Expect browsing to get a whole lot more tiresome as websites will have to explain each and every cookie, thanks to changes to the EU online privacy law that came into force today.
The amendments to the UK Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) require UK websites to gain consent from Web users before they download the tracking files. Cookies help organise and store browsing information, so you don't have to login every time you visit CNET UK, for example.
As a result, you can expect to see endless pop-ups explaining why your information is being stored and tutoring you on the concept of behavioural advertising. It does mean you have more control over your data, however, which will become increasingly important as Web services develop.
The new laws are officially in place, though communications minister Ed Vaizey said the UK will take its time implementing measures to deal with the change. "We recognise that some website users have real concerns around online privacy, but also recognise that cookies play a key role in the smooth running of the Internet," Vaizey said in an open letter to UK businesses.
Information commissioner Christopher Graham said companies will be given up to 12 months to "get their house in order" before the new cookie law is enforced.
Vaizey explained that the government's approach to implementing the updated EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive was "light touch" and "business friendly". Businesses that break the rules can face a fine of up to £500,000 once the regulations are phased in. Not so friendly.
The cookie monster won't bite for a year, but do you reckon it will ruin your browsing experience? Or do you welcome the extra control? Let us know your thoughts.