This is a short rant about the recently introduced GDPR. Not what it is and what it’s about because that has been done to death by better qualified people than me. I’m talking about how it’s been applied to websites. An end user if you will.

Specifically I’m referring to the number of popups asking me to confirm the use of cookies. Sure, that practise has been there for a while but it’s really taken on another level as website owners try to cover their back by making it something you can’t really avoid. It says a lot when GDPR is frequently used in the same sentence as pop-ups and ad blockers.

It seemed like a good idea when I first saw it. Woo, I only have to accept the most minimal number of cookies! I can refuse approval for tracking cookies and marketing cookies and all the other dodgy shit. But after the hundredth website it’s become like terms and conditions - click confirm just to get it off the screen.

There’s the inconsistency of the application too. Some sites allow you to pick and choose exactly what you’re agreeing to, others still just give a simple agree/deny choice. Worse are the sites that ask the question every time I visit them, as though I might somehow change my mind from day to day. The only common theme is that it all seems to take up so much space.

I’ve also found that some websites (American ones primarily) are simply blocking EU residents entirely. Seemingly the loss of traffic is cheaper than trying to untangle the legal complexities.

It’s not all bad, of course. Many more sites are now allowing me to delete my account. Sites that don’t allow it have always been a pet peev of mine (I just like a tidy online footprint). Those dozens of emails about updated privacy policies turned out to be quite useful for reminding me of old sites I’d not used in a while.

Still, I’ll take the inconvenience if it gives more power to me and my data. Hopefully when the dust has settled we can go back to a more positive user experience. Or maybe GDPR will just die a long, slow, bureaucratic death.