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Five EU Countries Taken To Court For Failing To Implement Cookie Law 130

Posted by samzenpus
from the time-out dept.
concertina226 writes "The European Commission announced on Thursday that it has asked the European Court of Justice to impose fines on Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia for not transposing binding telecoms rules into their national laws. The official deadline for doing so was 25 May last year. These telecoms rules are aimed at protecting users' privacy online. They also require companies to notify users about any data breach without undue delay and to allow customers to switch fixed or mobile phone operators without changing their phone number, within one working day. But the main sticking point in the telecoms package appears to be the requirement for Web companies to obtain 'explicit consent' from Internet users before storing cookies."
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Five EU Countries Taken To Court For Failing To Implement Cookie Law

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  • Not the Netherlands (Score:3, Informative)

    by pahles (701275) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:42AM (#40177913)
    The Netherlands won't get fined because they ensured Neelie Kroes of the EC they will transpose the rules: http://www.nu.nl/internet/2823753/nederland-ontloopt-nipt-europese-telecomboete.html [www.nu.nl] (in Dutch).
    • Ensured? (Score:4, Informative)

      by IAmGarethAdams (990037) on Friday June 01, 2012 @07:50AM (#40178749)

      You keep using that word. I do not think it means, what you think it means.

      On a more helpful note I think "assured" was what you were looking for.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by mcgrew (92797) *

        Whoever modded that informative post "overrated" is one of the aliterates who don't understand that sometimes a misspelling can completely change the meaning of a sentence, as the GP did. The parent clarified the GP and should have been modded up.

        Whoever modded the parent "overrated", waste some points on this comment so you don't have them do make any more bad moderations. Or better yet, JUST STOP MODERATING.

        Dew knot truss yore spill checker.

      • by pahles (701275)

        Thanks for the helpful note. My English is not perfect (I'm Dutch, as you may have noticed), I learned something today!

        BTW:

        You keep using that word.

        Keep using? Where? (just curious)

      • by fearlezz (594718)

        That's probably because assure [google.com] and ensure [google.com] both translate to "verzekeren" in Dutch.

  • leave the EU (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:46AM (#40177931)

    The correct solution is to leave that horribly mutated experiment.

    1) These rules are pointless - session cookies per se are of no consequence, but retention of vast amounts of data by Google & co. is;
    2) Retention of data for government purposes is an especial threat, yet the EU promotes this rather than restricting it.

    The EU has failed. It has turned into a method for economic domination by Germany and, to a lesser extent, France. Iceland rightly outright avoided the effects of financial subjugation, Greece should take the opportunity to do so right now, and so over the years should any other nation which values its sovereignty.

    • Re:leave the EU (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hognoxious (631665) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:06AM (#40177995) Homepage Journal

      Greece borrows a fuckton of money, pisses it up the wall and then throws a massive sulk when asked to pay it back. Meanwhile Germany makes stuff that people want to buy.

      Just who's being subjugated here?

      • by Thanshin (1188877) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:26AM (#40178071)

        Greece borrows a fuckton of money, pisses it up the wall and then throws a massive sulk when asked to pay it back.

        I think the sulk is not even for having to pay it back but for being required to follow a number of rules that might make them stop pissing more fucktons of money up the wall.

        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          Sorry to break-up your 5 minutes hate, but this is how unions work. The rich states subsidize the poor states. In the U.S. that means the rich east/west coasts subsidize the poorer middle, and when a state like California needs a bailout the private central bank prints wads of dollars to help them out.

          In the EU it means the center subsidizes the southeast periphery, and when a state like Greece needs a bailout the ECB prints wads of euros to help them out.

          Welcome Europeans. You're now just like Americans

          • Welcome Europeans. You're now just like Americans - part of one gigantic whole rather than individual states.

            Well, not just like Americans. Our founders had the sense not to attempt to create a fiscal union without an accompanying political one.

      • Re:leave the EU (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Iskender (1040286) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:49AM (#40178143)

        Greece borrows a fuckton of money, pisses it up the wall and then throws a massive sulk when asked to pay it back. Meanwhile Germany makes stuff that people want to buy.

        The past Greek governments have done a terrible job and now the country suffers for it - this is undoubtedly true. It is also true that the German economy has been much better.

        However, Germany has benefited enormously from sharing a currency with them. Being one of the world's largest exporters, they benefit from a relatively weak currency. If they had their own currency now they would be like Switzerland - a safe haven in the crisis, with a very strong currency and problems with exports.

        But currently the problems in the other countries devalue the euro, meaning Germany gets to export at great prices. Meanwhile the crisis-hit euro countries have an over-valued currency, and they can't do anything about it. Basically, Germany gets a huge boost for free and pretends it's all due to working hard.

        Germany is resisting money-printing and collective eurobonds which would give the crisis-hit countries an opportunity to grow again. They want the others to sort their own things out - but if the others run out of options and crash, Germany might end up wishing they had done something.

        FWIW I'm in one of the rich and balanced euro countries. Doesn't matter, I still think we need something else than "tough love" to solve this.

        • Re:leave the EU (Score:4, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2012 @06:07AM (#40178199)

          I agree 100%. It's worth adding that the bailouts that greece/ireland etc have recieved are being used to pay back (largely) french and german banks and bondholders. The bailout will then be repaid by greek/irish taxpayers.

          Be in no illusion. This is not a bailout of the Greeks, but of rich German bondholders. This is why the Greeks are protesting.

          • Re:leave the EU (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Viol8 (599362) on Friday June 01, 2012 @06:15AM (#40178231)

            The greeks didn't protest when all the money was loaned to them in the first place so they could go on a massive public sector spending binge and buy the fast cars and beachfront villas. Now its somehow the fault of the organisations who loaned it that the greedy tax dodging greeks are in this mess because they didn't understand Economics 101?? On yer bike pal.

        • by Viol8 (599362) on Friday June 01, 2012 @06:09AM (#40178203)

          "But currently the problems in the other countries devalue the euro, meaning Germany gets to export at great prices."

          Which means that greece could also export at great prices if they actually bothered to produce anything that anyone wanted.

          "Basically, Germany gets a huge boost for free and pretends it's all due to working hard"

          Rubbish - it is due to working hard. Meanwhile the greeks don't bother to pay their taxes then whine abd bitch like little children when finally it all goes t1ts up.

          No sympathy. The greeks made their bed , well its time to lie down.

          • by Ogi_UnixNut (916982) on Friday June 01, 2012 @07:09AM (#40178461) Homepage

            "But currently the problems in the other countries devalue the euro, meaning Germany gets to export at great prices."

            Which means that greece could also export at great prices if they actually bothered to produce anything that anyone wanted.

            Easier said then done, there is a lot of marketing behind Germany, along with a lot of positive stereotypes about their engineering quality, etc....
            When people think Germany, the think high quality engineering, studious and stable country, well educated workforce, beer and sausages.
            When people think Greece, they think ancient ruins, philosophy, beaches, hot sun, sea, holidays, parties and natural beauty.

            As such when people have a choice between a Greek engineered product, and a German one for the same price, an overwhelming majority would go for the German good, even if the Greek one is just as good (or even better).

            The Germans have reputation, which they built up before the EU due to being a phenomenal European power. They have had this reputation for hundreds of years. You can' t just create that for another country.

            I've known Greek engineers, I've known them produce stuff that was as good or better than their German counterparts. However nobody wanted to buy it at German prices. In the olden days it was ok, as the drachma was a weaker currency, so their goods were cheaper and they would get purchases from budget conscious buyers, who'd end up surprised by the quality.

            However once they joined the Euro, their costs increased to the same level as Germany's, and so they had to raise their prices to remain profitable. This made them about as expensive as the German goods, and their sales dried up. They were too expensive for the budget buyers (who buy from east-europe/China now) while those who bought and paid German prices bought them for their reputation, and would not buy the Greek product.

            As a result, they went bankrupt, and one of them ended up moving to Germany, where he now makes Germany money via his taxes. A net loss for Greece and a net gain for Germany, which is an inbalance that just grows with time.

            "Basically, Germany gets a huge boost for free and pretends it's all due to working hard"

            Rubbish - it is due to working hard. Meanwhile the greeks don't bother to pay their taxes then whine abd bitch like little children when finally it all goes t1ts up.

            No sympathy. The greeks made their bed , well its time to lie down.

            Reading this, I can't help feeling that I've just been trolled, and perhaps I have (in which case congratulations on Trolling me). However I will complete this anyway, as I've written most of it as is, and adding information to a debate is always a good idea.

            Yes, Greece has a problem with overbearing bureaucracy, and yes they have an issue with tax collection and corruption. However that does not negate what the grandparent poster said. He was spot on.

            If Germany was not in the Euro, it's DMark would be so strong, that their goods would be uncompetitive with the the rest of the world. They would also not have a captive market (in the case of the rest of the eurozone countries) which can guarantee some exports no matter what.

            Trust me, if the eurozone wasn't working out for Germany they would leave. They are not staying the out of the goodness of their hearts, or due to some old war guilt. The fact is that the German government knows what the grand parent posted, they know that they are getting a huge boost for free, they know that the eurozone is helping them immensely.

            The problem is that the status quo cannot continue. Germany has sucked up all the production out of the rest of the eurozone (barring Italy and northern countries) and countries are collapsing. So at this point either the EU integrates further, which involves some redistribution of wealth from Germany, by whichever mechanism is chosen (euro inflation, bailouts, etc...), or it starts falling apart (perhaps the development of a "Core" EU of stronger economies, with peripheries that can use a weaker currency).

            • by Anonymous Coward

              Germany has "lost" quite a lot of manufacturing jobs to countries with cheaper labor markets, for example in the eastern parts of the EU. Greece could have some of those jobs too, if they made an effort. The cost of products made in Greece doesn't magically go up just because Greece joined the Eurozone. They could still sell their products for less to stay competitive and build a reputation. Other EU countries do.

              Germany will not finance slacking countries more than it already does. Being in the EU doesn't

            • Sorry, that doesn't wash. Japan used to have a reputation for cheap and crappy products, now they are world leaders in high quality and engineering. Its not that hard to change a brand, just make better stuff.

            • by Shazback (1842686)

              Easier said then done, there is a lot of marketing behind Germany, along with a lot of positive stereotypes about their engineering quality, etc.... When people think Germany, the think high quality engineering, studious and stable country, well educated workforce, beer and sausages. When people think Greece, they think ancient ruins, philosophy, beaches, hot sun, sea, holidays, parties and natural beauty.

              Perhaps differenciation is to be looked into then? Finland didn't have the reputation of being consumer-friendly before Nokia burst onto the scene. It had a few industrial machinery companies that had a good business-to-business relationship, but the main players in Finland were heavy industry and natural resource companies. Was Sweden famous for simple design, efficient management and furniture before IKEA became big in the 70s? Was Spain considered an important fashion destination before ZARA spread like

            • The Germans have reputation, which they built up before the EU due to being a phenomenal European power. They have had this reputation for hundreds of years.

              Actually, no, they did not. All the stereotypes about Germans you've listed date to late 19th century at the earliest, and most of them are post-WW1 or even post-WW2.

          • by Inda (580031)
            Hard work my arse.

            I work for a German company from the UK. They employ two people to do the job of one person here. Their 'efficiency champions' reputation is complete bollocks. Their engineering performances are just as crap; if it's not written down in a manual, specification or procedure, they panic. They have no idea about 'getting the job done'; their flexibility is invisible.
            • by cpu6502 (1960974)

              >>>They employ two people to do the job of one person here

              That's because of a German government mandate. Rather than lay people off, the government chose to cut full time hours to 35. They have near-full employment but nobody is working a full week..... not until the economy improves.

              • by cpu6502 (1960974)

                -1 Troll.
                Nooooo... I was sharing a fact I heard stated on the news several times. The German government has a low unemployment rate because it has a policy of cutting hours, rather than laying off.

                • It is not a fact, it is bullshit. There is no such government mandate and most people in Germany do work 40-hour-weeks.

                  The management of some car manufacturers agreed with the works council that instead of laying off they would cut hours when the factory utilisation is seriously under capacity, but that's about it. It is neither a government mandate nor it is widespread.

          • by Hatta (162192)

            No sympathy. The greeks made their bed , well its time to lie down.

            No, the Greek elite made the bed, with the help of Goldman Sachs to keep it all secret. Make the elite pay, leave the Greek people alone.

        • Thank you for a balanced comment, I'm getting tired of all these idiots shouting about how irresponsible and "lazy" Greeks are. All this crisis has done is convince me even more how bad of an idea the Euro was to begin with. If it wasn't for campaigning by the only real opposition (i.e. the Left Party and the Greens, though nowadays that the Greens have gone more "center" and abandoned almost all forms of EU criticism, only the Left Party), we would be members of the damn thing as well. I really wish the Gr

          • I think it's important to separate two things here. First of all, yes, economically, austerity programs being pushed onto Greece are going to ruin their economy, and they're right in not accepting them. However, there's also no doubt that they are in their current position because of irresponsible governance and economic policies of their own, and in a democratic country the responsibility for that lies with the electorate as well. So when Greece insists that they have been wronged here somehow, and defy au

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Greece borrows a fuckton of money, pisses it up the wall and then throws a massive sulk when asked to pay it back. Meanwhile Germany makes stuff that people want to buy.

        Just who's being subjugated here?

        Germany banks got a huge bailout paid for by the rest of the EU:

        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-23/merkel-should-know-her-country-has-been-bailed-out-too.html

        Germany was also the sick man of Europe not too long ago, and they were helped out by the rest of Europe (i.e., the countries that are now having trouble). Of course Germany doesn't bother returning the favor now.

        http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/german-adjustment/

        Things aren't as black-and-white as you make them out to be. Too things n

        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          >>>Austerity has failed everywhere it has been tried

          It worked just fine for the U.S. Depression of 1921-22. The Congress made huge cuts in spending, thereby freeing up cash in the private economy, and ending the depression in less than two years. Fastest recovery on record. (Austerity also works on the personal level; cut your spending, pay off your bills, and then you have free cash for investing.)

      • by Wildclaw (15718)

        Meanwhile Germany makes stuff that people want to buy.

        Here states like Greece, Italy and Spain have been acting all nice and buying stuff so German people can get work. And then the Germans turn around and says, fuck you, we aren't going to buy anything in return. Instead we are going to try to rent seek you until you collapse.

        The exact same thing happened in the US, except you can replace Germany with the Top 1%.

        You can't blame those who lent and spent, as the production obviously managed to keep up in those years (and if there had been competition for that p

      • by manu0601 (2221348)

        Greece borrows a fuckton of money, pisses it up the wall and then throws a massive sulk when asked to pay it back.

        Did you really expect Greece to have the capacity to pay back with interests at 18%? UE law creates an economic battlefield, where the strong (Germany) prevail, and the weaks sink. Greece failure is not a bug, it is a feature.

        The interesting point is that Germany is strong because it sells to the weaks, therefore its own future may not be that bright once weak countries will not be able to afford buying german stuff anymore.

    • Re:leave the EU (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kergan (780543) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:17AM (#40178035)

      Err...

      1. Session cookies are key in allowing Google to track and store more data than it should.

      2. In France at least, the EC expressed concerns about the French government storing too much, not too little. So, not sure where you get the idea of the EU promoting police states.

      3. Historically, the EU has always progressed in times of crisis. The US got federalism more or less right two centuries ago. We'll get it more or less right soon enough.

      4. Unless the Euro breaks up (which I think is unlikely), rebalancing will likely occur through fiscal union, pan-EU projects (à la Ariane or Airbus), and increased (some already exist) subsidies from more competitive regions to less competitive ones.

      5. Actually, Iceland recently made news because it was at the EU's door, almost begging to enter, and rather eager to adopt the Euro. The part they got right, which neither you nor we did, is to lock up their bankers in jail after clawing their wages back. (And I'm confident we'll get it right too, eventually.)

      • 1. Session cookies are key in allowing Google to track and store more data than it should.

        Err, no, that would be persistent cookies. Session cookies are deleted whenever the browser session ends, so it makes tracking rather pointless. The cookies Google (and every other company) uses to track are set to expire years in the future.

        • by CaptnMArk (9003)

          This is not true anymore because firefox has stopped crashing daily long ago (I used to have script to delete
          cookies not on the whitelist at startup, but it's mostly pointless now because firefox has survived for weeks).

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by nosh (213252)

          1. Session cookies are key in allowing Google to track and store more data than it should.

          Err, no, that would be persistent cookies. Session cookies are deleted whenever the browser session ends, so it makes tracking rather pointless. The cookies Google (and every other company) uses to track are set to expire years in the future.

          So you always open your browser for only one site and close it afterwards? And never look at two sites at the same time?

          If you like it or not, the problem with cookies is something that can only be solved by law.
          There are some sites only working with cookies (mostly for stupid reasons), so you cannot disable cookies globally.
          Almost any site with advertising gives you a tracking cookie, per advertisement, so no browser will ask people to accept cookies by default as people will be utterly confused. And becau

          • by jez9999 (618189)

            If you like it or not, the problem with cookies is something that can only be solved by law.

            IIF you consider it a big enough problem to need legal recourse.

            Almost any site with advertising gives you a tracking cookie, per advertisement, so no browser will ask people to accept cookies by default as people will be utterly confused. And because any browser accepts them by default, sites can just add tracking cookies without many people complaining. So no browser can switch to "ask-before-request" as too many s

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Only solved by law? ..... Or, you know, some decent software and some effort on the user's part. I deny all cookies by default, and I've got an extension that lets me grant permanent or temporary permissions for cookies. That's a setting I need deal with only once (if permanently whitelisted) or once per session (if temporarily). Certainly not the mess that the default cookie handler in all browsers creates. That's why I haven't left Firefox yet.

            With temporary permissions, close the browser and both the per

          • So you always open your browser for only one site and close it afterwards? And never look at two sites at the same time?

            No, but I close my browser regularly enough that using session cookies for tracking is bloody stupid. Which is why nobody does it. The rest of your post is just more ranting about cookies, without addressing the distinction between session cookies and persistent ones. This EU law doesn't appear to distinguish between the two either, and is therefore, just as stupid as you.

      • The US got federalism more or less right two centuries ago. We'll get it more or less right soon enough.

        I think quite a lot of European citizens might well disagree with you here. This really isn't the USA.

      • 3. Historically, the EU has always progressed in times of crisis. The US got federalism more or less right two centuries ago. We'll get it more or less right soon enough.

        But most Europeans don't want any kind of federalism. Should the will of the people just be ignored?

        • by lordholm (649770)

          Many don't want to talk about the F-word, but on specific issues people (even in Scandinavia) are very much federalists. For example, if you ask whether they want the EP to have more power on the behalf of the council, then most people will say YES, despite this is very much the definition of federalism.

          • Even I would answer yes to that question, if the EU is supposed to have all the powers it already does have, then it better be handled by an institution where the people at least has a marginal say in what goes on, though of course the only people who have real influence are the capitalists running the show. Ask people whether the EU should have all the powers it currently has, and I'm guessing you'll get a completely different answer. I don't know of anyone but neoliberals in Sweden who actually wants the

            • by lordholm (649770)

              You are gravely mistaken about the neoliberals in Sweden, most neoliberals in Sweden believe that the EU is a socialist experiment, while the socialists believe the EU is a neoliberal capitalist experiment. This is obviously contradictory, but stems from the fact that the EU in some cases make social policy that does not suite the neoliberals and in some cases make economic policy that the socialist don't like.

    • First of all the cookies is only a single part of the recommendations the EU wants Belgium to implement, so insinuating that Belgium is getting fined about cookies is false. And as a Belgian citizen I applaud the EU involvement because there are to much conflicts of interests on our political level.

      Let me inform you about my country. In Belgium we have a duopoly. Belgacom [belgacom.be] (Belgian symbol) on federal level and Telenet [telenet.be] (Flemish symbol but ironically property of the American company Liberty) which was forme
      • As for Telenet is concerned: you can prie that 100Mb/s connection out of my cold dead hands. It's great value at a good price. Every time I go abroad (US & EU mainly ) I'm shocked at the bad performance of the networks compared to Telenet. I'm sure you're advocating more oversight and more competition and I sure don't dissagree with that. Just don't exagerate like that, it's not all that bad, trust me.

        Also, fellow "Belgian", the EU laws mentioned in TFA are planned to be implemented as law at the end

        • Just don't exagerate like that, it's not all that bad, trust me.

          You see it from a technical POV. I don't see it from a technical POV but from a view of more openness and competition. If I had the enormous profits influenced by a monopoly, I would also could keep the network up to speed. And when viewed against our neighboring countries (and not some backward country) the price/performance ratio is not that good.

          blame your socialist friends for fscking up your country, not NVA

          Typical reaction every
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I'd like to see the browser developers make this a moot point. Why not, when a site drops a cookie, have a dialog box come up saying

      this site is attempting to leave a cookie.
      o refuse this site always
      o refuse this site one time only
      o accept this time only
      o accept this site always
      X don't ask me again

      • by zrq (794138)

        The Ghostery plugin http://www.ghostery.com/ [ghostery.com] does that, and more.

      • by vsync64 (155958)

        This used to be the default setting in many browsers. It changed because people complained it asked them annoying questions, and site authors complained about users that had the temerity to refuse cookies.

        I was going to give you a screenshot of exactly that preferences dialog in Firefox to smugly help you do that, but it looks like the simplification Nazis ripped that out too. It used to look like this [intranet.cibm.ch].

        You can still configure it in, of all places, the "history" settings. Once you do so, it acts exact [imgur.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:36AM (#40178111)

    This cookie law does not require consent for all cookies. Unfortunately, the media, including Slashdot continues to carry this myth. This is the spin that the advertising industry is (successfully) putting on this issue...

    I requires consent for cookies that are not "strictly necessary for a service explicitly requested by the user". So session cookies are safe for example.

    Consent is mainly required for TRACKING cookie.

  • IANAL from Austria.

    Afaik explicit consent is not explicitly demanded by the EU. UK opted in to require this in their law. IANAL, currently in Austria it says that the user decision already happens through the browser settings. If the browser accepts cookies, so does the user and the government sees the problem solved.

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      IANAL from Austria.

      Afaik explicit consent is not explicitly demanded by the EU. UK opted in to require this in their law. IANAL, currently in Austria it says that the user decision already happens through the browser settings. If the browser accepts cookies, so does the user and the government sees the problem solved.

      Such a logical decision will never be accepted by the EU!

    • by the_arrow (171557)

      The same in Sweden. Though websites have to contain a notice that they have cookies, what cookies are and how to disable them.

    • by amw (636271)

      IANAL from Austria.

      Afaik explicit consent is not explicitly demanded by the EU. UK opted in to require this in their law.

      I'm not sure about the wording of the law itself, but the guidelines from the Information Commisioners Office (who are responsible for enforcing the law) implied consent is allowable; that's also how a number of organisations such as the BBC have implemented it, with a once-only banner informing the user and giving them the ability to alter the behaviour if needed.

      IANAL, currently in Austria it says that the user decision already happens through the browser settings. If the browser accepts cookies, so does the user and the government sees the problem solved.

      That would be much more acceptable; this has been argued for in the UK as well but the ICO have stated that this alone is not an acceptable solut

    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      If the browser accepts cookies, so does the user and the government sees the problem solved.

      This wouldn't fly because it misses the point of the directive. The point of it is to separate out "necessary cookies" from cookies that are there solely to track you, target ads at you, etc. The problem with browser settings is that there is no fine grained control- you can either "consent to cookies", and get everything a website designer can throw at you, or you can disable cookies and find key features of all sort of websites become unusable (everything from internet banking to e-shopping).

      I believe the

  • This law needs to desperately be amended to exclude all session cookies, cookies that help UX and analytics. The rest will also need a workable solution like using the W3C recommended DNT that is set as 'NO' to default currently. And if that is set and websites/the pervs in the house upstairs are still dropping cookies/tracking they should then have their backsides hauled to court.
  • by rossdee (243626) on Friday June 01, 2012 @07:17AM (#40178505)

    Bloomberg wants to outlaw cookies in NYC

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