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Privacy and Cookies Policy

I clicked on a link to an article by the Economist. At the bottom of the page, I received a notification for cookies policy with the choice to "Accept All" or "Manage." I click on Manage which gives me a popup that has the header reproduced below and a few choices like Advertising, Marketing, etc. with a toggle switch for each to turn on or off. The default is off. But it is not clear to me if I need to turn it "on" or leave it "off" if I do not want to consent to collecting my information for Advertising, Marketing, etc. I encounter this problem with a lot of sites these days. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

"Information We and Our Partners Collect About You

We and our partners use this information to improve the performance and experience of our site visitors. This includes improving search results, showing more relevant content and promotional materials, better communication, and improved site performance."


  • edited August 2022
    I've seen that a million times, too. I believe you should leave them OFF if you DON'T want to be tracked and processed and sold.

    If you just want to get rid of the distraction:

    I have it and use it. But it does not work great. I find that I have to click, and only PART of the item is removed. I have to click again and again, which removes just a piece of the distraction, each time. I suppose that's due to the way the f*****g computer code is written?
    *I don't "BLAME" the EU, though. The collecting and selling of my data is an unethical breach of privacy. I should not have to opt OUT. Neither should anyone else. Marketing geniuses.....

    Here's another one I just found. It's not really pertinent to your particular issue:
  • It may be better to select "Only necessary cookies" if you want to read the article.
  • YES, that's it, LB.
  • You may also want to configure cookie usage via your web browser.
    For example, you can delete cookies when browser is closed and also
    block third-party cookies (may cause some websites to break).
  • edited August 2022
    What I struggle with is none of the websites tell me what the selection via the toggle switch means. For example, does a greyed out toggle switch means I am consenting or not consenting to be marketed or use my information for marketing. The default in the pop-up is always greyed out, with the ability to move the switch to a green. By not labelling what a grey and a green means, they make it difficult to make a choice. When confronted with this type of ambiguity, I exit the website and do not go back to it.

    P.S.: In my previous post, I used the words "on" and "off". The switch actually is not labelled; it only offers a grey and green choices to select from. If they want us to make an informed choice, they would write clearly what the choices mean. Currently, the Economist website only has a single word, like Advertising, with a toggle switch next to it.
  • Yes, same here. I'm "assuming" that the "grayed-out" means "no", but I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that I'm wrong on that.
  • edited August 2022

    If you are inclined to worry, never browse the net logged into any service from google, facebook, amazon, Linked in, etc.

    Use an old-fashioned browser like firefox. It has lots of privacy features. Get an add-on like Privacy Badger. Try using an alternative search like DuckDuckGo.

    Many times you can turn turn the pop-up off without answering their questions.

  • edited August 2022
    I went to the Economist website and clicked on Manage in the "Information We and Our Partners Collect About You" window. The toggle switches for Advertising, Analytics, Marketing, and Functional were in the left position and they were greyed out. Therefore these particular cookies are not enabled by default.
    Here's more info regarding The Economist Group's cookie policy.
  • I work in Tech and am very familiar with how cookies work. While above suggestions on how best to manage privacy settings are reasonable and I don't mean to be Debbie Downer the sad reality is that the notion of complete privacy when on web is near impossible. Websites can (and do) basically build a profile of your browsing habits no matter how you surf the web.

    The Tor browser is a good way to stay as private as possible because of the way the Tor tech works -- basically every webpage request you make is routed through a series of other servers to mask the IP address of the original requester. But Tor won't work on all sites and one has to have faith that the chain through which your request is being fulfilled isn't monetizing.

    The issue here is the inherent weakness in the foundations of the web. Users have become accustomed to "free" but nothing is really free. There are real costs to managing and serving web content(labor, hardware, etc..) The old saw of "free" web always applies -- if you aren't paying for the product, you are...

  • I went to the Economist website and clicked on Manage in the "Information We and Our Partners Collect About You" window. The toggle switches for Advertising, Analytics, Marketing, and Functional were in the left position and they were greyed out. Therefore these particular cookies are not enabled by default.
    Here's more info regarding The Economist Group's cookie policy.

    Thanks for looking into this. Any guess / thoughts on how to use the "Apply and Exit" and "Accept All" buttons at the bottom of the pop up if I do not want to enable those cookies and why the "Accept All" is highlighted when all the toggle switches were greyed out?

    I am trying to learn this schematic in the hope I can use this knowledge at other sites as well.
  • On a related note, GDPR and cookie choices is all good stuff but the tech cos, publishers and advertisers are light years ahead of the regulations.

    As long as there are eyeballs on the web consuming any kind of web content, advertisers and tech cos will find ways to deliver personalized ads. The business model of the internet as currently structured does not work without personal ads.

    I don't like the Nike shoe following me everywhere so this isn't a defense of the system, just stating the facts here.

  • I am not trying to pass a judgement on the state of affairs but trying to learn the lay of the land so I am not walking with my eyes closed. I am fine with the content providers showing ads on the page I visit but I prefer not to have my information shared with anybody else by the content provider if that works for them.
  • edited August 2022
    onetrust is a popular cookie consent management tool. While OT provides templates and language ootb, customers can customize how the cookie choices are presented to end users.

    Unfortunately there isn't any standardized way in which publishers present consent choices to consumers. Some publishers are genuine in giving true choice to the consumer, many are just checking a box and some unfortunately intentionally play word smith games intended to confuse rather than illuminate.

    The goal of many publishers is pretty obvious -- get the consumer to give up and click on the Accept All button. The entire cookie choice system is not inherently stable because there are variations in the controls presented, words used and differences in the UX as you saw. Very difficult if not near impossible to learn a pattern on one site and universally apply it everywhere. And since browser history and settings have to be periodically cleaned due to malfunctioning sites, cookie choice isn't a set it and forget it type op.

    Which is why most users simply click Accept All and move on. Which pretty much defeats the entire edifice of giving choice to the consumer.

    Regulators don't live in the real world. In one of my prior jobs (managing a custom web app used by a high volume call center) there was such a staggeringly high volume of consumers calling in for extremely basic browser issues (easily a third or more of the calls) that one couldn't really help wonder how effective the rocket science of cookie choice really was. And these calls had absolutely nothing to do with the functionality of the web app itself. These were literally the level of "Is your computer powered on" type questions.

    So sometimes when you call tech support of a service provider, the agent will walk you through some really silly basic stuff -- you often wonder if the company created those support scripts 30 years back and forgot to update them for modern times You start wondering why the scripts are catering to the lowest common denominator which might be less than 1%. I've seen the other side and now know that the LCD is a lot larger than 1%.
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