Europe gets Google’s ‘Reject All’ button for Tracking Cookies

Google is introducing new opportunities to reject tracking cookies in Europe after its current dialog boxes were found to violate EU data laws.

Before this year, France’s data protection agency CNIL fined Google €150M ($170M) for deploying incoherent language in cookie banners.

Previously, Google permitted users to accept all tracking cookies with a single tap but forced people to click through different menus to reject them all. This asymmetry was illegal, said CNIL, steering users into carrying cookies to the ultimate benefit of Google’s advertising business.

To fix this, Google’s new cookie banners provide clear, balanced choices: “reject all,” “accept all,” or “more options” (to exert more granular control). In addition, the new menu will seem on Google Search and YouTube if users are not logged in to an account. (If you are signed in, you can modify tracking options through Google’s data and privacy menu.)

The new cookie banner allows users to reject all tracking cookies with a single click. 

We’ve kicked off the launch in France and will be extending this experience across the rest of the European Economic Area, the UK, and Switzerland,” documents Google product manager Sammit Adhya in a blog post revealing the changes. “Before long, users in the area will have a new cookie preference that can be accepted or declined with a single click.”

In general, cookie banners remain confusing and frustrating for most internet users. Giving people the opportunity to reject or accept cookies was supposed to propose greater control over users’ data.

But, as the Google illustration shows, this can rely on implementing these options. For example, the European Center for Digital Rights (noyb), which campaigns for applicable cookie menus, says that 90 percent of users connect to accept all cookies, but only 3 percent like them. Changes like those accomplished by Google are small, certainly, but could allow a shift in this balance.