Why it is essential to modify your choices while entering a Website
HTTP cookies, even though of great importance to the modern Internet, are also a vulnerability to your privacy. While as a necessary part of web browsing HTTP cookies help web developers provide a more personal and interactive website visit, they also let websites remember you, your shopping carts, website logins, and more. But they can also be a treasure trove of private information about you that the criminals may use to spy on you.
But what are Cookies? And how do they pose a risk to your privacy?
What are Cookies?
In their simplest form, Cookies are little clusters or packets of data. A web server passes these data packets through to the computer after you’ve landed on a website. The computer then stores the data as files inside the cache of the browser.
There are several types of internet cookies out there, broadly six major types:
- Session cookies
- Persistent cookies
- Third-party cookies
- First-party cookies
- Marketing cookies
- Performance and analytical cookies.
How are they dangerous?
Since the data in cookies doesn’t change, cookies in themselves aren’t harmful. Neither can they infect computers with viruses or other malware. However, there are cyber-attacks that can hijack cookies and enable access to one’s browsing history.
This is the real danger- the ability to track an individual’s browsing history. In this, it is usually the 3rd party cookies that are responsible. Third-party cookies allow advertisers or analytics companies to track an individual’s browsing history across the web on all sites that contain their advertisements.
Consequently, the advertiser can determine that a user first searched for, say, running apparel at a specific outdoor store before checking a particular sporting goods site and then a certain online sportswear boutique.
Zombie cookies are third-party cookies and are permanently installed on the users’ computers, even if they opt not to install cookies. They also reappear after deleting them. When zombie cookies first appeared, they were found to be created from data stored in the Adobe Flash storage bin. They are sometimes also called “flash cookies” and are extremely difficult to eliminate.
Thanks to international privacy laws, among which is the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the Eprivacy Directive, websites must do a couple of things before they can install cookies in a browser or device:
- Declare the cookies they use
- Get the user’s consent to use these cookies
Why they need to get the user’s consent comes down to the type of information that cookies can gather. Cookies can collect what’s known as “personal data” or “personal information.” Personal data is any information that can be used to identify you or your household. Examples include Name; IP address; Email address; financial details; Login details etc.
Global privacy laws allow consumers to restrict who has access to personal information, revoke the consent to a company holding the personal data at any time, and refuse to accept marketing and other unnecessary cookies that collect personally identifiable data.
- Why the cookies are being used
- Specifically what type of information they are collecting
- How do they use the data and  who are they sharing it with
- How to revoke consent
- How to delete cookies
There is always the option to make or not to make cookies a part of one’s internet experience. You can limit what cookies end up on your computer or mobile device.
1st Year LLB,
ILS LAW COLLEGE PUNE