A new law is due to come into play in the UK during May, this law will make it necessary for any website owner to get explicit consent for a cookie to be placed on a users machine. This obviously would have a huge impact on any website which needs to identify a retuning visitor for any reason, so as you may expect, the affiliate community is getting very worried, as this could have a huge negative impact on their revenues.
The Information Commissioner had said the new EU Directive would probably not come into effect until Autumn, however, the UK government is insistent that it be enforced by the May deadline.
The UK Government is working with the browser manufacturers to try to work out new settings which would enable compliance with the minimal of impact. The grey area seems to be around if a user needs to give their explicit permission on a case by case basis, or if a browser setting can do this for the user automatically i.e. being set to accept cookies as standard.
This also begs the question that if the Government wants to adhere to the new legislation by the 25th May deadline, what are the chances of an agreement on what is considered to be consent are reached, then developed and released into the browser compatibility?