Google may finally develop a “Refuse all cookies” button

Google will finally make it easier to reject cookies if you don’t want them. The company was fined 150 million euros at the start of the year by the CNIL, because such a refusal button is not offered.

Declining cookies should be as easy as accepting. This is the rule that the National Commission for Computing and Liberties (Cnil) has been trying to impose on the net since the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulations (RGPD) and ePrivacy. Clearly, Internet users should be able to reject cookies with a simple click when arriving on a site.

Google was heavily sanctioned in France

But in this area, Google is not a good student: the American company has paid dearly for its sloppiness. At the very beginning of the year, the Cnil imposed a penalty of 150 million euros on it for having broken the rules on cookies. And even today, the banner displayed by Google is unbalanced: if accepting cookies is done in one click, refusal is made more complicated.

But that should change very soon. The Euractiv site reports that Google has told the personal data regulator in Hamburg, Germany, that a general cookie rejection button will soon be included in its information banner. However, the deadline for adding this option is not specified.

“I accept”, “Customize” and… that’s it. // Source: Screenshot

Currently, visiting Google without cookies on the computer takes place with the prior display of an information insert on Google’s policy with cookies, their role, those that can be refused and those that are required for the proper functioning of the service. Two buttons are presented: one to accept everything, another to determine each situation on a case-by-case basis.

These explanations were improved last year, with a clearer and more complete text. The American company had little choice: the Cnil in 2020 had already fined it 100 million euros for several shortcomings (deposit of cookies without prior collection of the user’s consent, insufficient information, mechanism of wobbly opposition).

It is certainly possible to refuse everything, but the process is longer and manual: you have to review several sub-sections related to the information banner, which is not very convenient. This discrepancy is decried as being a “dark pattern”, that is to say an organization of the interface such that Internet users are pushed to perform one action rather than another.

A refuse all button… before the end of cookies?

Google is today still very dependent on cookies, which constitute a means for it to deliver targeted advertising to Internet users. These ads, which are personalized according to activity on the web, are the source of most of the turnover of Google and, through it, of Alphabet, its parent company. Cookies are in fact absolutely strategic.

Thus, accepting all cookies literally takes only one click of the banner button, while refusing them requires navigating through various panels and performing several specific actions. However, Google has the ability to combine all these steps into a single clickable link – other sites do it well, with a “Continue without accepting” link.

Google’s commitment to update this banner so as to comply with European guidelines applies to the entire European Union, but also to Switzerland and the United Kingdom. This solution could prove to be temporary: Google intends to abandon third-party cookies, especially on Chrome. But the European authorities are worried about it.

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