PAYE umbrella workers specialising in IT contracting could again find a surge in demand for their services following the implementation of a new European e-privacy directive, which became law in the UK on 25th May. Yesterday we reported that the UK’s restaurant industry is poised to seek input from IT professionals to help them develop new mobile technology; they are also likely to need assistance with the e-privacy rules, as indeed will any company with an online presence.

The directive obliges firms with an online presence to gain explicit user consent before using cookies – the information that websites place on users’ computers to track their online activity. But one specialist insurer has warned that while there is uncertainty about the enforcement of the legislation, companies should act now to develop clear policies governing their use of cookies. Many website operators who routinely use cookies will be seeking assistance from contractors in the IT skills market to ensure their sites fully comply with the directive.

Alan Thomas, who is head of Technology and Media at the specialist insurer Hiscox, warned that there was “a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the enforcement of the new European e-Privacy Directive but the message to companies using cookies is clear: don’t allow a half-baked approach to cookie consent expose your company to prosecution.”

He went on to say that the issue of cookie consent is an emerging risk for UK businesses, especially those in the technology and media sectors. Companies must appreciate the importance of developing a clear policy for cookie use, he added.

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