Cookie Monster

Chambers’ marketing manager was in somewhat of a fluster today. “It’s this new cookies law,” she said. “It seems we have to be compliant by 26 May.”

“What on earth are you talking about?” asked OldSmoothie. “All of our, er, cookies, come from the likes of McVitie’s and Cadbury. I’m sure that we’re perfectly within our rights to have delegated any such duties to the manufacturer.”

“No, you old fool,” said BusyBody. “He means those creepy crawly little things that websites drop onto our computers to track our every move.”

“Well, what’s the problem with that?” said OldSmoothie. “Just the nanny state interfering in the free market if you ask me.”

“That’s right,” said BusyBody. “The nanny state stopping companies from keeping a careful record of every single site that you may have visited after theirs.” She paused and then smirked as she added, “Of all people, I’d have thought you might have had privacy concerns in that respect.”

OldSmoothie changed the subject. “Anyway, what’s the problem? Surely our website doesn’t get into that sort of intrusive behaviour.”

“But that’s the problem,” said the marketing manager. “It most certainly does. It’s standard practice these days. Helps us track who’s visiting and ultimately helps us bring in new clients.”

“And if we were to comply?”

“We could either switch them off or we would have to get people to opt -in to our little trackers. But either way there’d be fewer cookies and ultimately less work.”

“Oh. So what’s the alternative?” asked OldSmoothie.

“Well, by all accounts most companies are still ignoring it for the moment,” said the marketing manager. “So one option is simply to bury our heads in the proverbial sand and hope for the best.”

“Hmm, not really the best policy for a barristers’ chambers,” said TheVamp.

“To be fair, it did take us years to become compliant with the Data Protection Act,” said OldSmoothie.

“And the less said about that the better,” said HeadClerk in reference to the huge difficulties his barristers had caused him in the past few years on that score.

“So how about getting people to opt-in on our front page with a quirky little cartoon of a real life cookie and a line saying how ridiculous the whole thing is but rules is rules and all that?” said TheBusker.

“Now that,” said the marketing manager, “may just do the trick.”

“Particularly if you tell them we’ll give a free box of cookies for every case they decide to bring us,” said OldSmoothie.

“Which would of course drop us right into the rules about offering rewards for work,” said HeadClerk.

TheBusker sighed. “If we have these sorts of difficulties navigating our way through the modern world, then non-lawyers must be even more confused.”

“Confusion’s good as far as I’m concerned,” said OldSmoothie. “All the more work for us.”

“You sound like the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood,” said BusyBody. “All the better for ripping you off with.”

“You know, suddenly I can see a very good reason why these cookie regulations might have been introduced,” smiled HeadofChambers. “A whole new area of law is presenting itself to us.”

“Yes, as the legislators take away with one hand, they give back more generously with the other,” said OldSmoothie.

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister written by Tim Kevan whose new novel is Law and Peace. For more information and to read past posts visit babybarista.com. Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

May 7, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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