Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What, No Cookies?

    On goes the discussion of whether cookies are bad for you. Real cookies are bad for you, all that sugar and fat. Cookies on your browser aren't bad, but they get a bad rap for being something that invades your privacy. Cookies are simple files that are placed on your browser. These cookies contain pieces of data that uniquely identifies you.(1) "So the cookie on my browser has my personal information in it?" Umm, maybe 1 time out of billion would hold something unique about you. They hold a variable value that is sent in on any request to servers that come from site.

For example, if you login into your online bank account. You get a cookie, this cookie sets your session and tells the website that you are the same visitor as you travel along the site.(2) Good, right? I wouldn't want to login on every page that I go to on my bank site. In this example if you are banking at BankofAmerica the cookie would be set from a domain or, which is a First-Party cookie, because it set on from the domain of the website you are currently visiting. A third-party cookie would be a cookie set from another domain. A third-party cookie would include analytics and digital marketing cookies. Some examples would be Double-Click, Adobe, or Google Analytics.

First Party Cookie

3rd Party Cookies

This images above are so scary right? I thought I saw my social security number in there, but of course it doesn't.

    "Well what about 3rd party cookies, aren't they some outside company gathering information about me?" Yeah, but not private information about you, just what you are doing on the site. I explained above that it assigns a unique ID to the visitor and keeps the visit together. This is the same thing that happens with the 3rd party cookie. For example, Double-Click would set a cookie on your browser when you land on a website. They would track your interaction with ads or content on the website. They can use this information to form a profile for you based on that cookie value. These profiles provide analytics companies with details what type of content you woud be interested in and then provides the ability to show relavant content. Some think this might be intrusive to have a there actions tracked as they travel around the internet, which is okay, because all browsers give you the ability to disable cookies or block on 3rd party cookies. Doing this can cause some website to not function as intended and wouldn't provide online marketers with ability to provide you relavant content.

So cookies aren't bad you just need to be aware of what they can do and how they make the internet awesome. If you are still scared you can block them. If you want more information on cookies look on the internet :)


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the insight on the all the people concerned with cookies and privacy issues. I think it would be interesting to learn more about if and how how companies might combine seemingly innocent cookie info like you mentioned into more dangerous and obtrusive info when combined with other data about a consumer. Very helpful and interesting post.