Cookies – Good or Evil?

2 July 2019| Post by Matt

AuthorMatt

They’re no longer just a tasty snack! Cookies allow websites like ours to run smoothly, but they seem to have gained a bad rep.

Cookies are great, in every sense of the word! But they have been known to cause some controversy due to their potential breaches of our privacy. Can we trust cookies?

What are cookies?

Web Cookie, HTTP Cookie, Browser Cookie – they have many names but long story short, cookies are messages that servers send to your web browser. Those messages consist of information about you and your online activity including the time you spent on the site, the buttons you clicked as well as some of your basic details. It is the latter that sometimes puts people on edge – the obtainment of our details without our knowing does seem a little dodgy. BUT it has its reasons, and trust us, they don’t mean any harm.

Thanks to the lastest GDPR laws, many sites have had to revise and implement cookie policies where we are made aware of them upon arrival and given the option to accept or deny their actions. This is just one way in which we have control over cookies, you even have the power to turn them off altogether. But, without cookies – websites and your online experience become obsolete!

The Positives 👍

The words ‘tracking your activity’ may send a shiver down your spine, but in the context of cookies, it’s nothing to worry about. As previously touched upon, cookies store information that is gained from our time spent online. This may include what we’ve clicked on, what we’ve perused over or what we’ve placed in our shopping basket but forgotten about.

The best example of cookies at work is when you see that forgotten about item suddenly being advertised on your social media or on another site. That’s not a creepy coincidence, that’s just the cookies saying ‘Hey! Remember when you were going to buy this? Why don’t you give it a second thought!’.

So as you can probably gather, they are also crucial to ecommerce sites. No one should be frightened away by cookies, they are simply an integral cog in the proverbial internet machine. Without them, features like online shopping would be a proper uphill struggle.

The Not-so Negatives 👎

Really, the only bad and potentially harmful thing about cookies is the ways in which bad people may exploit them. Cookies cannot cause viruses or suddenly turn on you, but what is quite freaky is the amount of your information that can be collected. With that said, the main issue is the thin boundaries that surround our privacy.

Tracking cookies allow websites and advertising brands to see our activity online as well as some of our basic information (well, only the information that we have decided to post) which affect the sites and adverts that we see. This proposes no harm; it really just depends on how you, the user, feel about this information being stored.

It’s only been in the last 20 years or so that we’ve even been told about the activities of these pesky little cookies, and there are ways to stop them – but this comes with the risk of completely ruining your web experience.

The ‘It’s Fine!’ 🤙

Take our word for it, cookies are nothing really to lose sleep about. They are a critical part of how websites and the internet works, and if you did disable them all, you’d definitely wish you didn’t! Using less scary sounding terms like ‘tracking’ and ‘privacy’, cookies are simply messages or texts files that store information. They help sites remember logins, browser history and basic information to make your life that little bit easier.

See! They’re definitely the good guys. So the next time you’re worried about pressing ‘I Accept’ on that little pop-up window, just remember your just ticking yes to a better online experience that is catered to you.

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