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Bonfire of “Red Tape”?

May 23, 2012

I think not. Not what the government promised “small traders” like me anyway.

As both regular readers know, Theatremonkey.com is a tiny outfit. Punches well above its weight, true, but still small – and it doesn’t need hassle like it got this week for sure.

The observant among readers will notice the previous entry in this blog, on EU Compliance. This is the result of some ****** somewhere deciding that anybody using an EU based website should know what happens with their personal data when they visit. Most specifically, “cookies” – those bits of data put on a computer for a short while to track your visit and help it along (in most cases).

The actual UKversion of the law comes in on Saturday (26th May 2012). After that, if you do nothing, you could be half a million quid down in court. That is more than any small trader probably earns in a lifetime…

And don’t think it just affects sites like Theatremonkey either. You got a blog? You better get with the programme, bud, or face the cashpoint. Not sure how Facebook is affected, come to think of it, but if there isn’t something marked “privacy” at the bottom of the page, you probably should be thinking of writing something, old bean.

So, you need to tell people that you are using “cookies” and find out whether anyone you link to is using “cookies” – and keep a record of them if you can. You need to explain how to turn them off or opt out, and where to find more information… and more…

… In fact, I was lucky enough (!) to get sent a 25 page book on how to comply, and spent a delightful hot Tuesday staring at a machine driving myself bats trying to tick the entire list. That’s the reason this is a short entry. You think I have time to do that AND write a blog entry as well. Not to mention try and earn a living to keep the site going in the first place.

Oh, and just for a laugh: nobody can agree on all the rules anyway – everybody in the online industry is having to “make it up as they go / hope for the best” anyway!

I’ve always been wary of UKIP, the anti-EU political party in the UK. There’s rumour (unsubstantiated and alleged, lawyers for UKIP please note) of a “right” tendency there. Still, they had some good stuff to say in the recent London election and that “right” thing seems to have vanished in recent months. Anyway, my point is that if the EU can impose this utter bovine-output on us, at a time where just keeping going is a struggle, AND our own government can’t tell them where to ‘stick it’ then it’s time to walk, I think.

And on that note, I feel a bit better. Happy compliance day to all EU web users. Normal service will be resumed next week if I can get the time to find something more interesting to talk about.

Oh, and two last things: 1) Please don’t email me regarding the above – I’m not an expert and can’t help anyone on the subject and 2) Don’t bother trying to comment on this blog either. We had to switch that function off temporarily due to too much spamming… funny they won’t do anything to sort THAT problem out, isn’t it. As always, it’s the easy-to-target law-abiding that suffer as the criminals get away with it all…

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