This extension for Chrome can automatically disable non-essential Cookies

This extension for Chrome can automatically disable non-essential Cookies

Developed by researchers from Google and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, CookieEnforcer decides for the user and shows an efficiency of 91% when rejecting non-essential “cookies” when visiting a website.

The permanent inconvenience of “cookie” notices may have found a practical solution when browsing. A group of researchers has developed an extension for Chrome that, under the name of CookieEnforcer, reacts automatically to notices about “cookie” preferences and decides instead of the user, disabling all those not considered essential, according to Europa Press.

Cookies” have become the target of privacy policies and facilitate essential website operations. They also give access to user activity, either to personalize their experience or to monitor their behavior.

It is a legislated element, included in texts such as the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA, in English), in which it is stated that the user must consent to the use of “cookies” and be informed about their function.

This information is broken down in the notices on preferences of “cookies” when entering a web page, along with options on the complete acceptance of the same, the necessary ones, or even of none.

 But these notices present usability problems. Since it is not easy to interact with them, they are not always understood or displayed in several notifications. This complicates the right of users to have an informed control of “cookies.”

One proposal to resolve this situation is CookieEnforcer, an automatic learning system that simulates user behavior and instead decides which “cookies” are essential to continue protecting privacy.

This system identifies the notice of the “cookies,” the textual characteristics, the control options it offers, and its current status (selected or not selected). This can conclude which “cookies” are not necessary and disable them.

CookieEnforcer, developed by researchers from Google and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (United States), offers an efficiency of 91 percent when it comes to disabling non-essential “cookies automatically.” The developers have not yet announced a release date for CookieEnforcer.

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Cookies and user experience

CookieEnforcer’s development was followed by its testing as a Chrome browser extension with 180 participants. As the researchers explain, this system “reduces the time needed to adjust cookie settings on 14 popular websites by a factor of 2.35, without the need for any clicks.”

In a manual examination of the 100 most popular websites in the UK and English according to the Tranco list, the researchers found that of the 48 pages that displayed “cookie” notices, users spent an average of 3.5 clicks to disable cookies. They were non-essential. Even 13 percent of the websites lacked the option to disable these “cookies.”

In a further analysis of user behavior, the results show that 12 percent did not interact with the “cookie” notices, another 12 percent rejected them when they did interact with them, and 76 percent accepted the “cookies” of at least one web page.

The coded responses of the participants showed that the majority allowed “cookies,” contrary to their stated preference, “because of the forced interaction nature of the ad,” that is, because although they prefer not to be monitored, sometimes they do not. They have no choice but to accept.

Other participants also accepted “cookies” due to misconceptions about how these elements work. But, according to the study, none mentioned risk factors.


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