A cookie (or computer cookie) is a small information sent by a website and stored in the user's browser so that the website can consult the previous user activity.


Its main functions are:


You keep track of users: When a user enters their username and password, a cookie is stored so you do not have to be introducing them to each page server. However, a cookie does not identify only one person, but to a combination of computer-browser-user.


Get information about the user's browsing habits, and attempted spyware (spyware), by agencies and other advertising. This can cause privacy and is one of the reasons that the cookies have their detractors.


Cookies can be deleted, accepted or blocked as desired to this should only be conveniently set up the web browser.



Cookies are commonly used by web servers to differentiate users and to act differently depending on these.

One use of cookies is identified on a website. Users typically are identified by entering your credentials on a page validation; cookies allow the server to know that the user is already validated, and therefore may be allowed access services or perform operations that are restricted to unidentified users.


Other sites use cookies to customize their appearance according to user preferences. Sites that require identification often offer this feature, but is also present in other that do not require. Customization includes presentation and functionality.


Cookies are also used for tracking users through a website. The monitoring in one place is usually done with the intention of keeping usage statistics, while tracking across sites typically aims to create anonymous user profiles by advertising companies, which are then used to guide campaigns advertising (deciding which advertising use) based on user profiles.



Most modern browsers support cookies. However, a user can usually choose whether cookies should be used or not.


The browser can also include the possibility of specifying better which cookies should be accepted and which not. Specifically, the user can normally accept one of the following options: reject cookies from certain domains; reject third party cookies; accept cookies and not persistent (deleted when the browser is closed); allow the server to create cookies for a different domain. In addition, browsers can also allow users to see and delete cookies individually.



Cookies have important implications for the privacy and anonymity of Web users. Although only cookies that defined the server or another in the same domain, a Web page can contain images and other components stored on servers in other domains are sent. The cookies that are created during the requests of these components are called third-party cookies.


Advertising companies use third-party cookies to track users across multiple sites. Specifically, an advertising company can track a user across all pages where it has placed advertising images or web bugs. Knowledge of the pages visited by a user allows these companies to direct their advertising according to the alleged preference.


The possibility of creating a profile of users has been considered as a potential threat to privacy, even when tracking is limited to a single domain, but especially when across multiple domains using third party cookies. For that reason, some countries have legislation cookies.

The EU directive 2002 privacy in telecommunications contains rules about the use of cookies. In particular, Article 5, paragraph 3 provides that the data storage (such as cookies) on a user's computer can only be made if:


the user receives information about how the data are used;
the user has the possibility to reject the transaction.

However, this article also states that storing data that is necessary for technical reasons is allowed as an exception.



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