Tag - Politics

The Cookie Law – Politicians Don’t Understand the Internet

I’ve only recently done some reading up on the Cookie Law after seeing numerous “This site uses cookies; are you OK with that?” messages. Yes I know I’m late to the cookie smashing party but I’m going to weigh in anyway. It annoys me both as a site user and creator.

I know it’s only 2 seconds out of your day for every page but when you browse the internet as much as me it really starts to add up. I get to the stage where I just ignore the messages. This deprives the webmaster of valuable information (via tracking) and therefore hinders them in the improvement of their site. These cookie messages create such bad user experience and could actually be bad for EU business by deterring creative web companies from setting up here. They won’t like the idea of needing to ask the users permission before doing anything cool. They will probably just go to the US.

Also I’ve never met anyone who has actually cared that a website remembers they’ve been there, and tracks how long they stay. I mean what’s next? Signing a legal document before you go into a clothes shop so the staff can look at you, judge you clothing size and offer suggestions? I don’t see much difference between that situation and this one.

It seems to me that the people who came up with this law have zero knowledge of how the internet works. They seem to think that cookies cause awful privacy violations and consequently must be stopped. Zero thought seems to have been given to implementation and the amount of people it would impact.

Anyone who uses any sort of tracking software would seem to be in violation of this law. People are breaking the law just because they’re trying to improve their site. As long as there is a way for someone to opt out (if they want) I don’t see the problem. I really don’t see how it’s the job of website owners to educate everyone who comes to their site about cookies.

This lack of understanding also seems to be shown by American politicians with their SOPA Act too. Basically it would allow sites to be taken down without notice if it enables copyright infringement. So in theory if someone uploaded some content to a website, and the content was copyright protected, the entire website could be taken down without due process. Because it’s enabling copyright infringement.

But there’s so much sharing on the internet these days. Even this most simple of facts was overlooked by those behind SOPA. It appears they had zero understanding of the internet. I’d be surprised if they could master a printer let alone understand the practicalities behind the web. Those sort of people shouldn’t be making decisions about the internet.

Their thinking was just piracy = bad; a huge oversimplification. Privacy = good was the oversimplified thinking behind the Cookie Law. Although the cookie law is no way near as potentially damaging; it’s just really annoying.

Quite simply it’s really embarrassing for everyone involved when these laws are made by people who have zero experience of the web. As far as I can tell (granted that I’m not an expert this) very few experts were consulted.

I literally think a bunch of 13 year olds would do a better job at passing legislation in regards to online matters compared to current politicians. It’s not that the core ideas that are behind the Acts in question are poor – privacy is a good thing, but they way they are implemented is just awful.

This video does a better job of telling you what’s wrong with the Cookie Law than my ranting:

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