How to stop annoying cookie pop-ups from ruining your browsing
The road to hell is paved with good intentions – or, as you may call them, “pop-up cookies”.
The warnings have marked the internet since the EU has made them mandatory for most sites.
Lawmakers were understandably concerned about companies tracking users as they browse the web. Notifications are their attempt to protect our privacy.
Well, thank you – I hate them.
Nobody reads stupid banners, sites use dark patterns to trick us into accepting their worst terms, and pop-ups make peaceful browsing a distant memory.
There are, however, tools that block and circumvent the ubiquitous warnings of these trackers. Here are three of our favorites:
1. Super Agent
The great agent the browser extension automatically populates cookie pop-up forms.
After installing the extension, you choose which tracking cookies you want to accept or decline. The extension then automatically fills out the consent forms based on your preferences.
The company also promises to never store your data by default, to inform you of any action taken and to warn you whenever it finds a website that does not respect your preferences.
Consent-O-Matic takes a similar approach to Super Agent.
You can program the tool to automatically apply your consent choices to new sites. The open-source browser extension will then navigate pop-ups on your behalf, although it won’t work on all sites.
The extension was invented by privacy researchers who were fed up with companies flouting the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
You set your preferences once and Consent-o-Matic takes care of the rest. The 6 preferences you can toggle are based on the data processing purposes we found in 680 pop-ups (among the top 10,000 sites in the UK).
— Midas Nouwens (@MidasNouwens) December 24, 2019
3. I don’t care about cookies
I don’t care about cookies is very effective if your feelings match the name of the tool – but it’s not the most privacy-centric option.
The popular plugin automatically blocks or hides most cookie warnings. However, if cookies are necessary for a site to function properly, the extension automatically accepts the policy for you.
Not good enough?
There are tons of other tools out there that offer similar services, but these are the three we’ve found to be the most effective.
If third-party tools do not appeal, you can also block all cookies from your browser settings, although this may interrupt many site features.
Another option is to install a privacy-focused web browser, such as Torwhich does not store cookies by default.
Alternatively, you can endure the irritation until the cookies are finally crushed – which may not take too long.
Firefox, Safari, and Brave have restricted blocked third-party cookies for years, while Chrome is expected to phase them out by the end of 2023. Unfortunately, Google will likely replace them with another form of tracking – leaving honest developers to clean up the mess once again.