What are cookies?
A cookie is a small file, usually consisting of letters and numbers. It is downloaded to the memory of a computer or other type of device used for browsing the Internet (smartphone, tablet, etc.) when the user accesses a particular website.
The cookie does not access the information on the user’s hard disk, does not contain software or viruses, as it is completely “passive”.
When the user accesses a website from an Internet browser, the website transmits information to the browser, which creates a text file. Each time the user accesses that website again, the browser transmits this file to that website. Thus, the cookie always notifies the website when the user returns to the site.
In general, the role of cookies is to ensure quick and easy interaction between users and websites. Cookies are also used so that users can easily resume their activities at the next visits to a website. Basically, cookies tell the server which pages should be displayed to the user, without the user having to remember the pages where he or she has browsed or to navigate throughout the site from the beginning.
Why are cookies important for the Internet?
Cookies are the core of the Internet’s efficient operation, helping to generate a friendly browsing experience, tailored to each user interests and preferences. Denying or disabling cookies can make certain websites unusable. Denying or disabling cookies does not mean you will not receive online advertising – but that the cookie will no longer be able track your preferences and interests highlighted by your browsing behavior. Examples of important uses of cookies:
Content and services adapted to the user’s preferences – categories of products and services;
Offers tailored to the interests of users;
Providing more relevant advertising to the user;
Measurement, optimization and analytics features – such as confirming a certain level of traffic on a website, what type of content is viewed and how a user reaches a website (eg, search engines, directly from other websites etc.). The websites conduct these analyses regarding their use in order to improve the websites for the benefit of users.
What are the different types of cookies?
A cookie can be classified by its lifetime and the domain to which it belongs. By lifetime, a cookie is either:
– session, which is deleted when the user closes the browser or,
– persistent, which remains on the user’s computer / device for a predefined period.
However, cookies can be deleted by a user at any time in the browser settings.
Regarding the domain to which it belongs, there are either:
first-party cookies, which are set by the web server of the visited page and share the same domain;
third-party cookies, stored by a domain different from the domain of the page visited. This can happen when the web page refers to a file, located outside its domain. Such cookies can be placed on the website and are referred to as cookies placed by third parties because they are not placed by the owner of the website. Such third parties are also obliged to comply with the applicable legal regulations and privacy policies of the owner of the website.
Do cookies contain personal data?
How can you change the cookie settings in your browser?
You can choose to have your computer alert you each time a cookie is sent, or you can choose to disable all cookies. Do this in your browser settings. Since browsers are different, check your browser’s Help menu to find out how to change cookies correctly.
If you disable cookies, some of the features that make your experience more efficient may not work properly.