UK : Pop-ups are dead, long live pop-ups


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Apr 24, 2016
Today is going to be the day that you read a lot about the UK’s intention to kill cookie pop-ups as part of its post-Brexit Data Reform Bill. By now you should have somehow realised that there’s a bit more to it than that, and that your work is not set to get any easier.

So settle in for 3,000 words or so explaining what’s ahead for you, and the way you build things, here in the sunlit uplands.

The news you’re hearing today is not the draft Bill itself, but the press campaign around the release of the response to government’s consultation on “Data: A New Direction” from last Autumn. You’re probably not up for reading that on a Friday, though, so you can read any number of news stories summarising the planned changes, like this one from Bloomberg:

A planned Data Reform Bill will cut “burdens on businesses to deliver around £1 billion ($1.23 billion) in cost savings” over ten years, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said in a statement summarizing the legislation Thursday.

The announcement criticized the EU’s “highly complex” General Data Protection Regulation and promised a “clampdown on bureaucracy, red tape and pointless paperwork” to “seize the benefits of Brexit.”

Small British businesses will no longer be required to have a data protection officer and fill out “lengthy impact assessments.” Internet users will be given the option to opt-out rather than needing to opt-in for the collection of cookies — which track users around the internet. The government said the change will cut down on “the irritating boxes users currently see on every website”.

The government will also be able to exert more control over the country’s data watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office. Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries will have to approve its statutory codes and guidance before they are presented to Parliament.

A DCMS spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on maintaining a “data adequacy” arrangement.
So, aye. Yay. No more popups! Yay! Everyone hates them! I do! You do! Everyone does!

But. And it’s a big but.

I need you to keep reading the fine print, in that government announcement.

And I need you to keep reading the fine print in other government announcements on tech and digital.

Because the pop-ups are just getting started.
So hooray. Yes. We’re getting rid of horrible European pop-ups.

So that we can replace them with horrible British pop-ups.

We’re getting rid of European risk assessment bureaucracy.

So that we can replace it with British risk assessment bureaucracy.

We’re getting rid of Eurocrats who don’t understand the internet.

So that we can replace them with politicians who think the internet is ten years old.

And we’re getting rid of European-derived privacy rights.

So that we can replace them with UK-inspired privacy erosions.

And the saddest thing of all is that this country is currently so consumed with bitterness and spite and hatred that a lot of people out there will have considered everything I’ve said above and they’ll still be thinking:


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