Changes sought to Cookie Law

Data protection authorities across the G7 are to be urged to tackle nuisance cookie consent pop-ups, which critics say are not fit for purpose.

Proposals on improving the ways that web users consent to cookies will be discussed in a series of virtual meetings to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The government has cited tackling cookie requests as an example of the reforms to the UK’s data protection regime that it plans to introduce in the future.

The meetings will be chaired by Elizabeth Denham, the UK’s current Information Commissioner, who is due to leave her role this year.

Each of the G7 authorities will make a presentation during the meetings on an issue which they believe requires international cooperation.

According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) many people automatically select “I Agree” when presented with cookie pop-ups, leaving them with no meaningful control over their personal data.

Ms Denham is to propose a new system “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”.

“This would ensure people’s privacy preferences are respected and the use of personal data is minimised, while improving users’ browsing experience and removing friction for businesses,” her office explained.

“While this approach is already technologically possible and compliant with data protection law, the ICO believes the G7 authorities could have a major impact in encouraging technology firms and standards organisations to further develop and roll out privacy-oriented solutions to this issue.”