Understanding Website Cookies

Almost every website you visit asks you to accept cookies, and typically we just click yes rather than taking the time to read exactly what the cookies are being used for.

Cookies are tiny files containing a small amount of data about the browsing in progress. These cookies are either stored in memory or on your computer’s disk.

Types of Cookies

There are session cookies which enable a website to remember each page accessed and your login. These disappear when you leave the website.

There are persistent cookies which remember user preferences and allow you to access websites without having to login again

Then there are 3rd party cookies and these are basically tracking your browsing for the purposes of advertising and marketing.

Advertising and Tracking

In most cases, cookies are useful. It would be annoying of a website asked you to login again each time you clicked onto a new page on the same website. Plus you do want that shopping trolley to remember what you’ve added when you looking for something new to add.

However, many companies, spammers and scammers use 3rd party cookies to track your activities.

If you prefer adverts that are tailored to your tastes then you might agree to 3rd party cookies but if you hate the idea of being tracked so avidly then you may want to deny such cookies.

By the way, in 2011 the EU decided that cookies were potentially a privacy problem and mandated that website owners obtain visitors’ permissions. This means the very annoying question ‘do you accept cookies’ on most website you visit.

  1. Should you accept a cookie request?

Session and persistent cookies help the browsing experience but it’s those 3rd party cookies that are the annoying and potentially intrusive ones.

Tips for protecting your privacy

Don’t automatically accept every cookie. You could even try to deny all cookies and see if it has adverse consequences, such as wasting time to fill in your personal details on a shopping site.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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