Website owners and administrators must display some degree of information on the website to inform its visitors whatever technology is used to collect personal data.

Cookies Track Visitor Traffic And More

There are two types of cookies.

A third-party cookie is a cookie that's placed on a user's device -- computer, cellphone or tablet -- by a website from a domain that is different than the website being visited. Third-party cookies are most frequently used for online advertising.

Another type of cookie is a first-party cookie. This one uses software code, based on a web page, to identify you and then track what you do while visiting the website. This method is how analytics of website traffic is collected. The level of info collected deems the analytics in compliance with standard privacy policy practices which at this point is the GDPR, General Dat Protection Rule, which is known as the gold standard.

Google Making Adjustments With Chrome

The news that we have all wanted to see, to know that protecting website visitor data is a top priority, is showing up.

Google announced that it will start terminating cookie architecture starting, in its'Chrome browser, on January 4, 2024. It’s estimated on that date that millions of internet users will be affected as cookies on their browsers will no longer function.

Third Party Cookies

Lately Google has deeply rooted scrutiny, from the EU Commission and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), about its data collection practices.

They have been caught collecting and drilling down into cookie data to reveal identities and then selling that data. There are plenty of analytics companies that abide with the GDPR and still provide meaningful traffic. Matomo is one of those companies and they are based in Germany.

“Google has said it wants to gradually phase out cookies starting the third quarter of next year. To make its deadline to stop support for cookies altogether in 2024, it would have to switch off cookies by September 2024,” said James Rosewell, founder of device detection company 51Degrees

It appears Google is sheering to the scrutiny. Since its one of the world’s biggest tech companies, it hopefully is establishing a trend to move the digital tech ad industry in the direction of consent and to balance digital data collection with data privacy.

Many browsers have already been banning third-party cookies. For example, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox block third-party cookies by default.

Consent Is The Key

User consent remains the basic requirement is global data protection laws, led by the EU’s GDPR and being demonstrated in newer legislation such as Brazil’s LGPD.

Summary

The use of cookies or tokens - some type of software - to track visitors is not going to go away anytime soon.

A lot of thought and effort has gone into the creation of global policies to protect website users. The big question is will the largest tech companies comply with those efforts.

Seeing that Google has begun to comply since they are the only holdout at this point, is a decent sign that a new day has dawned for visitor privacy.

But, it's not time to stop thinking about it since the technology of "trust tokens" is already being tested in tech sandboxes.

Visitor privacy is an ongoing concern to be kept on the front burner to keep companies and governments accountable.

Steu Mann
December, 2023

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