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What are cookies?

Cookies are small text files that are created by websites you visit and stored on your computer.

They help websites remember important information about you. For example, if you’re on a website adding items to a shopping cart, and you leave the website, a cookie will store information about you, so that the next time you arrive at that site, your shopping cart will have the items you previously added to it

Usually a cookie can only be access by the website that created it.

What’s the concern about Cookies?

Although cookies can only be accessed by the website that created them, there are a number of technical ways to share cookies between sites. This means that some websites can track a user across the internet. A common example of this is in advertising. Advertising networks use cookies to build a profile of you, and show you relevant products and services.

What are Smart Cookies?

Smart Cookies are a type of technology that allows a cookie to be shared between a website.

They were developed by PrivacyTrust to help users set their own privacy preferences once, and then be used on other websites.

What is a secure cookie?

A secure cookie is a technical classification for a cookie. These cookies are secure in the sense that they cannot be accessed via Javascript.

This means that only the server they were set on can access them, making them more secure than normal cookies and more resistant to XSS attacks.

Cookie Types

There are the following main types of cookies:

Critical

Critical Cookies are required for a site to function. They perform a task or operation without which a site’s performance would be compromised.

Functional Cookies

Functional Cookies help a site work well, they enable additional features which can make the user experience better.

Analytical Cookies

Analytical cookies are used to determine usage of a site, they may track an individual users, but only to the extent to allow a users journey through the site. They are not used for targeting adverts (see Marketing Cookies).

Social Cookies

Social Cookies are a new class of cookie. They are set by Social Media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube, when you view or use embedded media. An example would be a cookie set by YouTube to measure views of an embedded video.

These cookies can sometimes track your activities and so are closely related to advertising cookies. However, disabling them may result in you not being able to view the embedded content.

Marketing Cookies

Marketing cookies are used to target advertising to a user (behavioural targeting). They are often served by third party companies, and track a user across websites.