, what cookies they let other companies set through their sites. For example, I noticed a lot of website owners had no idea that when they put social sharing buttons on their sites they basically allowed the social networks to track users on their websites. When I looked a little further I noticed a lot of online marketers also didn’t really know what this law implicated. Most of them first had to start an extensive research on what this new law really meant. For which things did they actually rely on cookies? A lot of people didn’t know. Not because they were unsuitable for their jobs, but because there’s never been a need to know what they needed the cookies for. Nobody seemed to care. And lastly the creators of the cookie law didn’t really seem to have a good view of what the law should do. But that’s a whole different story. Shocking? Maybe, maybe not. It seems like people really focus on what they need to know. If privacy isn’t a real issue for the users, why should it be for other parties? There are however more things to learn.
2. Everybody is looking for a quick fix
3. Don’t adjust too fast, but be prepared
Although we work in a fast changing business, we should refrain from adjusting to fast to changing situations. This law is a perfect example of that. Yesterday an announcement was made that some politicians are going to try to change the law to work slightly differently. A fully implemented solution compliant to the current situation could become, at least partly, worthless. The solution isn’t to sit tight either. You have to be prepared. From the 1st of January the supervisory authority (OPTA) can fine offenders with a fine up till € 450.000 without proving you’re using cookies to save personal data. When warned you need to be able to apply the law quickly. Do this in a few steps. Always start with informing the people who need to know about the law within your company, or your clients. Let them know there’s something happening, which could have implications for them. Don’t tell them yet about the exact implications or how the adapt, but just prepare them and tell them you will keep informing. Than start analysing the real implications. Make sure you really know what’s going on. Only then present these findings. Inform them what it really means for them in general, but don’t offer a solution yet. Next you need to inform them about the implications for their situation. In this case analyse the cookies they use, give them insights in what their tracking and start by showing possibilities for their solution. But don’t tell them what to do. Your goal is to get them to make an informed decision about the way to go. Based on your knowledge and insights and their possibilities and needs. And lastly implement a solution when needed. If you need to test some things before it’s really needed to implement the solution you should start early. If you just can turn the switch, do it when really necessary. As you can you see in this case conditions can change. Don’t invest all your resources in implementing a perfect solution before really necessary. But make sure you can adjust quickly when needed.