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Euro Privacy Group Aims To Crumble “Cookie Terror”

A European privacy group is issuing more than 500 GDPR complaints in a crusade against what it dubs “cookie banner terror”.

Noyb, short for “none of your business”, has developed software that it says can detect unlawful cookie banners that do not give users a clear option of whether to accept or reject cookies.

According to Max Schrems, chair of noyb, up to 10,000 websites could be targeted for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) violations with this system.

“Instead of giving a simple yes or no option, companies use every trick in the book to manipulate users. We have identified more than fifteen common abuses. The most common issue is that there is simply no ‘reject’ button on the initial page,” he said.

Schrems calls out companies that make it complicated to click anything other than “accept”, saying that 90 per cent of customers are annoyed into agreeing with so-called “dark patterns” when only three per cent actually do want to agree.

“Frustrating people into clicking ‘okay’ is a clear violation of the GDPR’s principles. Under the law, companies must facilitate users to express their choice and design systems fairly.

“We want to ensure compliance, ideally without filing cases. If a company however continues to violate the law, we are ready to enforce users’ rights,” he said.

As noyb is funded by donations, it offers companies a free settlement option before it takes its complaints to the relevant authorities.

GDPR fines can be as high as €20 million ($31.5 million AUD) for non-compliance.

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