Your GDPR-compliant cookie banner is actually a violation of GDPR.

And so is your analytics platform. (If you’re using Google.)

And so is Facebook Meta. (This is unlikely to impact non-European targeting advertisers directly (if it were to actually happen) but the fallout, at least financially, from such a move could cripple Big Blue Infinity / Upsidedown Spider-Man Mask Eyes)

More importantly, this is another sign of the decentering of America in the digital sphere and the splintering internet. We essentially have two internets now: The West v. China. But these headlines could signal a Web Trinity: America v Europe v China.

To be overly reductive of the West v China split: the western internet is bottom up while China is top down. Wild west versus total control. This has been getting more dramatic lately with full blown tall poppy syndrome taking effect, as illustrated by the recent Tencent drops.

The US v (western) Europe division is more nuanced but built on items grabbing more (marketing / tech) headlines: privacy, competition, data sovereignty, and user experience. European authorities don’t want their citizens’ data in reach of US spy orgs (and no one wants it within reach of China) and they want privacy by default. The thorny bits are related to data handling for international tech platforms and the fact that privacy typically benefits incumbents since they get to keep their data locked up tight. And how does all of this impact the user experience of the web? (I’m guessing no one enjoys ubiquitous cookie banners.)

The ad-based internet gets a lot of flak; some of it warranted, some of it overblown. (I’d wager people will like depersonalized advertising a lot less than the current setup, remember ye olden days of banner ads?) Combining recent lawsuits in various European countries hints at a trend of making advertising harder while forcing the platforms that rely on it for money to pay for the content they make accessible (you know, because News Corp needs more money).

This will be an interesting space to watch over the next few years, especially if laws and regulations remain ambiguously written.