Cookie Pledge: EU admits that cookie banners are annoying, suggests remedy
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"
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.
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?Advertisement