I’ll say upfront that I hate the European “cookie law” and I don’t really care if web site owners ignore it. In fact, the more of them that ignore it, the better.
The web sites that I checked were: Google, the BBC, the UK Government, Cookie Law (a web site about the cookie law!), Sky TV, The Guardian newspaper, Channel 4 (British TV channel), Ebay, British Gas, Microsoft, the Wellcome Trust (health charity), Virgin Media, Amazon, Natwest bank, EasyJet airline, the Daily Express newspaper, Santander bank, ITV (British TV channel), Cadbury (confectionary manufacturer), and Lloyds bank.
As soon as you visit any of those web sites, they store a number of cookies on your computer. Most of them are the site’s own cookies, or in a few cases they are third-party tracking cookies used by advertisers and other web sites. The sites that give you third-party cookies are: The Guardian, Microsoft, the Wellcome Trust, and the Daily Express newspaper.
There’s one notable exception: Ebay. Surprising, eh? No cookies from Ebay.
Having gone through all 20 sites I then checked to see which had left cookies behind on my computer. Here’s the list of shame…
So out of the 20 web sites I tested, none of which should have been storing any cookies at all, only three cleaned up after themselves: the UK Government, the BBC, and of course Ebay which hadn’t stored any in the first place. The rest were happy to leave cookies behind without my consent.
The shocking thing here isn’t that web site owners are flouting the law. It’s a stupid law and I don’t think anyone really gives a damn. What’s shocking is that thousands of companies and individuals have had to waste time and money implementing their cookie policies and annoying consent pop-ups, and for what? To avoid breaking a law that is clearly so stupid that it isn’t even being enforced.