What is a cookie and what happens when you accept it?

What is a cookie and what happens when you accept it?

In recent years, an annoying cookie message has been appearing on almost every site. But what do we know about them? The simplest cookie version is a little piece of a text file on your computer. When you visit a site that uses cookies, this file is stored on your computer, phone or tablet. It contains the name of the site, as well as a unique user ID. When you return to this site again, it will know that you have already been there before. This means that companies can tailor their sites to you because they already know some information about you.


Note: Using incognito mode in a web browser will prevent the temporary storage or updating of cookies.


What information can cookies store?


In addition to the site name and user ID, some sites also include other information in the cookies that will be stored on your computer.


For example, a cookie may contain the following data:


  • The amount of time you spend on the site
  • Links that you click on the site
  • Options, preferences or settings that you choose
  • The accounts you sign in to
  • Information about which pages you visited in the past.
  • Products in the basket
  • For example, an online store will use cookies to remember products that you store in a virtual basket before placing an order.


The social network can use cookies to track the links you click on, and then use this information to show you more relevant or interesting information in the future. Cookies are commonly used to improve the user experience. Privacy advocates complain about the collection of information regarding their online habits.


Why have we seen more and more cookie banners lately?


Back in 2016, an EU regulation called General Data Protection Regulation came into force. This means that companies must collect your consent before collecting your data. If a cookie can identify you through your device (which most cookies do), companies need your consent. This is why you have recently seen many sites asking for your permission before downloading cookies to your computer.


Do you have to accept cookies?


No, they should not, if a cookie can identify you, you can completely refuse them. Websites using these cookies must obtain your permission or they risk a huge fine under various laws. Therefore, if you do not want to store a cookie containing information about you, just say no.