Home Technology Brexit could FINALLY allow UK to block endless 'box-ticking' warnings on websites

Brexit could FINALLY allow UK to block endless 'box-ticking' warnings on websites

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You’re probably familiar with the constant barrage of cookie warnings that pop-up whenever you visit a new page on the web. These messages are designed to reveal all cookies and trackers operating on the website in plain language… but usually say something like “This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience” with a link to “learn more”. And that’s it.

There’s no option to dismiss the cookies, or change the trackers in operation. As such, this well-intentioned initiative ends up being a colossal pain in the neck – as you often won’t be able to interact with the website until you’ve dismissed the warning message.

For those living in Britain, that could soon change.

Following the departure from the European Union, Britain is now free to make its own decisions around data laws, including the cookie warnings required by EU regulations. According to Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden, Britain is now looking to give these messages the chop.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Dowden said the current plan will only require these warning banners on “high risk” websites. He clarified: “There’s an awful lot of needless bureaucracy and box-ticking and actually we should be looking at how we can focus on protecting people’s privacy but in as light a touch way as possible.”

The upcoming reforms to data laws in the UK will be overseen by a newly-appointed head of the UK data regulator. Downing Street has named New Zealand’s privacy commissioner, John Edwards, as its preferred candidate for the role.

In a press release, Dowden confirmed that he was “determined” to craft a new data policy designed to “deliver a Brexit dividend” for people and businesses in the UK.

“That means seeking exciting new international data partnerships with some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, for the benefit of British firms and British customers alike. It means reforming our own data laws so that they’re based on common sense, not box-ticking,” the document reads.

But while plans to remove the annoying cookie warnings found across the web sound attractive, unfortunately, the reality is that any changes made in the UK will need to be approved by the European Union. If not, data transfers between the UK and member states could be thrown into chaos. Given that vast multi-national companies, like Apple, Google, and Facebook, transfer data between countries almost constantly… that’s not a practical solution.

Brussels recently ruled that post-Brexit data protection laws in the UK are currently “adequate.” Any changes made by the Government seen to weaken these protections could result in the EU pulling that recognition “immediately”, it has warned.



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