New EU Cookie Law Smacks Of Windows Vista's Constant Nagging

Regulators in Europe have approved a new law that would require users to approve each cookie stored by their Web browser. Cookies are little informative tags that tell a Web site details about your last visit there.

EU Council
The EU Council chambers in preparation for a meeting in October, courtesy of the EU Council.

The law contains a caveat for cookies that are "strictly necessary," referring to those that help a user maintain an online shopping cart, for example. But all other cookies will prompt a barrage of pop-up approval dialogues, perhaps reminding users of the over-active super-ego of Windows Vista. Microsoft's new version of Windows aims to ameliorate the barrage of approval requests.

Windows Vista pop-ups

The law could also bruise online advertisers, whose ad modules collect click-counts and other analytical data that help to determine pricing. The Wall Street Journal suggests that the impracticality of the cookie law went unnoticed because of a "bigger argument" about a new "three strikes" law being considered by the EU Council. That law would allow authorities to punish peer-to-peer piracy by cutting off a user's Internet access.

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