Businesses are being advised by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to avoid using website designs that compel users to share their personal data against their will. The design practices that the regulators are warning against include complex privacy controls, default settings that limit control over personal information and bundling privacy options together in a way that encourages users to share more data than they would like. They argue such practices are detrimental to consumers and can weaken competition. For instance, they can prompt users to make decisions regarding their personal data as soon as they visit a website, from giving their contact information for discounts to relinquishing control over the ads they see through cookies. A typical example of harmful design is the lack of control over cookies. The ICO confirmed it will investigate the cookie banners of the most popular UK websites and take action if harmful design affects users.
A separate blog article by Stephen Almond, Executive Director for Regulatory Risk at the ICO and Will Hayter, Senior Director in the Digital Markets Unit for the CMA, discusses the practices in more detail.
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