Figures published by KPMG show 51% of companies it surveyed were not asking for consent to track visitors to their websites in line with the requirement of a two-year-old law.

The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations, which came into force in May 2011, require website owners to get “explicit consent” from users before cookies are stored on their computers or mobile devices.

However, an examination by KPMG of 55 companies who account for an estimated 50% of the UK’s web traffic showed over half of them were not complying with the law.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has the power to fine companies up to £500,000 if they breach this requirement. Although the ICO has not yet issued a fine, website owners should not become complacent. The ICO was sent 637 complaints from members of the public about cookies between May 2012 and March 2013. It has so far contacted 106 companies and has said it will pursue those who continue to not comply.

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