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GDPR — yes, we’re using cookies

It’s GDPR day today (or at least was when I started writing this article), which you already know because you get a lot of emails from websites you subscribed to — and forgot a long time ago.

I find the regulation OK because it requires mailing lists to add an easy, one-click opt-out feature. I welcome this idea because I’ve encountered some mailing lists where I couldn’t unsubscribe: there was no one-click link, no preferences page (I didn’t register to any website to get that news) but with time I realized that I don’t want to receive those emails anymore. Or I unsubscribed but the messages kept coming.

On the other hand, I find the vague description of the regulation bothering: everyone who owns a website can be held accountable for using cookies — even if you just include some libraries which use nasty cookies you never thought about. And in this case, you’re the one who has to pay 20 million Euros — depending on your local regulations. And in Hungary, the local authorities couldn’t manage to get their standpoint documented and released — even they’ve had 2 years for this task.

Fortunately, WordPress came out with a solution: they provided a template which I needed to read and edit where required. This saved me a lot of headaches.

Yes, we’re using cookies

Nowadays, every website uses cookies even if they don’t know. And a blog, like this one, uses a lot of cookies to give you the experience you desire. Here, at hajba.hu, we use cookies provided by the WordPress engine. What arrives at us is statistical information: what articles did you read, how you arrived at the site (actually, if you’ve been pointed to this blog through a search engine, and if yes, what keywords you were searching) and which country are you from.

Most well-established blogs base ads and content on this information. I am not so well off, so I try to work ad-less and never thought deeply about how to improve my content based on the countries I get visits from. I think, for a technology (ok, Java and Python) blog it doesn’t make much sense to create content based on the user’s location. Perhaps I should write better understandable English — but this is my third language so I bet you can understand me even if I write with a lot of grammar errors.

Life without cookies

For the company I own (not which I work for currently) I try to redesign the homepage. And while I am at this, I think about creating a cookie-free website. I don’t know yet if this is possible or feasible but I’ll try. I always liked the idea of minimalistic websites and I try to build this one like this. At the beginning of my HTML coding (back in 1999), I loved the idea of having separate pages for each language I support, linking to these pages with little flags. Now I’ll try a one-fit-for-all solution and have an SPW (single-page website). I’ll keep you updated with the results.

Conclusion

Privacy is a good thing. GDPR is a good try to enforce this privacy in a digital world. However, in my eyes this is just as good as an idea as Communism was — in the end, there’s always somebody who wants more. And perhaps, with this fine you have to pay if you do not conform, it will be the authorities who will end up greedy.

Cookies are driven by us, users: we want UX (user-experience) and there’s no other way to do this now — just with cookies.

Anyhow: keep in mind that we’re the driving force of cookies and don’t install software which tells you about the cookies particular pages store. It’s a lie just like the rabbit — and if these software know what data is stored in those cookies: they’re not better than those who collect your information.

Share the knowledge!
GHajba
 

Senior developer, consultant, author, mentor, apprentice. I love to share my knowledge and insights what I achieve through my daily work which is not trivial -- at least not for me.

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