What actually are the cookies in the browser?

 

A browser cookie is a specific code generated by a website which is stored in the web browser and contains identifying information and the choice of settings of the user. Most commonly this is being used to improve the user experience but is also used for serving more relevant ads.

In particular, one of the main functions of the cookie is that it preserves the state of the visit. For example, if you are logged in to a site - it will save the login session and the next time you visit the particular website you won't have to re-enter your password. Cookies may also be created by third parties other than the website you are visiting and are used to collect data, such as previous searches on the Internet. This information can then be used to offer more relevant ads which are related to the user's interests. This allows the use of marketing tools that help site owners understand the profile of their visitors (gender, age, education, interests, etc.) without having the specific identifying information about the visitor.

 

There are 2 types of cookies. 

 

Technically the difference between the two is not big - it is the way they are saved in the browser and used that distinguishes them.

First-party cookies

These are the normal cookies and are collected directly from the website you are currently visiting. They allow the basic functionalities of the site, such as remembering the selected language, having the login function on the site and other settings that make the user experience better. They are generally safe from a privacy point of view, as the collected data is not shared with anyone else and there is no risk of leakage for any personal information and identity.

Third-party cookies

The 3rd-party cookies are created by third parties which the website operator uses. The goal is to collect and share various internet activity data with giants such as Google and Facebook. This precious information is used to create more relevant ads when they target you. The same cookie is used in many websites and so tracks the user’s real-time visits to different websites - otherwise separate from one another as they are operated by different companies or people. For example, after a user’s search for a particular product in a certain site, this activity is tracked and then used to display an advertisement for a similar or the same product on another website.

This actually is what can be considered risky for leaking the personal data and private information, because all of your activities on websites that contain third-party cookies are being tracked and stored. Even though all of this data is anonymized there still is a risk of revealing the identity and your search engine history as well as your browser history. All of this data is shared with third parties like Google and Facebook for the purpose of serving more relevant ads. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that there won't be a leakage of information and the data is used only for creating better adverts.  

 

The public mindset about internet privacy.

 

Security and protection of personal data is a topic which is getting more and more popular and in future, we expect many more changes in this direction.

Increasingly, society is paying attention to the data security of users and what they share with third parties. Various legal changes have taken place in recent years, such as the GDPR in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act in the United States. This is why you see most sites having pop-ups asking you to agree to the use of cookies. According to European law, the user must be informed and to give his consent that he is being tracked by a third party, so any website that uses third-party cookies is obliged to do so.

The general public insists on transparency, choice and control over the information that people share on the Internet.

 

Why is the use of third-party cookies by website owners so widespread?

 

The majority of site owners collaborate with Google and Facebook, giving them access to the information they collect. In return for this information, site operators have access to all the important marketing tools and in-depth market analysis that have been developed by the technological giants (based on the mentioned tracked data). Such are the advertising platforms of Google Ads and Facebook. The most popular tool which is being used is Google Analytics. Most marketing experts believe that it gives the clearest idea of​​ the user's behaviour and their interaction with sites, so they believe that obtaining information about the visitors’ profile is of paramount importance for the analysis of digital marketing and successful campaigns.

Our position is completely different. We believe that the protection of personal information is immensely important for the fundamental human rights and therefore the site visitors should be anonymous to protect their privacy. Even if this means missing on the benefits of those so important and helpful marketing tools.

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