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Saturday 27th February 2021

What is 'Implied Consent'?


Implied consent means that unless you have explicitly said "no" to something, then you are agreeing with it.

This might be stating the obvious, but it is a very contentious point, and hotly debated when it comes to cookie compliance issues.

Even after the ICO (enforcable) deadline had passed, many companies were asking for clarification of this issue, and the legal implications.

One much quoted example is a major UK telecoms company. Their approach was simple. A pop-up window appears for around 10 seconds when you first visit their website. If you manage to read the information before it disappears, it explains that they will set cookies unless you explicitly tell them not to, i.e. you are giving consent!

This has been considered by some to be an easy option to implement, while many feel that it is not 'in the true spirit' of compliance. The ICO (at the time of writing) state "Implied consent is a valid form of consent and can be used in the context of compliance with the revised rules on cookies."

They do however go on to say that you must be satisfied your visitors understand when cookies are being set (informed consent), and also that this is dependent on the nature of the information you gather with your cookies. In some cases where sensitive information is being gathered, 'explicit consent' would be more appropriate.

Our advice? We believe that being open and honest with your visitors, and allowing them an informed choice is better than hiding things away or taking them for granted.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, no we didn't set any cookies in our implied consent demo, so if you refresh this page, you will see it in action again ;-)

This is an example of implied consent in action. Simply read the contents of this window and click on the appropriate button before it disappears. If you continue without changing these settings, you consent to this - but you can change your settings at any time, by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page...