Examining Cookie Notices

Due to European regulations, various commercial websites present visitors with banners that present information about how those sites use cookies. Additionally, these banners generally offer options to opt in or out of having different types of optional cookies set (e.g., those for analytics and/or advertising). Do these options provide sufficient control for users? Do they actually prevent all optional cookies from being set? The goal of this project is to investigate exactly how these function and whether they provide users with meaningful control.

Research goal: The overarching goal is to examine how these notices impact what cookies are set by the websites that use them. That is, are all cookies set before users can even interact with these controls? Or does this only happen after the user has explicitly granted consent? How do these defaults change as a function of the user’s location (e.g., visitors from Europe should have to opt in, based on current laws).

Relevant Documents: