Research-Live has an interesting article about the EU's new directive on cookies and techniques such as digital fingerprinting. One always worries when politicians try to legislate for the specifics of a new technology, a) they struggle to understand it and b) it does not stand still long enough for most laws to be sensibly written and implemented.
The directive will have to be implemented by each of the countries in the EU, but each one will draft their own laws, which could be quite incompatible with each other.
The main thrust is that before a cookie can be served and before data can be read from a website visitor's site, prior permission must be obtained. The problem is that it is not clear whether this mean, at one extreme, asking every time every cookie is served, or at the other extreme that not setting your browser to reject the request means you have given prior permission.
The fear is that if rules are drawn too tightly online advertising and sight personalisation will be rendered useless, destroying the cost model of large parts of the Web and making sites less responsive to users.
Of course, if EU legislation makes Google.co.uk unusable and Amazon.co.uk unusable we will still be able to use Google.com and Amazon.com - but I am not quite clear how that helps companies based in EU, indeed if UK shoppers are pushed into using non-EU sites, there rights will be severely diminished.