Searching for cookies on the internet I found many articles about peoples favourite cookies and other biscuity delights. But it wasn’t what I was looking for…
It seems a long time ago but the latest meaningful research on cookies that I could find was by PWC in February 2011 (yes, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth). But it showed that, back then, very few people understood what cookies were, what they did and what data they held. 41% of those surveyed did not know that there were different types of cookies and 37% said they did not know how to manage cookies. When actually testing respondents’ knowledge of cookies only one out of sixteen statements was answered correctly by most respondents.
If those results were unchanged for 2018 then I would not be surprised.
GDPR has raised peoples awareness that cookies contain personal data but you only have to land on a high-traffic website to see that many organisations either still don’t understand cookies or they are hoping that they can continue harvesting customer data until the ICO catch up with them. Good luck with that!
For those that care, website owners must now understand that
- Consent must be “positive” given by opting in – simply visiting a site doesn’t count as consent. That is consent by stealth and is no longer acceptable.
- Consent must be freely given and you can’t say “by using this site…” (see 1 above). Importantly – if consent is not freely given then the law assumes that there is no consent.
- You must be able to withdraw consent as easily as it was given.
But this cuts both ways (this is why I think the 2011 research is still valid) because people are rejecting cookies wholesale (if they can) and this negatively impacts things such as paid search and email marketing.
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