Businesses have been given one year by the Information Commissioners Office to implement in full the EU privacy directive, which comes into force tomorrow.
The regulations require site owners to gain the explicit permission before setting a cookie on an internet user’s computer.
Failure to abide by the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 could lead to a fine of up to £500,000 for a serious breach.
Information commissioner Christopher Graham, said: "I have said all along that the new EU rules on cookies are challenging.
"It would obviously ruin some users’ browsing experience if they needed to negotiate endless pop ups—and I am not saying that businesses have to go down that road.
"Equally, I have to remember that this law has been brought in to give consumers more choice about what companies know about them. That’s why I’m taking a common sense approach that takes both views into account.
“We’re giving businesses and organizations up to one year to get their house in order.
"This does not let everyone off the hook. Those who choose to do nothing will have their lack of action taken into account when we begin formal enforcement of the rules.”