A big help on the EU Cookie Law journey: meet @cookieappEU!

While we are waiting for the Information Commissioner’s Office to release the report they promised to issue in November about the success of their cookie law enforcement efforts to date

what’s that you say? It’s December? But ICO said they would…oh for fuc –

I thought I would pass the time by giving an unsolicited endorsement to a new app that makes part of our cookie law journey a lot easier.

The app is simply called CookieLaw, it is available for iOS, and it is free at http://cookieapp.eu.

Hello Cookie!
Hello Cookie!

It was created by a Belgian developer who, like me, wanted to understand the law’s demands and requirements across Europe but struggled to find clear information about the implementations outside of his own country. After all, this law seemingly expects us to make our web sites conform to not just one national implementation, but to all thirty of them. Yet if even professionals were struggling to find that information, what hope did we have of interpreting it properly?

The United Kingdom often awards douze points to Irlande. “My lovely lovely lovely horse” was an entry in – oh, wait, wrong app

The app addresses that problem by providing a simple interface for each participating country which explains its cookie law requirements in clear, plain English. The developer tells you what consent level is required and what solutions are recommended to achieve it. He also reminds you what you do not need to do to achieve compliance, for example, using popup consent boxes for express consent in countries which permit implied consent.

If you want to go beyond the developer’s summarised explanation, a separate link is provided for each country’s full and official legal text. Where countries have made supplementary information or videos available, he provides links to those resources too.

This app takes no political stance on the law or on privacy issues in general. It simply provides neutral access to existing information. Refreshingly, neither the app nor the developer are selling anything. The conclusion of each country’s information list is not “hire me”, “download my software”, or “buy my magic beans.” This is an effort made for the web development community, not for company profit. For that alone the project is to be commended!

“I don’t have a clue either, mate.”

What surprised me the most within all of the resources provided in the app (how rock and roll am I studying Bulgarian cookie compliance for fun?) is how many of these 30 information lists carry a caveat: “No cookie guidance or guideline is available at this moment.” Even with the app, many of our European friends will still be on their own trying to figure out the proper implementation strategy. There is every chance this law will have reached its next continent-wide revision before many member nations have figured out how to implement it. The more you think about it, the more deliberate that seems.

On a visual level the developer has wisely salvaged the app from being the most boring thing imaginable by illustrating the journey with a blobby blue mascot called Cookie. As every parent knows, a goofy character can take the edge off of the worst situations. His presence prevents the reader from being overwhelmed by the task at hand.

So here’s to Cookie, the free cookie law information app, and to the insomnia cure that is the Slovak language legal text on Bratislava’s rules about third party advertising cookies. Eins, zwei, g’suffa!

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