UK Data Reform Bill wants to kill those annoying website cookie pop-ups - MrLiambi's blog


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Friday, 17 June 2022

UK Data Reform Bill wants to kill those annoying website cookie pop-ups

The UK's Department for Culture, Media and Sport has outlined the changes it wants to make under the proposed Data Reform Bill - and it has cookies in its sights.

Since the EU pushed through its GDPR rules in 2018, visiting a new website has often led to you having to give permission to accept cookies. For those who don't know, cookies are snippets of data that allow a website to remember that someone has visited before.

GDPR aimed to provide protection for users by giving them control over that data and the result was pop-ups every time you visit a new website, it's basically an opt-in system.

The Data Reform Bill wants to get rid of these pop-ups, but doesn't appear that the UK government is just scrapping data protection: instead, it's suggesting that there will be an "opt-out model" which can be governed by the browser, so rather than clicking a box every time, the website you're visiting already knows the answer.

This "opt-out model", however, will likely default to accepting cookies for users and it's no coincidence that elsewhere, the Data Reform Bill aims to "harness the power of data."

The aim is to allow internet users to remain in control of their data, but provide a smoother route when browsing, free from pop-ups or banners.

Of course, if the browser is going to be providing these controls, then the UK will have to engage with the developers of those browsers to ensure that there's a working system in place.

"Before the legislative changes are commenced, the government will work with the industry and the regulator to ensure technology is effective and readily available so people can set their online cookie preferences to opt out via automated means."

The elephant in the room is that this might never work and with many websites enacting changes to conform to the EU's GDPR requirements in 2018, additional work to support the wishes of the UK simply might not happen.

The headline desire to remove cookies will certainly be appealing, but ensuring that data control is retained by the user will be key.

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