Do you have to accept the use of cookies on the internet? Better think twice

(CNN Spanish) -- Would you feel comfortable if you had someone sitting next to you looking at your computer screen all the time? Probably not. However, that is what you are allowing when you click "Accept" the use of cookies when browsing the Internet, since you are authorizing the sharing of everything you do on your computer and in your browser. The frequency with which pop-ups asking for your consent appear can be overwhelming, so much so that it has led some users to click because their presence is annoying.

But what are these warnings and why are they invading your browsing experience?

It all started in 2018 with the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP), a European regulation —which also applies to websites in the United States— that forces websites to be honest about cookies. they install and the data they track.

“Basically these laws guarantee the privacy of people's personal data. So, for those portals, especially large internet portals, they just had to show this notice and wait for the user's consent," explained Dmitry Bestuzhev, director of the research and analysis team for Latin America at Kaspersky to CNN en Español.

However, understanding the information about the use of cookies “is quite a complex task”, according to Bestuzhev, which has sometimes caused users to click without being fully aware of the implications.

A study on uninformed cookie consent conducted by academics at the Ruhr University of Bochum in Germany and the University of Michigan in the United States found that the main motivation for users to interact with the cookie consent notice “is the assumption that the website cannot be accessed in any other way”. Other common motivations mentioned in the study were “the ad distracts me from viewing the website” and other people interacted with the ad “out of habit”.


¿Debes aceptar el uso de cookies en internet? Mejor piénsalo dos veces

Bestuzhev pointed out that it is easier to have additional technology than trying to understand what a portal will do with its cookies, since it is practically impossible to find out what kind of cookies a website is using and how the user's information goes. be used. "This is why we see so many browser add-ons today."

So should you or should you not accept cookies?

Cookies are pieces of code that give a website a kind of short-term memory by allowing it to remember small bits of your browsing information, such as your login information and browsing preferences, to offer you a more personalized experience. However, these same cookies can also be used to track your online activity and allow advertisers to target you with great precision.

“The danger is in its ability to track people's browsing histories. This “Big Brother”-style behavior may raise some security concerns,” according to a Kaspersky post.

So although own cookies improve your browsing experience and are generally safer, there are also "malicious cookies, there are really cookies that are made to actually spy on users, to collect information, and this is the big difference. ”, Bestuzhev said.

The level of privacy each person chooses is a personal decision, but users can start by setting their own browser to enable or disable web tracking. This option is available in browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Brave and Safari.

How to avoid pop-ups?

If you want to stop seeing pop-ups and prefer technology to deal with them, there are extensions like Consent-O-Matic, Privacy Cloud, and I don't care about cookies. cookies") that block or hide pop-up windows, or automatically fill in your preferences regarding the use of cookies.

Under the premise that pop-up windows about the use of cookies are designed to be confusing and make users agree to be tracked, Consent-O-Matic answers for you “so that you are not manipulated”. Similarly, Privacy Cloud acts by "removing most cookie banners and declining consent by default."

For its part, I don't care about cookies removes cookie warnings "on almost all websites, preventing thousands of unnecessary clicks." However, this extension can automatically accept the cookie policy, "depending on what is easiest to do" so it may not completely eliminate the use of cookies.

The I don't care about cookies website encourages users to educate themselves on cookies and on privacy and data protection issues.

"It is very important to understand that privacy is tied with security," Bestuzhev concluded.