Collecting user data is common practice across online mediums and businesses. Websites collect data on every keystroke, mouse click, or touch the user performs. A large part of this data collection is also called cookies.
In this content post, we will take a look at what cookies are in this context, and what they do in terms of data collection.
What are Cookies in Online Data Collection?
Cookies are small text logs that are stored locally on a user’s device by a website. They are used to store information such as login credentials, preferences, and browsing history. This information can then be retrieved by the website in subsequent visits to provide a more personalized experience and facilitate data collection for analytical and advertising purposes.
Cookies can be either first-party (set by the website being visited) or third-party (set by a domain other than the one being visited).
How do Cookies Work?
Cookies work by allowing a website to store information on a user’s device and then retrieve it during subsequent visits. When a user visits a website, the website sends a request to the user’s browser to store a small text file (the cookie) on the user’s device. This cookie contains information such as login credentials, preferences, and browsing history.
As an example, if you want a website to remember your login credential or site preferences, it will need to be able to store cookies on your device to enable that functionality.
The next time the user visits the website, the website will check for the existence of the cookie on the user’s device and retrieve the stored information. This allows the website to provide a more personalized experience, such as remembering the user’s preferences, and helps the website to track user behaviour for analytical and advertising purposes.
Who has Access to Cookies?
The information stored in the cookie can only be retrieved by the website that set it and is not accessible by other websites or malicious actors. The lifespan of a cookie can be either short-term (session cookie) or long-term (persistent cookie), depending on how it is configured by the website.
Are Cookies Necessary for a Website to Function?
Cookies are not necessary for the sense that websites can still function without them. However, they play an important role in enhancing the user experience by allowing websites to store information on the user’s device and retrieve it on the next visit.
It’s worth noting that some users may choose to disable cookies in their browsers due to privacy concerns, in which case websites may have limited functionality or may not be able to provide certain features.
Are Cookies Necessary for Payment Services?
Cookies are not strictly necessary for payment services, but they can be useful in some cases. For example, cookies can be used to remember the items in a user’s shopping cart and ensure that they are still available for purchase when the user returns to the site. Cookies can also be used to remember the user’s billing and shipping information for a smoother checkout process.
However, for security reasons, it’s important that sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, is not stored in cookies, as cookies can potentially be accessed by unauthorized third parties. The payment information should be securely transmitted using encryption technologies, such as SSL/TLS, and stored on secure servers.
It is always recommended not to save payment information on a device, even your one.
Why do Websites Provide a Cookies Banner?
How are Cookies Regulated?
Companies that handle data have to ensure that their employees are well-trained on the legislation and its principles. They can conduct sessions of GDPR awareness training to ensure they are familiar with the legislation and its requirements.
Cookies are not user data, but allow websites and companies to collect data on user activity. This data is not pertaining to a user’s identity, and only contains information that cannot identify the user. Here we have discussed what cookies are, and how they are used by websites to enable greater functionality of the websites for their products or services.
Also read: Why are API-Driven Digital Marketplaces The Need of The Hour?