Macrotone Blogs

Macrotone blogs upon Joomla, our products and other matters.

EU Cookie regulations and Joomla system page cache

We have noticed a problem on our site related to cookie handling and the Firefox (version 19.0.2) and Chrome (version 25.0.1364.172 m) and the cookies generated by the EU cookie plugin required to meet EU regulations.

The problem, which is (we believe) caused by the use of the Joomla system (page) cache manifest itself either as no EU message being displayed, to enable acceptance of the cookie, or as the cookie acceptance appearing to be ignored (even though it has been accepted) and the message continuing to be displayed.  Option changes to the system cache plugin do not make any difference.

Not a show stopper but a problem none the less.  The problem although first noticed on our own site is also evident on other sites complying with the EU regulations and using cookies.

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Web Standards

   I am reminded of the quote “The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from.” attributed to  “Andrew S. Tanenbaum”, whilst looking into the structure of web pages.

The Firefox browser add in ‘FireBug’ provides a nice tool under ‘Tools- Validate HTML’ which enables the page one is viewing to be checked by the W3C Markup Validation Service.   By default it uses the standard defined at the start of most web pages, but the number and variety of possible standards is most interesting.  The output is a nice listing of ‘errors' and ‘warnings’ upon the page structure and its elements. [Note that it excludes the ‘new’ standards mentioned below, although it does have ‘HTML5 Experimental’]

Whilst one can then proceed to correct and eliminate the errors and warnings it does raise the question as to what standard should one be writing web pages to:  HTML5, XHTML 1.0 Transitional, XHTHL 1.0 Standard, XHTML 1.0 Framework, HTML 4.01 Strict etc.  The list goes on to provide about 15 possible standards.

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Four steps to comply with PECR, ICO cookies regulations

The new PECR regulations, announced by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) in 2011, will be enforced in May 2012. In advance of that date, organisations are expected to take appropriate steps to be compliant, which include making proactive changes to their websites.

The absence of clear guidance on cookie compliance, and the range of practical difficulties that will be encountered in determining what to do with each identified cookie, may lead many website operators to struggle with the compliance process. To make the process easier, here are four steps you can take to make the appropriate changes to your website in order to comply with the PECR cookie regulations.

This article [Requires registration] discusses the steps to take further.

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PECR Regulation compliance

The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) governing the use of electronic cookies, announced in 2011, will be enforced in May 2012. In advance of that date, organisations are expected to take appropriate steps to be compliant.

This will impact all/most sites including Joomla where cookies are used.  A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that websites place on their visitors' computers, and despite its small size, it can reveal a lot of information website visitors may not be eager to share. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) provides specific guidance on PECR compliance and recommends a cookie audit as the first step. This article [Requires registration] explains how to audit cookies on an organisation's website.

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