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‘I Don’t Care About Cookies’ extension sold to Avast

The lone developer of anti-cookie-warning browser add-on “I Don’t Care About Cookies” has sold it to Avast, resulting in both concern – and new forks.

Web users the world over have been suffering under the well-intentioned but ill-advised EU cookie law for a decade now. As a result, websites pester with warnings to get us to consent to cookies, and if you don’t consent, they have no way to record that fact and so pester you every visit.

Enter I don’t care about cookies, a handy browser extension by Croatian developer Daniel Kladnik. IDCAC, available for pretty much every web browser out there, automatically dismisses cookie warnings. You can tweak its settings if you want, but it automatically accepts the minimal cookies for the site to work.

We suspect that such blanket acceptance might be a hardcore privacy activist’s nightmare, but for many of us it’s a small but welcome improvement: on the majority of sites, you never see cookie warnings any more, and a small daily irritation vanishes. Whenever the add-on was updated, it generated a reminder page soliciting donations, but that was a very small inconvenience compared to the one it banished.

But no more, because Kladnik has now sold his handiwork. He describes the buyer as “a famous and trustworthy IT company” – antivirus flogger Avast. Located in Prague, a half-hour bike ride from Vulture Towers Central Europe, Avast previously bought its Brno-based neighbor AVG, mere months after this vulture left the latter’s employ.

Avast itself is on the verge of being bought by Norton LifeLock, which is the part of Symantec owned by Broadcom. (Veritas, the other part, was sold to the Carlyle Group.)

If this complex series of acquisitions, spinoffs and mergers leaves you confused, you are not alone. The formerly one-man IDCAC extension will soon be a tiny part of the increasingly sprawling Broadcom empire. Avast itself is no stranger to security concerns, notably its controversial, and now discontinued Jumpshot browser extension.

IDCAC is a browser extension, meaning that it’s a relatively small Javascript applet. It was already open source, and Dutch developer Guus van der Meer has produced a fork. It looks like others may yet follow it.

Browser cookies are fairly harmless things, and until the law came in, their main relevance to most of us was as something that system-cleanup programs could use to boost their claims about how much clutter they were removing. If it wasn’t for the law making warnings so intrusive, we suspect most people wouldn’t care.

If Avast continues to offer the extension for free, and you’re happy to trust the company, this flurry of attention may prove beneficial – and if you don’t, we suspect that free alternatives will probably start appearing in various browsers’ extensions stores very soon. ®