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What are cookies and why do we have to accept them?

What annoyance are you having to accept banners, do I really have to?

In breve:

  • The coffee industry spies on us on WhatsApp to sell us waffles
  • Cookies are not edible but, rather, they are small collectors of information
  • Cookies are not all bad, there are all kinds
  • The GDPR protects us, our data and our privacy
  • We can accept them or reject them, depending on how paranoid we are.

Approfondiamo.

“AOH BUT ALL THESE BANNERS FOR ACCEPTANCE HERE AND THERE, WHAT DO I CARE ABOUT THESE CUCKOOS”

Let's face it, we've all exclaimed it at least once in our lives and maybe in Italian or in a different dialect hahaha.

How hateful are all banners Alert me to accept the”cookies“, the privacy policy, the cookie policy, the terms of service etc., etc.?

Well, as boring as they may be, these cute banners do one fundamental thing: protect our privacy and our data.

It is well known that, on the web, there is now more data traffic than users. Each of us has a very personal “advertising profile” created thanks to the collection of data used, in fact, to send targeted advertising.

How many times have we heard from a relative, a friend or a colleague “aoh, last night I wrote on WhatsApp a mi moje de avè voja de na bella carbonara and here it is, advertising on recipes, eggs, pillows and restaurants. They also explain how much we are going to have access to.”

The explanation is simple, our dear Roman friend was the victim of a Tracker. The system runs a user profiling, processing data through a tracking system - often operating at the limit of what is legally allowed - and obtaining, as a result, specific and targeted advertisements based on the analysis of the user in question.

Obviously this is an extreme case - they say that WhatsApp doesn't spy on us but my grandmother doesn't believe it too much - but here is a concrete example to understand how profiling works: let's take Facebook and the Facebook 'like' button as an example. Its use, analyzed in the light of special algorithms, makes it possible to profile the users of the service, refining their digital identities and therefore, consequently, tastes, ideas and needs with which to offer targeted and effective ads.


But does all this rant have to do with cookies and obnoxious banners? Let's cut to the chase.


What are Cookies?

Cookies are a kind of digital identifier and are used by web applications for store and retrieve information in the long term, such as login and authentication data, or as mentioned before, to track user navigation, for example for statistical or advertising purposes.

In simple terms, A cookie is nothing more than a small file, stored in the web browser, useful for saving user preferences in order to optimize the User experience of the website, or to analyze and sell your data.

Examples of saved data:

  • Login and logout
  • Shopping cart in e-commerce
  • User paths within the pages of the site
  • Type of device used and demographic data
  • Technical preferences such as, for example, the translation of the head into a specific language

Types of Cookies

Far too simple as an explanation right? You won't think it ends here.

There are different types of these Maleficent Cookie which differ by life cycle, origin and use:

  • Session cookies, save the data temporarily and disappear when the browser is closed
  • Persistent cookies, save the data for a certain period of time, informing the browser of a specific expiration date or time interval in which it is not possible to delete them. They are useful, for example, for banners and alerts, useful for communicating quickly with site visitors.
  • First-party cookies, simply the cookies sent by the website and managed directly by the owner of the site itself (for example, I am testing a small persistent cookie that allows me to explain, to you visitors, how to install the site as a Web App on the smartphone, which expires after 100 days and which I probably already removed when you are reading this article. The site likes to change, like the stairs in Harry Potter).
  • Third-party cookies, therefore belonging to third parties and that send data to another website, typically used by user analysis systems such as Google Analytics (since 2022 Google has announced the stop supporting this type of cookie on Chrome, a few things will change).
  • Strictly necessary, necessary to enable the basic functionality of the website.
  • Marketing, used to provide advertising that is more relevant to you and your interests.
  • personalisation, which allow the website to remember the choices you make (such as your username, the language or the region in which you are).
  • Analytics, which help us understand how this website works, how visitors interact with the site and if there might be technical problems.

Consent banners

But then, after all this list of information, what are the use of these banners where every time we have to accept cookies in which, of course, we quickly click on ACCEPT ALL why the fuck are you banging??

As mentioned before, for the protection of data and privacy.

Since 25 May 2018, in Italy and in the rest of Europe, the GDPR (general data protection regulation).

According to the European Commission, “personal data is any information relating to an individual, linked to his private, professional or public life. It can concern any personal data: names, photos, email addresses, bank details, interventions on social network websites, medical information or computer IP addresses.”

For this reason, also Cookies must absolutely be treated as personal data and every website is obliged to inform each user of the way in which browsing data will be tracked and used (through cookies and privacy policy), setting up a system to allow them to give a explicit consent on the use of data by cookies; here is the reason for the very boring banners in which to “accept things”.

In short, a great cauldron of useful information to understand something: every time a cookie banner comes out, full of knowledge, instead of swearing, take a deep breath and very calmly click on “reject everyone”. Otherwise accept, at most you will receive advertising about parmesan eaten for lunch, whose flavors you have told your trusted friend on social networks.


As they say in Rome, what never throttles 'n'fattens.

Becca's stand out and if we catch her around the web.

P.S. I'm not a Roman, I woke up forced to wake up today.


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