The following article (preprint, under submission) was recently shared on arXiv.
University of Michigan
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect on May 25, 2018. Its privacy regulations apply to any service and company collecting or processing personal data in Europe. Many companies had to adjust their data handling processes, consent forms, and privacy policies to comply with the GDPR’s transparency requirements. We monitored this rare event by analyzing the GDPR’s impact on popular websites in all 28 member states of the European Union.
We categorized all observed cookie consent notices and evaluated 16 common implementations with respect to their technical realization of cookie consent. Our analysis shows that core web security mechanisms such as the same-origin policy pose problems for the implementation of consent according to GDPR rules, and opting out of third-party cookies requires the third party to cooperate. Overall, we conclude that the GDPR is making the web more transparent, but there is still a lack of both functional and usable mechanisms for users to consent to or deny processing of their personal data on the Internet.
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