We had been silently enduring cookies for years. These little spy files were an invisible doom for us and a treasure trove for internet companies and advertisers, so the European Union came up with a promising idea that has turned into a nightmare: cookie consent messages. Now there are those who want to charge them.
Cookies make (certain) sense. In 1994 a Netscape employee named Lou Montulli had the idea of creating cookies, data files that saved certain data from the browser session to offer important features when using the Internet. Thus, for example, the shopping cart remembered what we had been putting in our purchases, or the website remembered how we had filled in certain fields to avoid having to fill them out again.
But they spy on us a lot. The problem is that cookies, which acted transparently and invisibly —we users did not perceive them— have ended up being a very juicy source of data for companies of all kinds, which collect and store them to create profiles of users or groups of users. users. The so-called tracking cookies allow us to record our browsing history, something that little by little was generating a threat to privacy.
With the European Union we have run into. In 2011, the EU made a radical decision and decided that all companies should notify and inform their users of which cookies they were collecting, in addition to giving them the option to block their collection. The way to implement that requirement was a disaster, but it ended up shaping up in 2018 with the entry into force of the GDPR to become one of the biggest condemnations of the experience of any Internet user along with advertising.
Welcome, cookie consent? For a few years now, as soon as you open any website, a ‘pop-up’ appears, a window with a message informing us that cookies are being collected, and giving us the option to review them and reject their collection by those cookies.
The review and selection process is often cumbersome, causing many users to simply click (let’s click) ‘Accept’ to be able to directly access the content they wanted to consult. The EU tried to review the operation to avoid “cookie walls”, but the problem has continued.
The remedy is worse than the disease. The intention of the European Union is laudable, but the mechanism is terrible and has become one of the great nightmares of Internet browsing. It doesn’t work, and even the EU knows it, but it doesn’t seem to matter, because these annoying mechanisms have become a constant in our browsing sessions. One more example of how, in the end, the poor implementation of a measure to protect our privacy makes users prefer to do without it to gain comfort.
Brave you want to load cookie consent. The Brave browser has spent years trying to implement measures to protect our privacy in a comfortable way, and now they are preparing their particular antidote against cookie consent. Its managers have announced the future version 1.45 that this October “will block cookie consent notifications on Android and on the desktop (and shortly after, on iOS)”.
Infamous (and cheating) messages. According to these developers, these messages “are an infamous and almost constant annoyance on the Web.” In addition, they point out, “they break and interrupt one of the main advantages of the web: the ability to browse content from many sites and publishers in a comfortable and easy way. And, ironically, many cookie consent systems actually track to users, introducing the exact harm that consent systems were meant to prevent.
And meanwhile, Google to yours with Manifest v3. The search giant has been trying to come up with its own alternative for some time, which was first FLoC . This alternative was not liked by many, including Brave, and it became the so-called ‘Topics’. To this initiative has been added the so-called Manifest v3, the latest iteration of the Chrome browser extensions platform.
Those changes were also heavily criticized, not least because they will make current ad-blocking extensions stop working. This does not seem to be the solution, and here perhaps the European Union should try to rethink a mechanism that has worsened our internet experience. There is some attempt in this regard, yes, but it seems that at the moment nothing definitive.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism