The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will call on fellow G7 data protection and privacy authorities to work together to overhaul cookie consent pop-ups.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham will meet G7 authorities on 7-8 September, virtually, and present an idea on how to improve the current cookie consent mechanism - which would make web browsing much more smoother and business friendly, whilst protecting personal data. 

Currently, most people automatically select ‘I agree’ when presented with cookies pop-ups.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said:

“I often hear people say they are tired of having to engage with so many cookie pop-ups. That fatigue is leading to people giving more personal data than they would like.

“The cookie mechanism is also far from ideal for businesses and other organisations running websites, as it is costly and it can lead to poor user experience. While I expect businesses to comply with current laws, my office is encouraging international collaboration to bring practical solutions in this area.

“There are nearly two billion websites out there taking account of the world’s privacy preferences. No single country can tackle this issue alone. That is why I am calling on my G7 colleagues to use our convening power. Together we can engage with technology firms and standards organisations to develop a coordinated approach to this challenge.”

The ICO will explain its vision for the future, in which consumers can set permanent privacy preferences through web browsers, software programmes, and device settings, rather than having to do so through pop-ups every time they visit a website. This would ensure that people’s privacy preferences are followed and that personal data is used as little as possible, while also improving the browsing experience for individuals and removing friction for businesses.

By discussing this with G7 authorities, the ICO believes that they could have a major impact in encouraging technology firms and standards organisations to further develop and roll out privacy-oriented solutions to develop.

Ms Denham added:

“The digital world brings international opportunities and challenges, but these are currently being addressed by a series of domestic solutions. We need to consider how the work of governments and regulators can be better knitted together, to keep people’s trust in data driven innovation.”