There is a perception that cookies are bad and privacy-invading. This is of course not the case, they can be used well or poorly like anything else. But will that perception mean that users refuse to give consent for cookies and accept a more limited web experience because of it?
Personalisation is so hard-wired into many web experiences now that losing it will cause users to find out more about them and, in almost all cases, will lead them to decide to accept cookies.
The ICO has said that it will begin enforcement in May 2012. If we look at what the situation will be a year after that, past the initial turmoil of implementation and the unfamiliar boxes that will suddenly appear on all our favourite websites, what are we likely to see?
We will see boxes like those the ICO has published appearing the first time we visit sites. But so many sites demand sign-up or registration now that those little cookie tick boxes will simply form part of an experience we are already well used to.
And will web traffic have fallen dramatically? Will users have deserted the websites of businesses because they are asked about cookies? It is highly unlikely.
So what is it that businesses fear? They fear desertion by users, which is unlikely to happen. They fear extra cost in implementing this, and that is inevitable. Most of all, though, they fear uncertainty about how to implement it. They didn't understand what they were being asked to do or how to do it.
The ICO has done a poor job until now of allaying that last fear, but in finally suggesting concrete approaches that businesses can take to comply they have gone a long way towards laying it to rest.
It does not necessarily mean that this is a great law, or one that was needed. But at least it is one that businesses have a better chance of complying with today than they did last week.
Claire McCracken is a technology law specialist at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com