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I often read articles by following links. The articles are often on major media sites, and I can understand if they want me to create a user account - I am free to say no, and they are free to limit me to three articles, or whatever. But they also display cookie warnings. Why don't they simply use the minimum cookies necessary for the site to function until I create an account, then they can ask me about setting additional cookies? Why harass passers-by when you might never see them again anyway? What use are Analytics of such casual users?

Upgrading the cookies at account creation seems like a much saner approach, more user-friendly, and much more likely to get me to create the account. Sites that ask to display notifications, know my location, etc. are likely to never see me (voluntarily) again.

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  • To continue the cookie metaphor: if you asked people if you could video them as they walked past your bakery and glanced in the window, that would seem rather hostile. – BreakingGnus Jun 13 at 14:27
  • If a page uses cookies, it is required by some EU law to inform the user. – Per Alexandersson Jun 13 at 21:14
  • @PerAlexandesson I think that cookies which are strictly necessary for minimum function do not require this warning. – BreakingGnus Jun 13 at 23:37
  • Sure, but all advertisement stuff has tracking cookies, and there's also all analytics/statistics cookies. – Per Alexandersson Jun 14 at 5:50
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Why are they bugging me with cookie banners? Business needs

They are interested in knowing how many people with what content they can convert to one of their paid plans. That's why it is important to them to know as much as possible about potential buyers.

To stay in your cookie metaphor: A baker can see the amount of people passing by and glancing at the window. Are they interested? Or not at all? Or is it quiet day and everyone is home? If you have a website, this is the stuff you want to know.

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  • I have never understood the idea of marketing. If I want something, I buy it, if not, I don't. I go to web sites either to read linked articles (for free - I don't want to sign up) or to buy the thing I went there to buy. They can fail to let me get it, but they can't increase my interest because it's at 100% or I wouldn't be there. I don't window shop. – BreakingGnus Jun 14 at 9:40
  • @BreakingGnus Sure, but you are not their only potential customer. Many people do get convinced over time, and more seriously consider purchasing a certain product or service if they see continued advertising for it. You may feel that this form of advertising is pointless, but it works well enough for the business to see value in it. – maxathousand Jun 14 at 12:42
  • @BreakingGnus not everyone is like yourself. Even if you don't buy, the baker is interested in knowing which cookies are drawing attention, i.e. what is worth doing more of. I wonder if it's really required to have cookies for this though.. – Martyn Jun 14 at 12:46
  • It reminds me of TV Nielsen Ratings. Thank heaven TVs used to be too simple to tell everyone what you were watching! Perhaps now the TV has outsmarted us and IS reporting back to headquarters? Did we want that behavior? – BreakingGnus Jun 14 at 17:00
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The language of GDPR (the EU/UK regulation that is behind most of these banners) states that:

To comply with the regulations governing cookies under the GDPR and the ePrivacy Directive you must... Receive users’ consent before you use any cookies except strictly necessary cookies.

Are marketing analytics cookies considered "strictly necessary" in the interpretation of the law? According to the UK ICO, the answer is no:

Analytics cookies do not fall within the ‘strictly necessary’ exemption. This means you need to tell people about analytics cookies and gain consent for their use.

The collection of personal data, when third-party cookies such as Google Analytics are in use, is not limited to the scope of a website's local account. Google knows who you are. If you visit a non-Google site that uses Google cookies while authenticated into your Gmail account, for example, Google knows your behavior on the site. That's still the collection of personal data.

Since there are very few websites that don't use third-party analytics software, there are cookie consent banners everywhere.

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  • If I have blocked all 3rd party cookies in my browser, does that stop this kind of tracking? – BreakingGnus Jun 14 at 9:34
  • It might. But I'm not sure a first-party website can detect that a browser is blocking all third-party cookies. – Izquierdo Jun 14 at 13:49
  • So it seems like "an exercise in futility" to try to control something you can't see and which the user might have overridden anyway. Then the GDPR comes in and tries to protect everyone. Just make the tracking illegal. – BreakingGnus Jun 14 at 16:54

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