The routine of clicking through numerous cookie requests on websites could become a thing of the past under government plans to change UK data laws.
It would see the country move away from some parts of the EU’s landmark GDPR legislation (General Data Protection Regulation) introduced three years ago.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the UK needed “common sense” data laws after Brexit, rather than ones based on “box ticking”.
He told The Daily Telegraph many cookie requests were “pointless”.
Cookies are small files that websites put on your device and serve a variety of functions, for example being the main way companies can serve up targeted adverts based on what other sites you have used.
The pop-up banners asking users permission for cookies when landing on a new site have become a familiar part of internet use.
Mr Dowden said the data law changes would benefit Britain and end “pointless bureaucracy”, reining in some of the GDPR requirements – which some say are onerous for smaller firms and organisations.
“There’s an opportunity for us to set world-leading, gold standard data regulation which protects privacy, but does so in as light touch a way as possible,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
The foundations of GDPR are that businesses need appropriate legal reasons for processing personal data and can only collect it for certain purposes.
However, UK ministers believe it is stifling innovation and creating too much red tape.
Also in the plans are efforts to establish new data partnerships with countries such as the US, South Korea, Singapore and Australia.
Law enforcement, scientific and banking data are among the information that could be shared, and partnerships with developing economies such as India and Brazil would be the next step.
Mr Dowden said these moves would “deliver a Brexit dividend for individuals and businesses across the UK”.
“That means seeking exciting new international data partnerships with some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, for the benefit of British firms and British customers alike,” the culture secretary said.
“It means reforming our own data laws so that they’re based on common sense, not box-ticking.”
New Zealand’s privacy chief John Edwards is the preferred candidate to head up the changes and become the UK’s next information commissioner, said Mr Dowden’s department, the DCMS.
The current commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, said the watchdog would help support plans but stressed the need for transparency.
“Data-driven innovation stands to bring enormous benefits to the UK economy and to our society, but the digital opportunity before us today will only be realised where people continue to trust their data will be used fairly and transparently, both here in the UK and when shared overseas,” she said.