Cookie warnings and Brexit / by Mike Hudack

Yesterday, while trying to buy tickets from my phone for Schoolboy Q at Brixton Academy, I kept getting full-screen and difficult to dismiss modals warning me that TicketWeb uses cookies. This terrible modal is necessary because of the EU Cookie Regulation

From the UK Information Commissioners Office, the office responsible for enforcement of the regulation:

You must tell people if you set cookies, and clearly explain what the cookies do and why. You must also get the user’s consent. Consent can be implied, but must be knowingly given.

The regulation is idiotic. Nearly every web service (and app) in the world uses some mechanism for tracking users and almost all those mechanisms use cookies. Tracking is used to provide utility to end users and also to make money. 

The cookie regulation causes a ton of damage, the worst being that I almost didn’t buy my Schoolboy Q tickets because I got about half a dozen cookie modals and they made me so frustrated that I nearly abandoned the purchase flow. That would have created about £75 in economic loss attributable directly to this regulation.

There’s an old Erwin Knoll quote that goes like this:

Everything you read in newspapers is absolutely true, except for that rare story of which you happen to have first-hand knowledge.

There should probably be a corollary: “Every regulation issued by the European Union is absolutely proper and correct, except for the rare regulations in areas in which you are expert.”

If the EU Cookie Directive is at all indicative of other areas of EU regulation then maybe Brexit has some sense to it. There must be an equivalent of the EU Cookie Directive in the Common Agricultural Policy and in so many other areas of EU jurisdiction. Maybe all of them.

And before you say that all regulation has its equivalents of the Cookie Directive and that an exited Britain would just introduce its own equivalents, let me suggest one more rule: the larger and less representative a regulatory body is, the more likely it is to produce stupid regulation.

Estonia probably has less bad regulation than larger countries like the United States, and the United States probably has less bad regulation than supranational blocs like the European Union. So theoretically a smaller and more representative state should produce less bad regulation and more good regulation, if only because those being regulated have more of a direct voice in government.

Which, after all, was the reason why America exited the United Kingdom a few hundred years ago.

PS: Schoolboy Q is awesome, and while I’ve never been, I hear Brixton Academy is too. You should go to the show so we can hang out and grab a drink.