What are cookies ?
Cookies are small data files that your browser places on your computer or device. Cookies help your browser navigate a website and the cookies themselves cannot collect any information stored on your computer or your files.
When a server uses a web browser to read cookies they can help a website deliver a more user-friendly service. To protect your privacy, your browser only gives a website access to the cookies it has already sent to you.
Cookies remember the type of browser you use and which additional browser software you have installed. They also remember your preferences, such as language and region, which remain as your default settings when you revisit the website. Cookies also allow you to rate pages and fill in comment forms.
Some of the cookies we use are session cookies and only last until you close your browser, while others are persistent cookies which are stored on your computer for longer periods of time.
How are third party cookies used?
How do I reject and delete cookies?
Types of computer cookies
There are three types of computer cookies: session, persistent, and third-party. These virtually invisible text files are all very different. Each with their own mission, these cookies are made to track, collect, and store any data that companies request.
- SESSION COOKIES
Session Cookies are temporary cookies that memorize your online activities. Since websites have no sense of memory, without these cookies, your site browsing history would always be blank. In fact, with every click you would make, the website would treat you as a completely new visitor.
A good example of how session cookies are helpful is online shopping. When you are shopping online, you can check-out at any time. That is because session cookies track your movement. Without these cookies, whenever you would go to check-out, your cart would be empty.Ultimately, session cookies help you maneuver through the internet by remembering your actions, and they expire as soon as you close out of a web page.
- PERSISTENT COOKIES
Persistent Cookies (also known as first-party cookies) work by tracking your online preferences. When you visit a website for the first time, it is at its default setting. But if you personalize the site to suit your preferences, persistent cookies will remember and implement those preferences the next time you visit the site. This is how computers remember and store your login information, language selections, menu preferences, internal bookmarks, and more.
Persistent, permanent, and stored cookies are terms used interchangeably as these cookies are stored in your hard disk for (typically) a long period of time. The cookie’s timeline will vary depending on the expiration date. But, once that date is reached, the cookie will be deleted, along with everything you customized. Luckily, websites prefer to employ a long-life span so that users can make the most of their personal preferences.
- THIRD PARTY COOKIES
Third-party cookies, also referred to as tracking cookies, collect data based on your online behavior. When you visit a website, third-party cookies collect various types of data that are then passed on or sold to advertisers by the website that created the cookie. Tracking your interests, location, age, and search trends, these cookies collect information so that marketers can provide you with custom advertisements. These are the ads that appear on websites you visit and display content relevant to your interests.
Your privacy options: Blocking and deleting cookies?
Blocking and/or deleting cookies is a great way to improve personal privacy and prevent data tracking. And, while this method is not completely foolproof, the change will have a noticeable impact.
If you don’t want any cookies on your hard disk, then your best option would be to delete your cookies and then block them through your browser settings. Merely deleting cookies from your hard disk is unproductive since most websites recreate deleted cookies quickly, making them likely to just reappear the next time you go online. On the other hand, blocking cookies inhibits websites from directly embedding cookies into your hard disk. Modifying your cookie settings comes with repercussions: your online experience will change.
Navigating the web without first-party cookies can be difficult. Many websites require session cookies and persistent cookies to be active in order to view content, and, without them, you will not be recognized as an individual. This lack of recognition means you will not be able to shop online and you will have to reset personal preferences on all webpages you visit. Comparatively, blocking third-party cookies only prevents data tracking and targeted advertisements.