Does your website comply with the EU e-Privacy Directive?


On 26 May 2012 the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) imposes an EU directive designed to protect internet users’ privacy.

The law says that sites must provide ” clear and comprehensive ” information about the use of cookies – small files which allow a site to recognise a visitor’s device and what’s more ask visitors for their consent.

In summary this law requires your website to ask visitors for consent to use web cookies .

The EU Cookies Law outlines potential threats to online business models and the steps that companies should be taking now to demonstrate compliance with the EU ePrivacy Directive

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) is the body responsible for enforcing the UK law, with powers to fine website owners up to £500,000 for serious breaches in the law.

Examples of sites already applying to EU Cookie Law

I suspect you have already noticed lots of sites adhering to the Cookie Law. On arrival to such sites, you are being asked if you accept their Cookie gathering (giving you a chance to understand why they use cookies – what benefits that offers) and then select YES or NO.

Some examples of such websites are shown below.



House of Fraser

Marks and Spencer


John Lewis


How Zen Cart uses Cookies

In light of this new Law, let’s first look at how the Zen Cart eCommerce solution uses cookies. We’ll then look at the steps that you SHOULD take now to ensure that your eCommerce websites are in a position to comply with this law.

The following article was posted by the Zen Cart Team to outline how Zen Cart store owners are impacted.


Zen Cart requires that the visitor’s computer accept a session cookie. This session cookie contains simply the session ID number which identifies the visitor to the store, as separate from other visitors. The session cookie contains no personal identity information, and in itself is thus anonymous as a 3rd-party cannot use anything in the cookie to identify the visitor in any way.
In a traditional configuration, and by definition, this session cookie expires at the end of the visitor’s session in the browser, or at a predefined time (typically 24 minutes) after their last “click”, whichever is sooner.


The session ID is used only to recognize what the visitor has done during their visit to the store. This includes things like: whether the visitor has put something in their shopping basket, whether they have logged in, and allows them to proceed through checkout.


Store owners who alter the original Zen Cart code by the use of addons/plugins, custom code, additional HTML in templates, adding javascript segments, etc, may be engaging in additional tracking and using additional cookies for broader purposes than Zen Cart itself requires. Each store’s configuration and activity is unique to their own implementation. Each store owner is responsible for their own use of the software and the addons/plugins/external-code and any other alteration they make to it. (JSWeb comment – if you use Google Analytics, your site generatres cookies)


This article is for general informational purposes only. It is NOT legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as such. This information is not intended to replace proper legal counsel. Zen Ventures, LLC assumes no liability or responsibility for the use of this information, nor for ways in which any shop has altered the use or function of Zen Cart official code. It is up to individual storeowners to disclose the ways in which their store operates differently from core basic Zen Cart functionality.

Becoming Cookie Compliant!

Well the first task is to ensure you understand the Law (you can read more at http://www.ico.gov.uk/ )

Next, for your Zen Cart you have two actions to take

  1. Install the following Zen Cart Cookie Module which will, at the top of your page, inform customers that your site using Cookies to ensure they have a good shopping experience with you.
  2. Zen Cart Cookie Policy Module
  3. Update your Privacy / T&C Page to outline your use of cookies and that you apply to UK Cookie Law.


  • Firefox Addon – For those of you using Firefox install the Add-On “CookieWatcher” which helps test web applications to see if they generate cookies during your time on the website.
  • BBC Article – ‘Action needed’ to meet UK’s cookie tracking deadline’ at http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-17745938
  • Cookie law – Read more about Cookie Law at http://www.cookielaw.org/
  • How to delete cookies – http://www.aboutcookies.org/Default.aspx?page=2

» About Me

I’m Jamie, owner of JSWeb and I’m here to help you make your eCommerce website a success! JSWeb is a team of eCommerce experts dedicated to helping provide best in class products, services and hosting (Certified Zen Cart Host status was attained 5 years ago) that make it possible for eCommerce stores to run a profitable and successful businesses using Zen Cart.

Website : http://www.JSweb.co.uk
Tel : +44 (0)845 86 200 12 | +353 (1) 52 62 72 1
Twitter: @JSweb_zencart | Skype : JSWEBHOSTING | Facebook : www.facebook.com/jswebzencart