We’ve all seen them and absentmindedly clicked “OK” or “Accept” on them to get them out of the path of whatever our digital objective may be. Individuals and companies depend and rely on those “OK” or “Accept” clicks as a very viable, and low cost, revenue streams. The idea of using the word “COOKIE” is marketing genius! After all, what’s more tastily innocuous than a cookie. In reality, digital cookies are a license to use and sell your data and we allow them to take the data without questioning what they’ll do with it. And, it’s all perfectly legal because you have signed a contract allowing free use of your data every time you click “OK” or “Accept”. Most of us would think twice before signing such a contract if it were called a “license” or a “personal data contract”. But COOKIE is a soft, memory-laden, and passive sounding word. So, we agree.
Getting The Lid Back On The Cookie Jar
The cookie process is sophisticated, well designed, and essentially irresistible. For example, we are drawn to a website because it offers the promise of material or information that we need. We are given enough of a glimpse to convince us that we are in the right place to find what we think we need. And then, before we’re allowed to enter the site, we’re told we must accept their cookies to gain admission. Of course, the option to deny the cookies is there. But there is an implicit warning that if we do not accept the cookies we will not be allowed to see part, or all, of what we’re trying to locate. It’s a classic carrot and stick scenario and the majority of people succumb to it readily. In fact, for many it has become an automatic response.
It’s time for consumers to look out for and protect their data rights. That will require action. If large numbers of users begin refusing cookies for example, it will force a change in the process. Perhaps vendors will find creative ways to compensate users for permission to use their information. Discounts, coupons, crypto currency certificates, or cash credits might be offered as incentives for clicking “OK” or Accept” as examples. But those incentives will never happen as long as people are willing to blindly give their data away for free.
It’s time to get the lid back on the cookie jar and slap the hands that are sneaking into it for just one more.