Nasir Shadravan

April 29, 2021

Cookie Popups Have Ruined the Web

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was put into effect in 2018. The goal of this law is to protect the data and privacy of the European users and make sure their personal data is used only when they have explicitly consented.

For businesses, complying to GDPR means whenever you are visiting their website, you should be presented with information about any kind of cookies, trackers and third party services that may access your personal data. The website should explicitly ask for your permission and your data should be used only if you agree. This is normally done using  cookie consent popups whenever you visit a website for the first time (or when you have not agreed before).

Even though GDPR is a great regulation and benefits the users significantly, the implementation has taken a terrible turn. Many online businesses try to collect information from users and share it with third parties for analytics or ad trackers. In order to be compliant, they should get your consent for the broadest scope possible.

Many users will not consent if they're presented with a simple Yes/No prompt. Therefore, businesses start complicating things. They have turned GDPR compliance into a game of deception. In many websites, what can be a simple Yes/No cookie prompt is a dialog with a big CONFIRM button and an unfocused "more options". If you want to decline, you enter a series of complicated steps filled with legal text and confusing call to actions to trick you into giving permissions. Similar to how you mind-numbingly agree the terms and conditions of a new product, you probably accept the cookie consent and allow websites unleash their trackers and collectors on your web surfing activities.

This is sad, annoying and abusive. No one should be tricked into accepting legal terms. But it is how it is now. Cookie popups have made the web user experience worse and users are frustrated.

I don't know how this can be fixed. Slashing GDPR will feel like going backwards but the current state of the cookie popups will stay as it is if nothing is changed. For what it's worth, I created an extension to remove those popups for myself without agreeing any terms. I keep receiving requests from my friends and family to use it too. So, I created a website for it. If you're interested too, you can check it out on cookiepopupblocker.com

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