Our first post about the new EU Cookies law addressed details of the ruling by the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) in the UK. This law brings to mind many questions to eCommerce and web analytics professionals. Basically, questions like “how are we supposed to gather and analyse visitor information now?”

It might not come as a surprise to know that the use of cookies is necessary to track website visitors. Google Analytics uses cookies to collect and provide information about website visitors.

In order to see the implication of the new legislation, we can use the ICO website itself as an example (below).

ICO-Website-Screenshot-01062011-645x306

ICO has put a lightbox to notify its visitors of the new cookies rule. If you do not accept, the lightbox will remain visible on every page as you browse through the website. Before you click accept, take a look at the page source (as seen below):

Before you accept cookies from the ICO website
ICO-Website-Analytics-Before-645x247
No Google Analytics tracking codes! Once you tick the box and accept cookies from their site, the Google Analytics script will then load, as seen below:

After you accept cookies from the ICO website
ICO-Website-Analytics-After-645x247

These screenshots (captured on the 1st of June 2011) offer us a view on how the ICO treats cookies that are used by Google Analytics.

What does this mean? Google Analytics is not exempt from the new law!

This is significant because SEO and Internet Marketing firms will not be able to collect visitor information without forcing the visitors to accept cookies. Unless a slicker solution or loophole is found, this law is going to have serious implications on the way web companies conduct their businesses.