Companies Failing To Make Cookies Optional For Website Users Set To Face Heavy Penalties, Top UK Watchdog Warns

Top UK companies are receiving a stark warning from a leading regulator in the country regarding websites and the use of cookies.

The Information Commissioner has mentioned how important it is for such organizations to make cookies optional for users paying their website a visit. And if not, they’ll be heavily punished with large fines to help discourage others from doing the same.

The topic of cookies has been debatable in the past and continues to be the same today. But despite that, some of the country’s biggest websites which are viewed by hundreds of thousands have failed to make them optional.

Cookies are outlined to be tiny fines through which a website can gather a user’s data and make use of that for the likes of customizing ads online as well as keeping tabs on the user’s browsing activity.

So as you can see, the benefits are plenty for the company but they’re doing so at the expense of users who may not wish to be tracked but are seemingly left without any kind of option because there’s simply no way out.

If you want to proceed, you can either click on accept all. But seeing how so many websites fail to give users fairer decision-making options is remarkable as stated by the Information Commissioner recently.

Therefore, this is the reason why they’re now being provided with exactly one month to shape up and abide by the new law. This means users should be able to accept cookies as simply as it would be to reject them.

For now, no websites are being outlined in particular but notices will soon be generated for all those who fail to abide by the law. While experts do agree that some cookies are designed to better the overall user experience on the page, others are merely designed to do the opposite and are only present for tracking purposes.

This would serve them with all kinds of ads, depending on what their usual browsing activity would be.

Experts spoke in detail about how cookies can keep track and even record user data such as what is being done on a website, which type of device is being used, where the user goes after using the site, and also their exact location around the globe.

So as you can tell, it’s not rocket science to understand how so many pages make use of cookies to sell ads through which they generate their income. However, forcing any user to accept all cookies and gather their data without consent is just unbelievably unlawful.

Such types of advertising behavior are not only invasive but wrong. So many individuals will get the chance to visit a website and make a purchase and then seeing such ads pop up again on all other pages they visit is the website’s goal.

The watchdog claimed that cookie popups may seem irritating at first but they are created to keep tabs on cookies. And when they are not clear-cut in design, like opting in or opting out completely, users might make a selection that they are not keen on.

The ICO has raised the matter in the past as well in terms of how it wished to have firms unleash an option where ‘All Cookes’ could be rejected. But that is no longer the case and it wishes to bring that ‘Reject All’ tab back, similar to how ‘Accept All’ is so common.

And the fact that companies can continue to display ads on their pages when tracking gets rejected is another factor they can consider, without the added tailoring added to anyone’s personal browsing experience.

More research is being carried out in the country to try and make cookie pop-ups crumble too and that should be interesting. What do you think?

Until then, we're just going to see how this new rule of fines punishing those who fail to pay heed to the ICO's ruling comes into play. It's about time strict action was taken against unfair user tracking that has been in the talks for a while now.

Photo: DIW- AIgen

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