Everybody is annoyed by the cookie pop-ups. But the regulation behind it, GDPR, and similar tech regulations by the European Union are actually a good thing.
The EU is the only major bloc that seems to prioritize consumer interests over corporate interests (unlike the USA) or government interests (China). That’s not to say that there isn’t corporate lobbying in the EU, or that the EU gets everything right. But it definitely goes in the right direction.
This counter-weight role of the EU to reign in late-stage capitalism of tech conglomerates is essential for the future of tech. If it were not for the EU, companies like Meta would shit even more on consumer interests such as privacy. Just the other week, Meta was fined €1.2 billion for illegally transferring EU customer data to the US.
More recently, OpenAI shit their pants and threatened to pull out of the EU if they regulate AI too strongly. This, of course, also exposes the blatant hypocrisy of OpenAI, a company owned by a big part by Microsoft; just days earlier, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman went before the US Congress to lobby in favor of regulation. It almost looks like they like regulation that would cement their market position in the US, but dislike regulation that they cannot influence and that wouldn’t advantage incumbents such as OpenAI.
For all the kicks and cries of US tech companies, the EU is too big of a market to ignore. No tech company will just pull out of the EU. They might try to come across as the big bad wolves, but in the end, they will shed their wolves' clothing, and we’ll see them for what they are, sheep.
So, when you get annoyed at the next cookie banner, remember that this is just one small, albeit highly visible, part of a web of regulations that is mostly doing good.