In May 2011 a EU directive was adopted with the goal of empowering web users with control over their exposure to cookies. The main issue is that 3rd party cookies allow users to be tracked across websites. The issue is that websites are often a mash-up of content coming from various services, each providing their own set of cookies. A service (a 3rd party) can thus track users across all websites using it.
In Slovenia I have participated in the process of adopting this directive into a local law which come into the effect in 2013. During this process I believed that the goal is good, and the law is reasonable. I thought that it handles technology well and with understanding, defining cookies broadly enough to be applicable to various tracking techniques and not just literally only cookies.
Maybe because of my participation and hearing all the arguments and perspectives I had a biased view, because once the law got into the effect a public outcry followed. At approximately the same time it got into the effect also in other EU countries which just reinforced public reception. Developers did not like that they had to do extra work and web frameworks they were using were not really helping them. It was unclear who will pay for that, especially because those changes were not planned and budgeted, especially for sites already made. To my surprise even developers who are otherwise outspoken about users’ privacy disliked the requirement of asking users for consent about cookies.
With recent NSA surveillance revelations many in the tech community started asking again for more decentralization and encryption of our Internet tools and services. We should build technologies which allow us to minimize trust and dependencies on others. Tools which allow each of us to self-protect ourselves. A new wave of such tools is emerging and while I agree that it is good that we have such tools, the question is if we want to live in such a society. In which society you would like to live? In society which is build around not trusting anyone. Or in society where you can trust your fellow beings and where we handle rare exceptions, misuses of trust?
When I look at Slovenia I see a country without a vision. Without imagination what would make the country something special. What would put it on the map. I see many great individuals with great ideas doing great things. But as a country? A small country lost somewhere in the middle of the Europe, without its own path, just following and responding to internal and external pressures. Not really in control of its own future.
Maybe it is because our politicians are corrupt, but maybe it is also because we don’t really want to change things. We don’t aim for some bright future, but would just like that it is “good enough”. We just want to survive. We don’t see the country as something which is ours and over which we have some control and which we can improve and improve until it shines.
So how do you want to see Slovenia in 21st century? For what it should be known? What should be those ways which would bring prosperity to it? We should do new things for that, as a country, we cannot just replicate others.