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A Snack-Sized Guide to Cookies

If you have browsed the internet on any device, including your PC or the phone in your hand, you will have been tracked by cookies. And no, these aren’t the ones that are delicious, these are a digital method of tracking everything that you do online.

What are cookies?

To simplify, cookies store information about you. This can range from the location that you are browsing from, to the specific websites and pages that you have visited. These are then used as personal statistics that essentially create a digital profile of yourself so you can be directly marketed to. Ever wondered why the news website you are on is suddenly advertising film tickets even though you looked that up yesterday? Cookies are the reason why.

From the start of January 2021, websites have had to introduce a sort of pop-up box where you have to consent (or not) for your data to be tracked. These are regulated to tie in with the requirements of the Data Protection Act and UK GDPR. We believe this was a step in the right direction as it helped people regain control of their privacy. Users now have the ability to turn off this tracking and feel more comfortable about visiting websites. Whilst websites should be doing this, if you do not see this pop-up, you are likely being tracked without permission.

In addition, all modern browsers will allow you to manage cookies through the software, and we recommend checking through this to see exactly what cookies are being tracked.

But why do websites actually want these cookies?

This will vary from website to website, and you can usually find why the site you are visiting needs cookies by clicking on an information page on the pop-up. If you disagree with the information that they are wanting to track, you can simply turn these off and at least feel a little safer online.

However, some websites will need to have essential cookies for them to function properly so you will not be able to turn this off. This is usually the case in e-commerce sites, as cookies allow items that you are buying to stay in your shopping cart.

Did you know?

Cookies can last anywhere from a minute to 15 years!

What types of cookies are there?

There are two major types of cookies that have different types of focus, Analytics Cookies and Marketing Cookies.

These allow websites to look and report on what websites the user has visited and what they are currently looking at.

Seen as more sinister, these cookies ensure that adverts will be relevant to you, based on your decisions and the activity you have made online.

Cookies are a major part of your online experience, so it is important that you know about them. We hope that the team at Revoke has educated you on what exactly this digital tracking is!