Publishers consider “consent or pay” cookie policy – ICO

Some popular websites do not offer people a fair choice, the Information Commissioner's Office in the UK said.

After meeting with online publishers and advertisers, the ICO has called for views on “consent or pay” business models.

Until April 17th, publishers, advertisers, civil society, and other interested parties can express their opinions on the model.

The “consent or pay” mechanism allows users to choose if they want to pay to use a website and not be tracked or to use it for “free” – meaning that they’ll need to consent to cookies in exchange.

The ICO said that some publishers were considering a “consent or pay” mechanism.

“Meanwhile, our crackdown on websites that do not offer people a fair choice continues. We

have seen an almost 80% success rate in effecting change from the 53 organizations we wrote to last year. We are now preparing to write to the next 100 most frequented websites,” the ICO said.

Recently, Meta rolled out a similar subscription service to its EU users, who can either choose to pay €9.99-12.99/month to use Facebook without ads or continue using it for free, with their info being used for ads.

In November 2023, the ICO warned some of the UK’s top websites that they face law

enforcement action if they do not make changes to comply with data protection laws.

“Gambling addicts may be targeted with betting offers based on their browsing record, women may be targeted with distressing baby adverts shortly after miscarriage, and someone exploring their sexuality may be presented with ads that disclose their sexual orientation,” Stephen Almond, ICO Executive Director of Regulatory Risk, said.

Users should be given a clear choice of whether they’d like to see such personalized ads.

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