Ad Cookie Opt-Outs At the Ad Industry Level

I’ve recently started clicking through on browser cookie alerts to cookie management pages that allow you to opt-out of tracking cookies, and noticed this at the bottom of the tumblr privacy page:

The industry links mentioned are to:

This made me wonder about when I click to disallow cookies from a particular third party on a particular website, does that withdrawal of permission only apply to the third party setting cookies in my browser on that particular website – in which case I have to try to make sure I set permissions against particular third parties on every website if I want to stop them tracking me, even if only occasionally?

Taking the cynical view (and not reading Ts and Cs that carefully…) I’m guessing that’s how it works. But presumably by opting out at the ad industry professional association level, I can prevent specified third parties from setting cookies on whatever website I visit (cf. telephone preference service)?

Anywhere, here’s what happens on clicking through the above links. Note that by taking this options, you presumably allow all the linked adtech companies to profile your browser, grab your IP address and then set a cookie to say “no”…

First, Your Online Choices from the EDAA:

Next up, the DAA. First they run a check:

and then give you some blurb:

Then you can try to opt-out; not all opt-out requests seem to work though – I’m not sure where that leaves you?

One thing that would be handy would be a filter to show which sites are not responding to the opt-out:

Finally, the NAI:

Again, the opt-outs don’t necessarily all work:

Without reading any of the blurb, I assume you have to run this sort of opt-out on each of your browsers and/or devices?

But what happens if you opt out in the above cases, then unwittingly don’t disable an ad in the cookie control panel for each particular website? Or should those control panels respect  / reflect the higher level opt out? (This probably calls for some proper experimentation…)

However, the big ad-tech players at least know how to do cross-browser and cross-device reconciliation, for example Google Ads: About cross-device attribution or Facebook: About cross-device reporting, and picking just one of the ad-tech companies from the various opt-out lists, it seems like other players do too: Intent Media: Cross Browser User Bridging with Dynamodb.

So what the ad industry single page opt-outs such really do is find a way to enforce allow a single opt-opt that works across websites, across browsers, and across devices… Does the current service support that? (You can tell I’m not a journalist – checking that would make this more of a story…;-)

See also: Cookie Acceptance Notices and It’d Be a Shame if You Didn’t Receive the Full Benefits of this Website….

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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