Everyone has seen them: Those annoying pop-ups or banners on websites asking for permission to save a cookie to your computer.
They’re the result of a European Union law passed back in 2012. The intention was protect users’ privacy, by forcing companies to gain user consent if they wanted to track them.
But in reality, everyone always clicks yes – it’s just another tedious box to press.
Well, they might finally be disappearing. Reuters has got its hands on a draft document for a new security law due to be proposed by the European Union. It would introduce stricter new rules for how messaging companies handle user data – and also do away with the obligation for websites to ask for permission to place cookies on users’ computers.
Cookies are placed on web surfers’ computers and contain bits of information about the user, such as the other sites they have visited, or where they are logging in from. They are widely used by companies to deliver targeted ads to users.
“If browsers are equipped with such functionality, websites that want to set cookies for behavioral advertising purposes may not need to put in place banners requesting their consent insofar as users may provide their consent by selecting the right settings in their browser,” the draft said.
The cookie banners appear every time a user lands on a website, calling their effectiveness into question because people tend to accept them without necessarily reading what that entails.
“While such banners serve to empower users, at the same time, they may cause irritation because users are forced to read the notices and click on the boxes, thus impairing internet browsing experience,” the draft said.
A European Commission spokeswoman declined to comment on the draft when approached by Reuters but said the aim of the review was to adapt the rules to the data protection regulation which will come into force in 2018 and simplify the provisions for cookies.