The EU Cookie Monster

One of the most technically ambitious, impactful and down right out of touch decisions to recently come out of the European Union (a body I happen to typically have a great deal of empathy for) is the recent decision on Cookies. The decision has various impacts, but at its heart, the idea is that cookie are bad. At least that marketeers using them are bad. I understand the point of view, the development of cookies over the years has gone a great deal further than ensuring that session data remains through a transaction and now allows for all sorts of cross site tracking.

Is that a bad thing, that companies can track you across multiple sites and use all this cookie information to do targeted adverts? Perhaps, but thats really a different question. The approach the EU has taken is that there should be notification to the user that these cookies are being used. eCommerce cookies are exempt, as are any others which are required by the nature of the site, internal tracking like Google Analytics is a little more of a grey area and should require notification in the privacy policy, but third party cookies which track across multiple sites require more detailed notification. To me, alot of this smacks of David Naylor has put together an entertaining example of just how this sort of thing could be implemented. I'm sure UX experts would be able to do something a little more slick, but essentially, we could be in a situation where you do need to accept each cookie uniquely because they do have a different effect.

I'm actually not against that. Its a little annoying of course, but I do like to know whats going on when i browse. My issue is its going to be expensive, easy to circumvent, and only applys to EU countries. Ignoring the challenges by remote servers with an EU domain, there is a big risk of this becoming a money sink with no real advantage to the consumer except annoying pop-ups, the kind of thing we've all missed from the early ninety's.

My suggestion would have been twofold. One, the EU puts pressure on the main browsers to implement higher default security settings for cookies. Second, a nice public campaign for Ghostery. Get everyone installing Ghostery which cheerfully blocks or notifies you of all sorts of tracking applications.

Problem solved. People are in charge of their browsing, so why not give them the tools to properly manage it.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.