Contractors in the IT skills market with experience of web design are likely to be eagerly sought after following new research from KPMG, which reveals that a staggering 95% of UK organisations with websites are not ready for new EU data protection rules, despite the fact that the implementation deadline is fast approaching.

Even after a 12-month deferment on the cookie requirements of the new rules, a majority of British firms are still not ready. This places them in the firing line for harsh penalties, which can be as high as £500,000. Websites must now clearly ask visitors for permission to monitor their online habits.

KPMG partner Stephen Boner explained that the new regulations would be enforced in the UK as from 26th May, but that the vast majority of British organisations still have much work to do to ensure compliance. Only one organisation included in the study had so far got around to asking online visitors to opt-in to its cookie policy. This is the central plank of the EU Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications, and it is more than a little worrying that so many companies have done so little about it.

Although some sites pepper their visitors with thousands of cookies, the majority use between five and ten – but that is enough to attract a nasty kick in the financial nether regions if permission is not expressly sought.

Mr Boner urged companies to waste no further time in analysing their cookies and drawing up plans to ensure their usage complies with the directive. PAYE umbrella techies stand by: you might find your phones ringing continuously over the new few weeks.

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