I’ve made two minor changes to the site today:
- The first time you visit this site from today, you will be asked for permission to store cookies on your computer
These come about because of my participation with Google AdSense – all EU sites must obtain user consent for cookies with effect from the end of September. This is the so-called ‘EU Cookie Directive’.
I really wish that, following the EU Directive that mandated consent for cookies, that there had been some collaboration between web site owners and web browser vendors to come up with a more graceful solution. Whilst I accept that it’s best if users are able to consent to cookies being stored on individual web sites, this could have been done in a standardised way as a function of the user’s web browser.
Years ago, the W3C proposed P3P, which used HTTP headers and machine-readable privacy policies to allow users to select a level of privacy that they were comfortable with. Anything else, such as third-party cookies, would be blocked if desired. Ironically for a web standard, the only current web browser that supports P3P is Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which has done since version 6. It remains an opt-in and rarely-used standard and the W3C paused all work on it ages ago.
I haven’t researched P3P enough to know whether it could be developed further, so that web sites can use it for EU Cookie Directive compliance. If it could, and if Google, Mozilla, Apple, Opera and others all agreed to implement it, then the web could become a less annoying place. Especially if there was an option to implicitly accept all cookies from all first-party web sites, for example.