New web privacy laws could hit salons
Salons and spas could face fines of up to £500,000 if they fail to meet tough new website privacy laws that come into force this month. Regulation that takes effect on May 25 will mean that visitors to company websites will have to give permission for the website to download 'cookies', temporary computer files which are sent from the site to the user's computer to allow the website to remember a user's preferences and settings when they return. Matthew Holman, solicitor at commercial law firm EMW, said: 'The effect of this change in the law will be far-reaching; any business that has a website will almost certainly use cookies at some point or other. The upcoming deadline is a wake-up call for those businesses that have not yet updated their website to gain consent from users.' Prior to this change, the law only required businesses to give users an opportunity to 'opt out'. This was often done by mentioning the cookies in a privacy policy somewhere on the site. Businesses using cookies can obtain user consent consent through methods such as pop-ups or banners requesting them to opt in.