Science, Technology & Environment

Cookie law – a neater approach is needed

Cookie law – a neater approach is needed
July 30th, 2012
Author: Jeff Taylor

The EU ‘cookie law’ is already teetering on the brink of total and abject failure (see the video below). It was ill thought through and has resulted in total confusion and an internet full of pop-ups and toolbars warning you at every turn that ‘this site uses cookies’. But there is a far easier and neater solution.

The number of warnings that you now get on a daily basis is wearisome and becoming annoying, I have already seen the question on a forum of ‘how can I stop all these annoying warnings about cookies popping up every time I visit a site?

The trouble is not with the wish to have those using the internet properly informed about risks to their security and privacy, but more with how the lawmakers decided to go about it. Especially when you consider that most people are well protected from malicious cookies via their antivirus software.

At the moment compliance relies upon millions of site owners imposing pop-ups on their readers or giving over valuable screen ‘real estate’ to warning messages (that probably don’t get read).

There are millions (billions) of web-sites in the world, a huge amount of them are based in the EU where the cookie rules apply. To get them all to comply is a huge task and hard to monitor, even with the public helping by reporting sites that do not comply. Especially when the aim really is to target sites that use cookie technology maliciously.

So what is this easier and neater solution?

Simply put, a browser internet information page.

From a certain date on every new browser or updated browser for use in the EU must, every time it is fired up, open with a non by-passable internally generated information page (not a web-page).

This page should contain:

  1. Basic cookie information.
  2. Basic antivirus information.
  3. Basic firewall information.
  4. A news feed on the latest internet, e-mail and online banking threats from fraudsters. (This will make the page relevant and interesting so that more people will be likely to take in what is on the page before moving on to browse the ‘net.)

The page could also be configured to warn the user if their firewall and / or antivirus were down or out of date.

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The user can then press a ‘continue to the internet’ button, which takes them to their preferred home page, from where they can browse with confidence. And they won’t be constantly annoyed with pop-ups asking them to accept cookies, probably from a site they visit many times a day.

Computer Keyboard-FreeFoto.com

Computer Keyboard-FreeFoto.com

Done properly this could become such a useful feature that all browsers across the planet adopt it as standard. Everyone kept informed, ease of browsing maintained. It is also something that the browser providers could set up extremely quickly.

There will of course be those users who just will not upgrade as they do not like change, how the new browser operates or are just being bloody-minded, but it would only be a matter of time. They will though need to upgrade their device sooner or later and with it will come the new browser software.

All the relevant authority in each country will have to do is monitor the relatively few browsers there are out there as well as checking for new boys on the block and work with them to ensure compliance. Far easier, and of course cheaper than trawling through millions of sites.

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4 Responses to “Cookie law – a neater approach is needed”

  1. D says:

    A page nagging every time the browser is openedand preventing people from accessing their own paid for internet til they press "continue to internet" sounds even more annoying. Thank goodness the people that do make these laws have more sense than you. Their nags are annoying but your idea sounds terrible.

    Most people will retain the fact that they are being tracked by cookies after the first time. We don't need warned every flipping time. Any idea that involves constant warning is pointless.

    The obvious non-annoying simple solution is that there's a banner at the top of the page where your eyes first land, warning you of the cookies. One you can close if you want. But don't have to close if you can't be bothered. Instead of a stupid interuptive nag screen that you have to close, like the current warnings sometimes are. However many sites are doing non-invasive warnings and so the only problem is the pop up invasive warnings.

    • If we have to be warned then personally I would rather have just one warning right at the start when browsing instead of these constant pop-ups and screen space wasting warnings every time I switch to a new site.

    • jimbob says:

      If you read the article correctly you D, you would see the neater approach suggestion states "on every new browser or updated browser" meaning the first time you run your browser after you've installed it or updated it (not every time as you have perceived).

      • foonly says:

        I'd still react by searching for a browser plugin that would disable this abomination once and for all. I don't want to be treated like an idiot *by my own computer* every time I update my browser.