The UK Information Commissioners Office ("ICO") has clarified today that it will not commence enforcement of the controversial new EU rules governing the use of “cookies” until May of 2012 (the “EU Cookie Law”). With certain limited exceptions, the new EU Cookie Law requires users to provide express “opt-in” consent before a website can place “cookies” on a users’ computer.

“Organizations and businesses that run websites aimed at UK consumers are being given up to 12 months to ‘get their house in order’ before enforcement of the new EU cookies law begins,” United Kingdom Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said in a May 25 statement announcing the release of New Guidance on how it will enforce the EU cookies Law.

The ICO's New Guidance warns that organizations should not wait until May of next year before starting to bring their practices in line with the requirements of the EU Cookie Law, but should begin developing a compliance plan and implementing that plan now.

While it is possible that other jurisdictions in the EU will commence enforcement of the EU Cookie Law before May of 2012, the UK appears to be the most advanced in developing an enforcement program at this time.