IAB backs cookie shake-up but strikes note of caution

cookie 2Digital marketing industry body IAB UK has waded into the debate over the UK’s Data Reform Bill – revealed late last week – saying it is “cautiously optimistic” about plans to adopt a new browser-based opt-out model for online cookies.

The legislative shake-up has been on the card since last summer, when the Government launched a three-month consultation entitled “Data: A new direction.”

The Bill, first announced in this year’s Queen’s Speech, is designed to strengthen the UK’s high data protection standards while reducing burdens on businesses to deliver what ministers claim will be around £1bn in cost savings that firms can use to grow their companies.

The cookie law overhaul is one of the key tenets of the Bill and will see PECR rules updated to cut down on ‘user consent’ pop-ups and banners when browsing the Internet.

Currently, users have to give their consent for cookies to be collected. To do so users have to opt in to cookie collection every time they visit a new site.

The Government’s new opt-out model will heavily reduce the need for users to click through consent banners on every website they visit – meaning that people will see far fewer of the boxes -but it will take the co-operation of tech companies to devise a new browser-based solution.

IAB UK head of policy and regulatory affairs Christie Dennehy-Neil said: “We welcome the news that the Government is moving away from a blanket consent model to a more risk-based approach that recognises that cookies can serve very different purposes. Cutting down on the number of pop-ups people receive stands to improve the online experience for users and the environment that digital ads are served in.

“Yet while we’re cautiously optimistic about the developments, more clarity is needed about the alternative proposals for an opt-out regime.

“While annoying, cookie consent pop-ups do still serve a valuable purpose, and it’s crucial that what comes next is both conducive to the continuation of an ad-funded Internet and takes into account the changing nature of identifiers within the digital landscape.”

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