I cookie fanno male alla privacy? Facciamo un po' di chiarezza thumbnail

Cookies and privacy; are they good or bad?

Many sites, as soon as we connect, ask us to accept cookies for privacy reasons. Obviously, with everything we hear around, we promptly deny and refuse any type of consent. Is our privacy really at risk? Are we doing well? Talking to some of our readers we understand that there are a few too many urban legends around on the subject. So, let’s take the opportunity to shed some light here.

What are Cookies?

I cookie they were not born together with the web, as many mistakenly think. The first web server is from 1990 while cookies they arrived in 1995 with Internet Explorer version 2.

Basically, cookies they solve a problem very simple: they give continuity to the pages we look at on a website. Indeed, in the structure of the web, each request for a page is a separate and independent event. And yet, if we open the Amazon site the cart is there waiting for us with all our stuff inside and when we go to Gmail we don’t need to enter the password every time. All this is made possible thanks to cookies.

Imagine going to the same cafe for breakfast every day with an extremely forgetful bartender. He will forget about you all the time and every breakfast will be like the first time. Some may be fine with it, but some customers prefer to be greeted by name. The bartender knows about his problem and solves it in a very simple way. He writes down everything he knows about you in a notebook with a number next to it. Then, gives you a note with that number and asks you to show him next time than to enter his bar. That way, she reads the notebook, updates it if necessary, and remember everything about you.

A web server does exactly that; the number that is given to our browser we are used to calling it cookie (cookie).

cookie advertising

Third-party cookies

When we go to a website, any website, it is plain to see advertisements from other parties (of third parties) such as Amazon or Facebook. This advertisement, however, is magically linked to our recent activities; like web searches or what we talked about on social media. How does this happen?

The mechanism is complicated a little, even if not by much. First of all, it is not the website that fetches the advertising, but our browser. The website, in fact, sends us a page with a series of elements still to be filled; imagine, for example, a painter’s canvas with holes in it. However, we also receive instructions on how to go and get what is missing. The holes then come filled by our browser with URLs pointing to Amazon, Microsoft, Meta or to an advertising agency. Then, our browser will connect to the third-party site and automatically will receive a third-party cookie (for advertising) and the new server will know where we are coming from.

He cookies will allow advertising to follow us (or follow us, if you prefer) from site to site and to agencies build our profile by evaluating the sites through which we contact them. With this mechanism Amazon, Microsoft, Meta and many others are able to offer us advertising consistent with our tastes and uniform on all the sites we visit.

Not just advertising

The example of advertising is always done first because it is there for all to see. However, there are gods third-party cookies whose result we do not explicitly seebut which perform a very important task for the sites they act as an intermediary.

cookie analytics

Web Analytics

A very important example is that of the so-called web analytics. That is, Each website collects information about who visits it to figure out who he’s dealing with. In this case no one is interested in us as individualsbut we want to make a statistic.

In the case of an online magazine, like ours, it is very important to have an idea of how many readers do we havewhichever it is their average age is that the interests of most of them. Not because we are curious, but because we need to understand if we are doing a good job and what you like to read.

Websites with a big organization behind them manage the analytics independently; this is the case of Meta, Spotify, TikTok and many others. Who does not have this luck, why great computational skills and skills are required, asks a third party; very often to Google. On the vast majority of siteswithin each page, there is a reference that you do not see in the graphic but which refers your browser to the site of Google Analytics.

Blocking that call and the cookie connected to it is possible and some browsers allow you to do this automatically. However, for the website it becomes a problem Why he is no longer able to understand who is visiting him.

So, is our privacy really threatened by cookies?

Also clarified how cookies work and how they interact with our privacy, the answer is still very personal.

It may annoy some that a multinational company builds its own digital profile while others don’t care in no way. There are people who are not happy with a specific company doing it and many simply are annoyed by advertising. On the other hand, if advertising is bad necessary for the survival of a site (the alternative is to give paid content), better if it is related to things that interest us and does not offer us ads at random.

These are all valid considerations to accept or refuse cookies when they are offered to us. From our point of view, the important thing is at least say yes or no knowing what we are dealing with and what kind of privacy are we talking about. In general, with cookies, we talk about ours personal interests and ours consumption habits. Each of us attributes a different value to the privacy of these two pieces of information.

A future without cookies and with more privacy

There are those who talk about it, because anyway the attention of users on the subject is very high.

In fact, the cookie mechanism it cannot be taken away. Because if we did we will no longer be able to buy anything online; think of the Amazon shopping cart speech we had at the beginning. To the utmost we will be able to opt out of third-party cookies. In fact, the European Community does not rule out severely limit use of third-party cookies in the context of the GDPR to safeguard the privacy of citizens.

If this were to happen, online advertising will no longer be so profitable and websites will have to think about other ways to support yourself economically. THE paid content is an optionbut we can also find others.

From a technological point of view, there are systems to collect the same web analytics without using third-party cookies. However, in our sensitivity, it would be a cure worse than the disease. Because sites could track our digital profile in compliance with the regulations without however telling us and without giving us the explicit option to decline. Of course, it will continue to apply prohibition of sharing the data collected about us with third parties, without our consent.

Walker Ronnie is a tech writer who keeps you informed on the latest developments in the world of technology. With a keen interest in all things tech-related, Walker shares insights and updates on new gadgets, innovative advancements, and digital trends. Stay connected with Walker to stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of technology.