According to the BBC’s Web Wise Guide a cookie is a small file that is stored on your computer that is sent there when you visit a website. The cookie is then stored in the browser you were using to access that website. Cookies can hold limited amount of information and they track your online activity.
Cookies allow websites to know whether or not you have visited before which is why an individual may receive a “Welcome back” message when visiting a website. The cookie files are also why settings and preferences are saved such as the language someone wishes to view a webpage in and website login information. And cookies allow items to stay in your cart while online shopping. If the cookies did not keep track of the items then everytime someone clicked to a different part of a website the cary would be emptied and the person would never be able to purchase the items. There are a couple different types of cookies and they are responsible for different things.
First party cookies make websites functional, they are those cookies mentioned above who are necessary for information to be saved and necessary for e-commerce to occur. Another type of cookies are third party cookies. These are the cookies with more negative connotations as being the “tracking cookies” and the ones that people worry about. Third party cookies are used by search engines and advertisers who collect information about your online activity and send it to be analysed in databases.
Which leads to profiles being created and then allows marketers to target ads to certain individuals. Websites have both types of cookies and there can be many, many cookies on a page without the web page visitor even being aware that the cookies exist. But the cookies are there and are tracking what the person is doing during that browsing session. According to a Web Privacy Census conducted by Tech Science.org,