Vivaldi browser tries to end your cookie consent nightmare


Chromium-based Vivaldi has released an update with a new ‘Cookie Crumbler’ feature to alleviate the hassle of cookie consent forms that have plagued the web for Europeans due to its new privacy laws. 

As all Europeans know, whenever they open a web page they’re confronted with a message advising them that the site uses cookies for various reasons and then need to choose “I accept cookies” or “I refuse cookies” or, more often an option to “Manage Cookie Settings” or “Go to cookie settings”. 

Many people just choose to accept cookies just to get the dialogue out of the way so they can view the content they wanted to. 

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It’s one of the more annoying side effects of the EU’s 2018 General Data Protection Regulation and the earlier ePrivacy Directive. The latter directive required websites serving EU visitors to gain their consent before putting cookies on a visitor’s computer. Some US news sites simply block visitors from computers connecting from the EU.  

Vivaldi’s latest update, version 3.8 for the desktop, includes an early attempt to remove this annoyance within the Ad Blocking section of the browser’s Settings interface. 

Vivaldi explains its rationale in a blogpost: “Users are often required to click on multiple steps to manage such cookies, including hidden options, a dialog on every single page, or at times no way to deny them at all. Naturally, this makes for a frustrating browsing experience.

“This leads to clicking ‘allow’ or ‘accept’ without realizing that unwittingly users just gave permission for trackers to create behavioral profiles about them.”

Vivaldi, along with fellow Chromium-based browser makers, Opera and Brave, in 2019 defied Google’s effort to ban ad blocker extensions. All three browsers now have built-in ad blockers. Vivaldi offers its explanation for the move here

Google has since promised to drop support for third-party cookies by 2022 and recently started trialling its new cohort browser fingerprinting technique, FLoC — or Federated Learning of Cohorts — with Chrome users outside of the EU. Vivaldi, Brave and Firefox-maker Mozilla have objected to Google’s FLoC plans. Digital rights group Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) has branded FLoC a “terrible idea”. Microsoft, which makes the Chromium-based Edge browser, hasn’t opposed FLoC.   

Vivaldi users can try the new Cookie Crumbler feature by going to Settings > Privacy > Tracker and Ad blocking > Manage Sources > and enable Remove cookie warnings. 

“This will simply block the service that asks for consent, or hide the consent dialog, in the same way as it might remove a tracker or an ad,” Vivaldi said.

Vivaldi warns that the feature is not perfect yet. It relies on third-party block lists EasyList Cookie List and I Don’t Care About Cookies.

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“While Cookie Crumbler works on most of the websites, this is not a perfect solution, as there will be a few websites that use other tactics to obtain cookie consent,” Vivaldi says. 

“Please note that some sites may not let users in at all and may not work as expected as they actually require cookie consent for some functionality but you can disable the ad blocker in Vivaldi on those sites to disable the Cookie Crumbler.”

A Vivaldi spokesperson told ZDNet said it is looking at making the lists more prominent in the browser user interface.

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Image: Vivaldi



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