Cookie law needs to go to the browser

In May a new law will be introduced in the European Union requiring websites to provide an opt-in policy for the use of cookies. This poses serious concerns over a number of areas of our experience on the web potentially making every site a negative opt-in experience.

There a already a number of concepts on how to get acceptance for your site to use cookies most of which are offensive to they eye with a few putting up quite extreme brick walls before you can continue to your destination. A good example may be bt.com, by ignoring an acceptance you effectively accept the use of cookies and the site will function as it always has. This is not keeping true to the requirements essentially making it an opt-out experience, one which I think most would prefer, but visually it does something quite engaging.

The law itself has been poorly written, overly complicated and doesn’t seem to have any solid reason or foundation for its existence.

Recently, articles have started to appear with guidance on what you should be doing in preparation. On the whole this has involved audits of what you’re using cookies for, writing them up in plain English for people to understand and updating your terms and privacy policies with the relevant information.

Why should we?

The idea of every site now having to provide some form of opt-in mechanism to work is lunacy. There are exceptions to the rule mainly sites using cookies for transactional purposes but it has yet to be clarified whether this will include tracking cookies.

There is a far simpler solution and in part it already exists.
To this day browser vendors still place options in the browser to disable javascript. Why not do the same for cookies?

There are billions of web pages and only a small number of browsers. To expect millions of people to fall in line with a law when it can be globally resolved by asking the assistance of the browser vendors would seem a logical solution.

The other glaring question is how to ask an international community to comply with a regionalised law. Virgin have started to do this with their blog, which is in its own right an eye soor.

I cannot see that little blog based out in Australia updating to meet these rules. What happens then? Will we have an EU firewall, shutting off sites that don’t comply?

2 thoughts on “Cookie law needs to go to the browser

  1. Darren Ware

    This is a horrible nightmare for internet marketing, UX and analytics professionals. We’re effectively having to let everyday users, who mostly know very little about cookies and are skeptical of internet viruses, to choose how they shape the internet. I’m very concerned that users will see these pop-up boxes, not read them as they didn’t visit your site to learn about cookies and instantly hit the ‘no, thanks’ or ‘decline cookies’ button and then complain that your site is awful because it doesn’t personalise anymore or allow you to share content. This absolutely should be a browser function, like JavaScript and 3rd party cookies as visitors trust their browsers and will get a consistent message. As a web analyst, I am very nervous about this ill-judged law that will hit the good side of the web much more than the bad. 

  2. Anon

    It makes so much more sense to do this via the browser rather than individual sites.  Which begs the question – what’s stopping this from being the solution? 

Comments are closed.