GDPR, Cookies, Privacy, and a Ts&Cs rant!

Whose bright idea was it to have me click to accept cookies on every new website I visit?

This thing is beyond a joke.

If you live in the EU, as I do, you will probably know what I’m talking about (silly banners at the top of every page or even a box in the middle of the page you are trying to look at).

Since the people in the EU government, or whatever, who put this fascicle into action are most certainly on a higher pay grade than me, perhaps they will be happy to pay me by the hour for each one of these things I find myself clicking.

It’s all nonsense; “Do you agree to the…?” … “Yes.” … “Do you….?” … “Yes.” On every website. WordPress informs me I might need to put it on my blog too.

To help your site with transparency under privacy laws like the GDPR, Akismet can display a notice to your users under your comment forms. This feature is disabled by default, however, you can turn it on below.

Please enable or disable this feature. More information.

No one reads these things in full any more, it’s like any other Ts&Cs*, and no one clicks no because they assume it’ll stop them getting to where they were trying to get to.

Actually, I clicked No to one yesterday and then it bombarded me with threats about how I would end up seeing adverts on the website I was trying to get to, they just wouldn’t be relevant to me… and was I sure about that. It’s quicker just to blindly click Yes.

The Guardian suggests this:

Coping with pop-ups

We’re suffering from a rash of pop-ups because the system is new, but this should be temporary. Once you have selected your preferences, they will be saved in a cookie for future reference. This is an imperfect solution because you will have to repeat the consent procedure for [every website you visit that requests consent], each browser you use, and repeat it again if you have a clean-up and delete all your cookies.

It’s almost as annoying as Yahoo! Mail recognising that I use an Adblocker, and crying every time I move my mouse off the page that I’m causing them financial hardship.

[I would include a picture of this plea but I can’t make the page do it now!]
Here’s one from Business Insider that came up instead:

The irony is (if the millions that were probably spent implementing this joke could be included in such irony) it is being considered to the GDPR thing back to a more non-badgering nature, such as implementing a web browser feature whereby the user can specify there preference in the browser and that will implement that setting for each website visited. Yay.

/Rant [almost…]

*I was actually caught out recently by not reading Ts&Cs. I bought two of an item (from Ebuyer) expecting a matching pair to be sent, but received two different ones. Since this wasn’t ideal I elected to return them, unbeknownst to me there was a restocking fee involved (up to 20%). As part of the Distance Selling Regulations here in the UK, personal customers are exempt from such things but for some reason my account with this company was labelled as a Business one. I queried this with Ebuyer, pointing out that the threat of a restocking fee should have been mentioned at the start of the returns process (not hidden away in Ts&Cs that no one reads) so I could have made my return decision based on this. I queried why I was down as a Business customer, what benefits I gained from this [none], and how I could change it. They just barked back that it was their Terms for Business customers and they didn’t feel justified in reimbursing me (which I hadn’t actually asked to be since the actual amount in question was negligible to me). They gave no explanation for the other queries so I have now opened a new Personal account with them, ready to use next time (I can’t see a way to actually close the other account other than by perhaps contacting them again, which I can’t be bothered to do). Having a Business account with them has actually been a nuisance on numerous occasions prior to this (although not for a while) because I’ve had “sales reps” on their Business team phone me up and “try and do business with me”, i.e get all pally, and even phone me as soon as I start browsing their website to try and assist/ensure a sale. Every so often they would employ a new sales rep and the process would start again.

I’ve used Ebuyer for a number of years but I think this, the Ts&Cs issue, is actually the only time I’ve felt disgruntled (the sales calls were just momentary inconveniences that I quickly forgot about at the time). I’d been trying to avoid using another tech-supply company, Scan, because of their returns process taking weeks to refund me for something that got lost in transit earlier this year and they failed to put in the necessary search request with the courier in question, leading to further delays. I was just fortunate on both these occasions (with both Ebuyer and Scan) that I wasn’t returning more expensive items.

Further reading on GDPR:

www.wired.co.uk/…/gdpr-cookies-eprivacy-regulation-popups

www.theguardian.com/…/what-should-i-do-about-all-the-gdpr-pop-ups-on-websites

www.indy100.com/…/gdpr-memes-eu-law-viral-twitter-deadline-memes-funny-8368531

cliqz.com/…/annoyed-by-cookie-consent-notices-there-is-a-method-behind-it

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