The ICO exists to empower you through information.

Stephen Almond, Executive Director, Regulatory Risk, leads the ICO’s team responsible for anticipating, understanding and shaping the impacts of emerging technology and innovation on people and society.

As part of our cookie compliance work, I committed to providing the online advertising industry with clarity on ways in which it can use advertising cookies in compliance with data protection law.

One proposed model is a “consent or pay” mechanism. This gives people the choice to use a website for free, but only if they consent to their personal information being used for personalised advertising, or pay a fee and not be tracked. We have today launched a “call for views” on our regulatory approach to this model.

In our call for views, we highlight the things that organisations should take into account when considering if this model is right for them and their users. We invite publishers, advertisers, intermediaries, civil society, academia and other interested stakeholders to respond and help inform our position.

In tandem I have written to the Association of Online Publishers and the Internet Advertising Bureau UK setting out our views on these and alternative advertising models. There are many lawful ways to use online advertising when websites give people a fair choice over how their personal information is used.

Meanwhile, our crackdown on websites that do not offer people a fair choice continues. We have seen an almost 80% success rate in effecting change from the 53 organisations we wrote to last year. We are now preparing to write to the next 100 most frequented websites. Meanwhile, we are developing digital tools to evaluate website cookie compliance at scale, building on the successful hackathon we held with technical experts last month.

Where organisations ignore the law, they can expect to face the consequences. We are reviewing responses received from organisations that have not made changes and determining which cases to prioritise for enforcement action.

This is the last chance to change. Our next announcement in this space will be about enforcement action.