In 2018, the European Union law known as the General Data Protection Regulation took effect to protect the data and privacy of citizens in EU member states. The intent was noble, but this led to websites prompting you with pop-ups to ask permission to use tracking cookies.
Even today, much to the chagrin of online users worldwide, you’ll need to click ‘yes’ on a cookie consent popup or customize your cookie preferences before you can access websites. What if, you may wonder, you can just automatically accept or deny these consent requests? You can. Just install and use one of the seven browser extensions/addons below.
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Not long after the GDPR was enforced, some websites started to skirt the rules, so they could still end up tracking you and collecting your data using a dark pattern design. Consent-O-Matic claims it can help you avoid these patterns and will auto submit your preferred cookie settings for you.
With iOS 15, Safari now has proper support for third-party web extensions that add additional functionality to Apple’s web browser. As for dealing with cookie consent pop-ups, iPhone and iPad users can check out Super Agent. It claims to be fast and secure, and it also lets you customize which cookies to auto accept or deny. It also has a warning feature that informs you of websites that don’t respect your cookie preferences.
I Don’t Care About Cookies
This extension claims it can remove cookie warnings from almost every website out there, which means no more additional clicking for you. Whenever possible, I Don’t Care About Cookies simply hides the popups. It only automatically accepts cookies if websites need them to function correctly. Or it may accept all cookies if it’s the easier option.
Consent Manager by PrivacyCloud
Consent Manager works by declining all requests for cookie consent by omission. That’s it; no configuration whatsoever. It simply says no to all tracking cookies. Your browsing experience may vary when using the extension though, as it has mixed reviews from users who claim it doesn’t work.
Ninja Cookie offers similar functionality as I Don’t Care About Cookies and Consent Manager. It will opt you out of non-essentially cookies automatically. The extension is free, but there’s also a pay-what-you-want premium version with a few more features.
The general-purpose blocker uBlock Origin already works wonders in removing intrusive ads from your web browsing experience. With a little adjustment in the settings, you can also include consent pop-ups to uBlock Origin’s list of annoyances to block. Just go to Settings > Filter Lists > Annoyances, and then enable EasyList Cookie.
Researchers from Google and the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed a browser extension called CookieEnforcer for auto rejecting optional cookies. It uses a machine-learning model to identify where the cookie consent popup is on a website, navigate through its menus, and figure out which options are optional and can be rejected.
The AI can do all this with minimal impact on the user experience, which is a godsend compared to the 12 clicks that the researchers noted are the average times needed to disable optional cookies manually. Sadly, this browser extension isn’t publicly available yet, with no release date for a general release announced either.