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Cookies – All You Need To Know

Updated on: March 31, 2020

Cookies – All You Need To Know

Article Summary

Bet you have seen a cookie consent bar when you visited a website for the first time. And many a time you must have clicked the “Accept” button almost as a reflex, without even knowing what cookies actually are and what powers does it hold.

Bet you have seen a cookie consent bar when you visited a website for the first time. And many a time you would have clicked the “Accept” button almost as a reflex, without even knowing what cookies actually are and what powers does it hold.

Cookies are small files or pieces of code which store information about a particular client or session on that particular website.

When you accept the cookie consent posed by a website, you allow it to keep track of your actions on the website. Now, inevitably the question arises, are cookies important? Are they good or bad?

Do not worry. With this article, we aim to answer all your queries about cookies. Just stick with us. But, before jumping to the question it is crucial that we learn about the powers of cookie first.

More about cookies

Now that we know, cookies are small text files which save data about a person, let us understand what the original General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR) policy by the European Union has to say. According to GDPR Policy,

(30) Natural persons may be associated with online identifiers provided by their devices, applications, tools and protocols, such as internet protocol addresses, cookie identifiers or other identifiers such as radio frequency identification tags. This may leave traces which, in particular when combined with unique identifiers and other information received by the servers, may be used to create profiles of the natural persons and identify them. Cookies help websites to retain their memory and customize the website for each client. It allows a user to see only personalized stuff.

Further, there are two types of cookies:

Session cookie

A Session cookie, as its name probably conveys, is a cookie recorded only for the current session and is automatically erased when you step out of the website. It is also known as “Transient Cookie”.

Persistent cookie

A Persistent cookie is a cookie which gets stored in your PC hard drive. And retains until you manually delete them or it expires. This cookie is also known as “Permanent cookies”.

Are Cookies Important?

It sure is. Very. Both for the websites and website visitors.

Many websites can not even run without cookies. And the others need cookies to make things easier for them. The website’s concern here is to tailor the website according to the visitor’s prerecorded preference. Cookies are the reason that “recently viewed” “Last activity” etc are available on the site. This also helps it in throwing relevant ads at the visitor. In simpler words, with cookies in the store, a website remembers the visitor.

On the other hand, the visitor wants to see stuff only of his choice. Any random stuff can irk him to the point of ditching the website and going on another. Thus, Cookies help saves his time and effort to find the things he was looking for.

For web owners, being GDPR compliant is mandatory. A study has it that – websites had to pay over €359 million in major GDPR fines. Quoting this extensive GDPR statistics compilation,

27% of companies spent over half a million dollars to become GDPR compliant.

Are Cookies Good or Bad?

Now, it is really hard to say if cookies are good or bad. Further, it depends on different websites how they are making use of consented cookies. So, many websites pass on cookie details to other websites, which in turn could burden you with ads that you don’t wanna see. Obviously, this practice is bad and quite frightening if you see. It’s like being stalked and harassed on the online space. The article GDPR & Cookies by Cookiebot explains this as,

The problem with cookies is both one of privacy – what is being registered? – and one of transparency – who is tracking you, for what purpose, where does the data go, and for how long does it stay?

As much as this thought scares you, it still doesn’t qualify us to judge cookies negatively, for cookies also saves time and effort for each online experience. Even Astra uses cookies with a fair policy, moreover, it also facilitates the GDPR for website owners using Astra by only copying a code snippet.

Astra's cookie bar

Conclusion

What should we then do with the cookie consent? Should we accept every consent on the web or should we ban it altogether?

Well, the answer is to read the policy. You can view this comprehensive infographic – Data Protection by the European Union on GDPR policy.

To smoothen out your web experience, cookies are necessary. But, you have to make sure it is compliant with the GDPR policy, or you can always disable the third-party cookies for keeping your privacy and peace intact.

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Aakanchha Keshri

Aakanchha is a technical writer and a cybersecurity enthusiast. She is an avid reader, researcher, and an active contributor to our blog and the cybersecurity genre in general. To date, she has written over 200 blogs for more than 60 domains on topics ranging from technical to promotional. When she is not writing or researching she revels in a game or two of CS: GO.

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