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In November 2023, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) wrote to organizations operating 53 of the UK’s biggest websites regarding their compliance with data protection laws when using cookies.  On January 31, 2024, the ICO released a statement on such action noting that it received “an overwhelmingly positive response” with 38 of those organizations having changed their cookie banners in order to come into compliance. Others have either committed to ensuring compliance within a month, or are exploring other solutions such as contextual advertising.

The ICO intends to continue with this approach and notes that it is “preparing to write to the next 100 – and the 100 after that.” It expects all websites using advertising cookies to give website users a “fair choice” as to whether they consent to the use of such technologies, and notes that those organizations that do not comply will “face the consequences.” The ICO is developing an AI solution to help identify websites using non-compliant cookie banners and warns organizations to take action now to become compliant.