UK’s ICO Calls for Solutions to End Cookie-Fatigue and Improve Users’ Privacy While Browsing

The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has announced its desire to improve the browsing experience of consumers by tackling the data privacy issues surrounding cookie pop-ups.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham urged G7 Summit authorities in a statement yesterday to develop better cookie consent functionality to smooth out the browsing experience and protect the personal data of internet users.

“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,” Denham said. “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.”

During the discussion, the ICO will present their view on remodeled cookie consent functionality for web browsers and software applications that will let individuals set “lasting” privacy preferences.

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

The G7 data protection and privacy authorities from Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the US, UK and Germany are engaged in a virtual meeting alongside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), where each privacy watchdog will present “a specific technology or innovation issue they believe closer cooperation is needed.”

Denham also emphasized the need for close collaboration between authorities across the globe to coordinate an approach that will uphold people’s privacy preferences and minimize the use of personal data while browsing.

“There are nearly two billion websites out there taking account of the world’s privacy preferences. No single country can tackle this issue alone,” Denham added. “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.”