Cookie pop-ups are among the most annoying of all marketing intrusions They typically appear the instant a person goes on a website, and the only way to get rid of them is to press “I agree.”
In essence, people are being strong-armed into accepting cookies.
This is now so prevalent that Elizabeth Denham, the UK’s Information Commissioner, planned to ask fellow G7 data authorities to address the problem during their virtual meeting beginning on Tuesday.
“I often hear people say they are tired of having to engage with so many cookie pop-ups,” Denham states. “That fatigue is leading to people giving more personal data than they would like.”
Denham adds: “The cookie mechanism is also far from ideal for businesses and other organizations running websites, as it is costly and it can lead to poor user experience.”
(Cookie pop-ups are usually followed within milliseconds by pop-ups urging to to subscribe to a newsletter, but that's another problem).
What should companies do? The ICO envisions a future where “web browsers, software applications and device settings allow people to set lasting privacy preferences of their choosing, rather than having to do that through pop-ups every time they visit a website,” Denham’s office says.
That isn’t good enough for Jim Killock, executive director of Open Rights Group, according to The Register.
"We have waited for over two years now for the ICO to deal with this, and now they are asking the G7 to do their job for them,” Killock states. “That is simply outrageous.”
The historical backdrop to the cookie problem has been laid out in a paper by Adobe based on survey data collected late last year.
While legislators outlined privacy laws, deadlines and fines, “there were no best practice guidelines on how companies needed to implement these guidelines,” Adobe reports.
Case in point: marketers needed a solution for passing “consent permission updates across stitched consumer data stored in disparate systems while passing this information on to integrated systems (such as DSPs).”
Alas, “In the absence of these standard frameworks, marketers scrambled to add pop ups that request consumer permission for usage of cookies.”
Indeed, many brands seem ill-prepared for looming changes
Adobe reports that while 59% will be ready to deal with deprecation of third-party cookies in 12 months or less, 41% believe it will take two years or more.
It’s the same when it comes to compliance with new consumer privacy laws—39% say it will take at least two years. And 38% say the same about adjusting constant consolidation of technology and 34% supplying the necessary human resources.
The same study revealed that consumers have limited understanding of cookie technology.
While 72% of consumers claim to understand how cookies work, only 38% know that multiple of cookies exist. The most knowledgeable are users 63% of Chrome, along with 50% of Firefox and 47% Safari.
How do consumers define personal data? As follows: