With the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), cookie banners and pop-ups might all but disappear, and you’ll be in greater control of the cookies created by your browsing habits. As a user of the internet (it’s safe to assume that you are; welcome to the blog!) you’ll recognise a version of this message all too well:
Cookies are used to identify you. In short, a cookie is a piece of unique data. Websites create these cookies and leave them on your computer, inside your browser of choice. The term is a shortened version of ‘magic cookie’ or ‘fortune cookie’, which is where the name comes from; it’s like a little packet with a message inside.
Cookies mean that you can leave things in your cart and come back to them later, they’re the reason you stay signed in to Facebook, and the reason Netflix remembers where you paused Season 3 of Better Call Saul last night.
That all seems harmless and useful, right?
Although the data contained in a cookie is meant to be anonymised, the GDPR argues that this is still personal data, by virtue of the fact that it is about you. It says that you should have the right to know when this data might be shared and you must be given an explicit choice to allow it, or not allow it.
Right now, just by using a website you’re consenting to using cookies. It’s an ‘opt-out’ model. A website assumes that your continued use is a form of approval. In effect: if you don’t consent to cookies, stop using the website. The GDPR plans to put an end to assumptions about your consent. You’ll have to choose, and it will no longer be the responsibility of the website to manage your decisions.
Say goodbye to cookie banners and pop-ups! After GDPR, it will be the job of the browser to manage your consent to cookies during setup. The ability to manage your cookies has been present in modern browsers for years, but the setting is buried with all the other settings in your browser and – just like the websites you visit – they assume you consent to cookies and will by default be allowed.
So when you update or install a news browser after the GDPR is put in place, expect to be presented with a more explicit choice about what data you are sharing and what cookies are being shared, without any assumptions.