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All about cookies

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Fundamental rights such as the right to delete our personal data (the right to request for our personal data to be removed immediately under severe sanctions) as well as the right to portability (the right to obtain a summary of your data in a readable and comprehensive format) are reinforced in the framework of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) starting on 25 May 2018.

cookie

You have probably noticed that many applications are updating their terms and conditions, and therefore have to ask for your consent to use your data again. It is then perfectly normal to be interested in the web mechanisms that collect our data, for example, cookies …

What is a cookie?

Cookies are a text file generated by the server of the website that you have consulted, and stored on the hard disk of your computer by your web browser. It contains information about your actions when you browse online.

What are cookies for?

Cookies are used to improve the user experience, by remembering navigation information. You may wonder what kind of information does it memorized? What is this use for? Is it dangerous?

“No, cookies are not dangerous, they were created to allow the user to save time, and to make the browsing experience more fluid and easy.”

 

For example, on the user side, cookies facilitate the use of shopping cart, with the memorization of items you want to buy. They also allow to personalized the customer journey, depending on the preferences of items you have chosen, for example sorting by decreasing price, etc …

On the business side, it’s an excellent metric for websites, to find out which are their most visited pages, browser searches, and thus measure the effectiveness and impact of their online advertising actions. It helps to have a better understanding of the user behavior, while improving the communication around the products and services offered.

Here are some examples that illustrate the use of cookies:

  • Cookies can memorize passwords, to avoid retyping your password each time you sign in (and asking for a new one because probably you have forgotten about the old one …)
  • Cookies also store your navigation preferences, such as the display language.
  • Cookies analyze your online searches to improve the the accuracy of the target for every campaign or ad.
  • You have searched for “cheap flight tickets from Paris to Reykjavik”: cookies will identify the key words travel, and Iceland as part of your interests. It is more likely that the next advertisements that you will see is about activities to be done in Iceland.
The good news:

Most websites need to collect data and therefore have to validate the use of cookies. With the law on data protection, starting May 25, 2018, without your consent it will be impossible to collect your data.

Written by

Katherine Chambers