What are cookies and how are they used.
Cookies are small text strings that visited sites send to users’ terminals (computer, tablet, smartphone, notebook), where they are stored, before being re-transmitted to the same sites at the next visit.
The purpose of the cookie is to remember user actions and preferences, such as the browsing language, so that it does not need to be indicated again when the user browses from one page to another on the same site or returns at a later time.
Cookies are therefore used for authentication, monitoring of browsing sessions and storing information of users’ activities for statistical or advertising purposes.
While browsing within a site, users can receive on their computer or mobile device even cookies of web servers other than the one they are visiting. These cookies are called “third-party cookies”.
Cookies may not collect any information stored on users’ computers or files.
Cookies can be:
- “Session” that are stored on the computer for purely technical and functional requirements, for the transmission of session identifiers required to allow safe and efficient site browsing; they are deleted at the end of the “session” (hence the name) when the browser is closed. This type of cookie avoids the use of other IT techniques that could potentially jeopardize the privacy of users’ navigation;
- “Persistent” that remain stored on the computer hard drive until expiry or cancellation by users/visitors. Through persistent cookies visitors who access the site (or any other users who use the same computer) are automatically recognized at every visit. Persistent cookies fulfil many functions in the interest of browsers (such as the use of the browsing language or storing the shopping cart in online shopping. However, persistent cookies can also be used for promotional purposes or, even, for purposes of dubious legality. Visitors can set their computer’s browser so that it accepts/rejects all cookies or views an alert whenever a cookie is prompted, in order to assess whether or not to accept it. However, users may change the default configuration and disable cookies (i.e. block them definitively), by setting the highest security level.
How cookies work and how they are deleted
The most common and widespread web browsers allow deleting cookies manually or automatically when the browser is closed. The same browsers can be configured (admin panel) to block the creation of cookies; in this case, the proper functioning of the website or Internet service offered is no longer guaranteed
- technical cookies;
- user profiling cookies;
- third-party cookies.
Among technical cookies, which do not require consent for their use, the Authority for the protection of personal data includes:
- “analytics cookies”, used directly by the site manager to collect information, in aggregate form, on the number of users and how they visit the site;
- browsing or session cookies (for example, authentication);
- function cookies, which allow users to browse as a function of a series of selected criteria (such as language, or a wishlist) in order to improve the service rendered to the same user.