Vertigo: Privacy is a very big issue. Some of its solutions might be small and local.
A sense of dizziness might occur when the dimensions of online privacy issues are reflected on. It’s understandable to feel both disoriented and defenseless.
A cookie solution is a vital, local tool to take back control of our online lives from big third-party ad tech companies, but this requires the will of website owners to be responsible for their users’ data. With that responsibility comes the need for honest solutions.
Cookiebot is such a solution. It’s a GDPR and ePrivacy-compliant way of managing cookie consent. It’s a software-as-a-service, installed on your website directly from the cloud to give the user a choice of consent.
The legal reality, however, demands that a website must secure the clear and unambiguous cookie consent from its users before using any cookies and other tracking technologies (apart from cookies strictly necessary for a website’s functioning), so stated by the current EU data protection law of the GDPR and the upcoming ePrivacy Regulation.
Failure to be GDPR compliant can result in fines up to €20 million or 4% of a company’s global yearly turnover.
But these laws are not only for Europeans. On the contrary, their jurisdiction encompasses all websites globally that have visitors from the EU.
If you have a US-based website, and you have a user from any of the twenty-seven EU nations, you are required by law to be GDPR compliant toward that user as well.
This leaves website owners in a pickle: how to manage user cookie consent in GDPR compliance, while at the same time managing their online businesses?
In other words: if you have a website, you probably don’t have much time to analyze your website’s cookies yourself, let alone manage each and every one so that users can be given proper insight and make an informed choice of consent.
This is where a cookie solution comes in. You can try Cookiebot for free here.
Our internet is changing every day. Unpleasant truths about repeated online tracking of users, even on EU government sites and EU public health sites by big ad tech companies have shown the extent to which data privacy laws are needed to secure user cookie consent and their basic democratic rights to privacy.
"Hyperobjects" may include concepts such as "climate change" and "digital privacy".
These issues are big, we begin to understand. They touch all of us, whether we know it or not, and whether we’d like them to or not.
These issues might in fact be so big that the concept of digital privacy is comparable to the concept of climate change, both of which are what environmental philosopher Timothy Morton calls “hyperobjects”, i.e. that they are too big to describe and almost impossible to understand – and even worse, incredibly hard to react to.
If privacy is a catch-all, watered-down term already, another way to look at these issues, as civil liberty attorney Matt Cagle suggests, is to think about autonomy: “Privacy is really about being able to define for ourselves who we are for the world and on our own terms”.
The algorithms of ad tech companies and Facebook don’t give us more of what we want, as most people like to believe. Rather, their goal is to make us more predictable. To make us less autonomous. To push us toward the choices that the algorithms would like us to make, so that they prove their programming right.
To lose privacy is to lose autonomy is to become predictable.
Sensitive data can be used to take away that control of one’s own life and freedoms.
It can mean losing your autonomy in ways we are familiar with (and perhaps already more tolerant about), such as through targeted advertisements meant to sway our decisions, and even influence us at the algorithmically calculated time of day, where we are seemingly most susceptible.
But we can also lose our autonomy in ways that have much greater impact on the not only personal, but very private and intimate circles of our lives: in the aspects that range from physical and mental health, finance and security, to religious or sexual or political discrimination.
These issues are very big, but some of their solutions can actually be quite down-to-earth: controlling the cookies and trackers on your website, managing the cookie consent of your users.
A cookie solution, in other words, is a small, local, but vital step to approach this vast and scary issues.
The GDPR is in effect in the EU, but its enforcement is very much up to you, the website owner.
A cookie solution that provides you with comprehensive protection (from cookie scanning to cookie control to GDPR consent) is an important step in the right direction towards making these big issues smaller, more local, more understandable, and so solvable.
Cookiebot is a cookie solution that makes it possible to be compliant with the GDPR and the ePrivacy Directive without having to probe your own website and spend hundreds of hours mapping out cookie consent. It’s a technology that provides a cookie scanner, consent management and cookie control for your entire domain.
Once applied to your website, the Cookiebot technology works in the following ways:
Cookiebot scans your website for cookies and maps out all the tracking present and operating on your website. It does so once a month (unless you set it to more frequent scans) to keep you updated on what goes on under the surface of your site.
Cookiebot keeps a catalogue of all cookies that it finds on websites. This is how it can identify their technical properties as well as defining their purpose. Together, this forms the cookie information that is given to the users, so they can make informed decisions about their cookie consent.
It is also from this bank of knowledge that Cookiebot groups cookies into four categories; based on their properties and purposes.
These four categories are necessary, preference, analytics and marketing. Third-party tracking and profiling on account of personal information usually takes place in the latter two types of cookies.
It’s sort of like a library with ever increasing volumes of information that can be accessed by both a website owner and their users for the sake of transparency and GDPR consent.
The infamous cookie consent banner, that you’ve undoubtedly stumbled upon many times on the internet, can take many shapes and forms. Many aren’t even compliant, offering no real choice of consent for the user.
A GDPR compliant banner is one that offers users real choice of consent, enabling them to opt in or out of each cookie category, as required by the EU cookie laws, simply by checking or unchecking the boxes of each cookie category.
If the user wishes to avoid or minimize their exposure to targeted advertisement, they can fittingly opt out of or revoke their consent to analytics and marketing cookies. Their choice will be remembered for a year, after which Cookiebot will ask for renewed cookie consent.
Based on a user’s choice of consent, Cookiebot controls all cookies and other tracking technologies across your website and all its subpages automatically. The cookie manager remembers the specific user choices for a year and controls the cookies accordingly. If the user wishes to change their mind and revoke consent, this is a simple and straight-forward procedure and the cookie consent manager will then accommodate.
Cookiebot can be set to comply with GDPR and the ePrivacy Directive but can be configured to each specific country as well, so as to follow other regulations if needed.
At the end of the day, what happens on a website is the responsibility of that website’s owner. This goes for cookies and trackers too, even if they are third-party trackers. If they are on your website, they are your responsibility.
But a cookie solution like Cookiebot helps you lift this responsibility. It helps you gain a clear overview and makes the job of living up to that responsibility simpler. Third-party trackers are everywhere in our everyday, both online and offline. We can’t escape them, but we can regulate as we are willing to. A regulation is not just an EU legal action; it’s can be small and local action undertaken by the website owner as well. In fact, it needs to be.
Cookiebot does all the hard work, so that you can focus on the more important things, such as to reflect on the level of transparency and right to privacy that you, as a website owner, are willing to engage your users in.
The users are often consent fatigued, i.e. they are fed up with endless banners without proper information, and they are often driven to unconsciously click those banners away out of frustration before realizing what this means for their privacy and autonomy.
Cookiebot is a helpful tool for websites to counter this unfortunate trend, and so foster a safer internet that is more privacy-oriented, with a greater level of transparency.
It's a cookie solution for protecting privacy.
We have already come a long way in just the past couple of years on this front, but there is a long way to go and it goes nowhere without the will of the website owners to change their small, local corner of the internet.
These are big issues, but some of the solutions can be small, local and start with you.