The cookie law actually came into effect in the UK on 26 May 2011. However websites have been given a year from that date to become compliant.
What business will not have to show consent?
Any business whose website is exclusively targeted to non-EU audiences will not have to comply.
What about states in the EU other than the UK?
Each state within the EU has to bring its laws in line with the EU Directive, however how they choose to do this is their responsibility. When the deadline for doing so passed in May 2011, only 4 or the 27 states had actually passed their laws, the UK being one of them.
Can we just host our website outside of the EU?
Where your website is hosted doesn’t make any difference. Enforcement agencies will pursue the owners of websites, so the location of the legal entity that is the registered owner, is what is important.