ICO Requests International Support to Tackle Cookie Pop-Ups

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The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has announced it wants to tackle cookie pop-ups to help protect personal data.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham will call on G7 authorities to work on this issue collectively, presenting a plan to improve the current cookie consent mechanism during a virtual meeting today and tomorrow.

Currently, many people automatically select ‘I agree’ when presented with cookie pop-ups on the internet, which allows websites to keep track of their visits and activities. This means they are giving up far more personal information than they wish.

During the meeting, which Denham is chairing, the ICO will present its vision for the future, in which web browsers, software applications and device settings allow people to set lasting privacy preferences of their choosing rather than making that decision through pop-ups every time they visit a website.

The ICO added that this approach is both technologically possible and compliant with data protection law. It is now hoped that the G7 will leverage their influence to further develop and roll out privacy-oriented solutions to this issue.

Denham commented: “I often hear people say they are tired of having to engage with so many cookie pop-ups. That fatigue is leading to people giving more personal data than they would like.

“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. While I expect businesses to comply with current laws, my office is encouraging international collaboration to bring practical solutions in this area.

“There are nearly two billion websites out there taking account of the world’s privacy preferences. No single country can tackle this issue alone. That is why I am calling on my G7 colleagues to use our convening power. Together we can engage with technology firms and standards organizations to develop a coordinated approach to this challenge.”

In June, tech giant Google pushed back plans to block third-party cookies on Chrome until at least 2023.

During the G7 meeting, which will include representatives from Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), each country will present a specific technology or innovation issue they believe closer cooperation is needed.

Last month, the UK government announced that John Edwards, who currently serves as New Zealand’s privacy commissioner, is its preferred candidate to be the next Information Commissioner.

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