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Digital Delights: Exploring Cookies

When browsing the internet, you've probably come across the term "cookies" several times. These tiny files have a significant impact on how websites work and interact with people using the internet. Although they are widely used, not all users are aware of their presence and the potential impact on their privacy.

Concept


Cookies, a fundamental part of the web browsing experience, were created by Netscape in 1994. Engineer Lou Montulli developed this mechanism to allow websites to store temporary information in the user's browser in order to remember their preferences and previous interactions.


Initially, they were used to improve the usability of websites, but over the years, cookies have evolved to play more complex roles, including activity tracking and ad personalization, raising questions about online privacy.


Cookies are small text files that are stored on the user's computer, smartphone or tablet when visiting a website. Cookies contain information about browsing activity on this site, such as language preferences, items added to the shopping cart, login data, among others.


Types of Cookies


There are some types of cookies:

  • Session Cookies: These are temporary and stored on the user's device while he is browsing the website. They are deleted when the browser is closed.

  • Persistent Cookies: They remain stored even after the browser is closed. They have a set expiration date and are used to remember information about the user on future visits.

  • First Party Cookies: These are set by the website the user is visiting and can only be read by that same website.

  • Third Party Cookies: These are defined by domains other than the website the user is visiting. They are commonly used by advertising and analytics companies to track user behavior across various websites.

  • Necessary Cookies: Essential for the basic functioning of the website, allowing access to resources and secure areas.

  • Performance Cookies: Collect information about how users interact with the website, helping to improve its functionality and performance.

  • Functionality Cookies: They store user preferences, such as language or region, to personalize the browsing experience.

  • Advertising Cookies: These are used to display relevant ads to the user based on their interests and browsing history.

  • Tracking Cookies: Allow user monitoring on different websites, creating behavioral profiles to target specific ads.

Why are cookies important?


Cookies bring benefits to both users and the websites that use them. Here are some of the reasons why they matter:

  1. Website analysis and improvements: Cookies are usually applied to collect information about how users interact with the website. In this process, data such as pages visited, time spent on the site and clicks made are included. The information is valuable to website owners as it helps them understand user behavior and make improvements to the website's usability and content.

  2. Shopping cart storage: On e-commerce sites, the existence of cookies is essential, as the shopping cart is stored through them. This means that users are free to add items to their cart and continue browsing the site or even return at a later time, keeping the items already in their cart.

  3. Authentication and security: In user authentication and information security, cookies are widely used. They help identify authenticated users and ensure that only authorized users have access to certain resources or information.

  4. Personalization of user experience: Cookies allow websites to personalize the experience of those who use them, with their preferences, language, font size and layout preferences. This makes navigation more convenient and efficient, adapting the site to each user's individual choices.

  5. Targeted advertising: When displaying ads targeted to users' interests, cookies must be used. They allow user activity to be tracked by advertisers and relevant advertisements based on your interests and browsing behavior to be shown. This action benefits advertisers, who can target their ads more precisely, as well as users, who are exposed to ads that are more relevant to them.

Despite the benefits of cookies, not all cookies are like this, and some raise privacy concerns. There are third-party cookies, which are employed by advertising companies to track user behavior across various websites. Therefore, it is essential that websites are reliable regarding the use of cookies and offer options for users to manage their privacy tastes.


Cookie Management


Cookie management refers to the process of controlling and regulating the cookies used on a website or application. With increasing concern about privacy and data protection, many regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and the General Data Protection Law (LGPD) in Brazil, establish specific requirements for use.

Management involves several practices. Below are each of them:

  • User consent: Before setting cookies on the user's device, it is necessary to obtain the user's informed consent. This is usually done through cookie banners or pop-ups that inform about the use of cookies and ask for permission from those using the device.

  • Cookie Policy: Websites should have a concise and accessible cookie policy that describes what types of cookies are used, their purposes and how users can manage their preferences therein.

  • Cookie Management Options: Users should be able to manage their cookie choices. This includes allowing or blocking specific categories of cookies, changing privacy settings or opting out of being tracked.

  • Duration of cookies: Cookies must have a limited duration and be deleted from the user's device after some time. This will ensure that cookies are not set indefinitely without the user's consent.

  • Transparency and accurate information: Users must receive categorical information about what data is being collected through cookies, how this data is used and shared, and what their rights are in relation to cookies and personal data.

Furthermore, it is important that those responsible for the websites and applications comply with the relevant data protection laws in their jurisdiction and that security measures are put in place to protect user data.


In short, cookies are information storage mechanisms used by websites to improve the user experience. Managing them properly makes online privacy safe. It is possible to manage cookies through browser settings, where it is possible to block certain cookies or delete them periodically. Furthermore, it is important to review the websites' privacy policies to understand how they use and share the information collected through cookies.


Do you like to eat cookies... I mean, did you already know about them? Leave your like and comment below!

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