Cookie Pledge: EU admits that cookie banners are annoying, suggests remedy

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 1, 2024

The European Union plans to make changes to the "cookie law" that it introduced several years ago to give its citizen more control over tracking and advertising on the Internet.

While it helped improve online privacy to a degree, it also introduced cookie banners on more or less every website. These banners are displayed when users visit a site for the first time, or after they have cleared cookies in their browser, or use a different browser.

Even before the law took affect, critics argued that it would lead to cookie banner fatigue. Users who want to access a site's content are often annoyed by the banners. A good part of users looks for the easiest option to do away with the banner, and that is usually the "accept" option.

Webmasters too would feel the pressure of the law. They had to implement a solution. Since there was no standard, lots of solutions were created to display these banners to visitors of the site.

Now, the EU is considering altering the regulation to make it less annoying to users. EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders commented on the plans in an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag (which, by the way has only accept all or subscribe options for users in its cookie banner): "According to the law, cookies cannot be used to process personal data without the express consent of the user. However, this does not mean that surfing the web can end up being a nuisance"

The EU considers altering the system to a "cookie pledge" system. Self-commitment of large platforms is key, according to Reynders. These large platforms pledge that they will offer better information to their users about the use of cookies. In return, they are no longer required to get consent using cookie banners.

Internet users should be able to access information about how an organization or website uses personal data, especially for tracking, advertisement and the financing of the service.

Reynders hopes that smaller publishers will follow the lead of the larger platforms to put an end to cookie banners on the Internet.

The EU also wants to reduce the number of cookie banners that users see on individual sites. A key idea is to show a cookie banner only once per year to the user.

Closing Words

The idea to give users control over their personal data and tracking is a good one. The lack of guidance from the EU, on the other hand, led to the chaos that is now plaguing Internet users.

The adjustments don't take away the necessity to get consent before personal data is collected. Pledge approaches have not worked well in the past, and it seems unlikely that this is changing when the adjustments become mandatory.

It is also unclear how a once-per-year cookie consent banner can be implemented technically. Users who clear cookies, for instance, will get new cookie banners each time they visit a site.

There is an alternative, which would give users control over their data and make things less annoying at the same time: implement controls in browsers and operating systems. Users would then have to make the decision just a few times.

Websites would then honor the information provided by the browser, operating system or app.

Now You: what is your take on this new approach?

Cookie Pledge: EU admits that cookie banners are annoying, suggests remedy
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Cookie Pledge: EU admits that cookie banners are annoying, suggests remedy
The EU plans to adjust regulations that require sites to get consent from users using cookie banners to reduce their annoyance.
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  1. Paco said on January 3, 2024 at 2:57 pm

    The cookie banners are a good thing. If sites have to get your permission every time they do something with your information, and they have to tell you that every time they do it, it brings their behaviour into focus. It would be even better to make sites set the title for the cookie banner to something really explicit “We track and record your use of this site.” Not some glib euphemism like “we’re improving the web site’s performance” or “we just wanted you to know…” Remember that when Apple gave iOS users the ability to block tracking, some huge number of people (90%?) turned it on. People don’t want to be tracked. So it’s important to keep it in front of them that they ARE being tracked, and their consent (or lack of consent) has very little impact. Fixing it right will take time and political pressure. There are no quick fixes. So we should leave the annoying cookie banners and make them plenty annoying so that political pressure can build over time.

  2. TelV said on January 2, 2024 at 3:06 pm

    It’s wise to bear in mind that the “I don’t care about cookies” extension which was acquired by Avast AV last year only blocks cookie notices. It has no effect on the amount of user data Avast collects from users.

  3. Anonymous said on January 1, 2024 at 9:37 pm

    Adblocker is the solution… Adguard, uBlock and Brave, they all have set-cookies, and other scriptlet injections to avoid this when a site breaks if you just hide it with a cosmetic filter.

    So there is already a fix, clueless unelected EU people made this, community has to fix it with the help of community.

  4. ju said on January 1, 2024 at 7:52 pm

    My solution is to accept only 1st party cookies unless a web functionality breaks (unable to order from a local store, for example). I clear cookies out every week, but I find my pop-up blocker blocks most.

  5. ECJ said on January 1, 2024 at 5:43 pm

    Cookie settings should always have been taken out of the hands of individual websites/apps and placed at an operating system level, so that the user decides in one place – and in a place that can’t be influenced by companies using dark patterns, cookie fatigue, or being outright hostile.

    And this is me being lenient, I believe targeted advertising should be outlawed outright and this would be most beneficial for everyone – as it would mean everyone has to adhere to the same rules, instead of a race to the bottom. Stalking people and building profiles on them is not ethical and should not be legal.

    If targeted advertising was outlawed and strong regulations put in place that governed how ads are displayed to users (in an acceptable way) and heavy fines for ad companies that don’t adequately vet ads to prevent malicious ads, I would be less inclined to block them. I do not have a problem with ads in print publications for example, as they do not pose the same problems as digital ads.

    The digital advertising industry has had 30 years to clean up their industry, but they have deliberately chosen not to act. Therefore, any power needs to be removed from them entirely, as they have demonstrated that they are completely incapable of self regulation and self governance.

  6. TelV said on January 1, 2024 at 11:01 am

    Essentially, nothing has changed. It’s still necessary to consent to cookie use without which sites don’t work properly. If you use one the Firefox extensions to clear them automatically then in essence you’re accepting the full blown option which is to accept all the marketing and telemetry crap in addition to the one that determines how the site operates. You just don’t see the banner.

    Anyway, Happy New Year to everybody!

  7. Mystique said on January 1, 2024 at 9:46 am


    On this note it is good to see the developer of “I still don’t care about cookies” returned to the project and explained his absence.


    “Sorry all for the inactivity, and not maintaining it as well as promised.

    I have been working on my studies for the past few months, which are now in the final stage, meaning you have to follow an internship, and about 60+ hours a week have gone into this.
    Sadly, this meant that I didn’t have the energy to work on this project. Now, there is a spark of hope; my studies will most likely conclude successfully on January 16th. After that, I will have six weeks of holiday to bring this project and my other projects back on track, and following that period, I will have time alongside work to continue on this and my other projects.

    If there are big sites not working, just @OhMyGuus and then I will get a notification on my phone and then I can still work on it.
    I will also test and merge all the PR’s that are currently open and do a release today/tomorrow.

    If there are any questions or things put it here or you can always contact me on discord: thaguus

    Just a note: reporting websites is down for a couple of hours going to remove the dupes + add a dupe check.”


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