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Researchers at ETHZ, create a cookie blocker because the choice of Internet users is not being respected

Researchers at ETHZ, create a cookie blocker because the choice of Internet users is not being respected

Three researchers from ETHZ have developed the Cookieblock web browser extension. ETHZ said in a statement that this add-on, which is available for Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Opera browsers, recognizes and blocks unnecessary cookies using machine learning and automatically blocks them.

The extension is able to classify cookies according to their usefulness: “essential”, “functional”, “analytical” and “advertising”. Users only indicate once what type of cookies they accept, and then the program deletes all other cookies, regardless of the cookie pop-up banners set by the site. These are still showing up, but they are getting outdated thanks to the browser extension.

According to the statement, tests have shown that the extension removes more than 90% of cookies that collect user data. In most cases, the tool does not have any effect on the work of sites. In less than 8% of cases, researchers found minor errors in “non-essential website functionality”. On the other hand, the extension disrupted the use of 7% of websites more seriously, for example with loss of identifiers. However, these sites can be excluded from the process.

Data protection loopholes are the norm

The researchers developed the add-on as part of a study in which they scanned more than 30,000 websites with cookie banners to see if they comply with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Specifically, they analyzed whether cookies were fully and correctly declared, before checking whether only those cookies accepted by the user had been activated. Conclusion: On nearly 95% of websites, researchers have found at least one problem that they consider a potential GDPR breach. More than 20% of the sites analyzed still use cookies that the user has explicitly rejected. In addition, 70% of sites have already enabled cookies even before the user interacts with the banner. “It shows how important it is for users to be in control,” says Karel Kubíček, one of the three researchers who built the Cookieblock extension.

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Reminder, Google is working on an alternative to third-party cookiesWith the aim of balancing the needs of advertisers and protecting user data.