I think that the cookie popup has something to do with an EU disclosure rule. They basically have say "We're using cookies for X, Y, and Z. If you don't like it, well, go someplace else."
That's why there's always an Agree button, but nothing else. I've been seeing those pop ups quite a bit, and we know it certainly wasn't the US government making anyone do anything that might possibly get in the way of profit or have even the slightest veneer of consumer protection, so I'm assuming it's the EU requiring these notices.
Honestly, they're pretty stupid. The only cookies that matter are the tracking ones, and I've yet to see a single one of those cookie Opt-In things disclose the laundry list of trackers stuffed in the page. For instance, Ghostery is blocking 14 items on slashdot. 14. 70% advertisement, the rest "beacons', "analytics' and ironically enough, 'privacy'.