The latest reports suggest that there may be a cookie revolution coming sooner rather than later. This is from the UK’s plan to introduce the Data Reform Bill as part of the National Data Strategy.
What are the issues with cookies?
Failure to comply with PECR and GDPR standards means that any data processed without consented cookies are collected unlawfully. These concerns have been brought to light in recent cases. Data Protection activist and lawyer, Max Schrems, has displayed the severity in the non-compliance of cookie use on websites. On May 31st 2021, over 500 draft complaints had been issued against non-compliant sites. Schrems believes the rights of the individual are being infringed through failure to provide a simple “yes” or “no” option when collecting individuals’ data through cookies.
What is the UK’s plan for the cookie reform?
To target this issue, the UK reform bill has addressed a change to the layout of cookies and data collection on websites. As of now, it is unclear what this proposed change may consist of. However, we can refer to efforts made from other institutions and companies to gain an insight into what it may consist of.
The main cookie alternative discussed has been a “one-click” method of managing an individual cookies options across all platforms. In a sense, this will provide users with the means to manage what data they wish to share through an option provided in the browser settings. We have seen this concept attempted in the past by google with a ‘do not track’ option. However, due to the absence of transparency from other websites in data processing, the option was removed due to lack of compliance and legality. On the other hand, Apple have been able to successfully implement a similar function through the “control app tracking” update. The option gives Apple users the power to restrict data processing outside the scope of cookies. This ultimately suggests that a similar option could be available for UK website users once the data reform commences.
What does this mean for the future of the cookie?
The biggest question asked from the UK’s reform proposal is what does this mean for relationships and data processes outside of the UK? Post-Brexit, the UK has made sure to stay close to EU law in its continued application of GDPR regulations and its adequacy status by the EU commission. However, by reforming the legislation surrounding data legislation, this could ultimately effect data cross-border data flows and relationships within the EU and EEA. For now, the UK remains GDPR compliant. Only time will tell if these proposed changes impact the future of how data is collected and processed.
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