What are cookies?
Cookies are text files that websites store while browsing on a device, such as a PC, smartphone or any other device that can store information. Cookies perform a number of important functions, including remembering a user and their previous interactions with a website. They can be used, for example, to keep track of items added to a virtual shopping cart during online purchases or to keep track of information when entering details in an online form. Some cookies are also used to help web pages load faster and to route information over a network.
The information stored in cookies may include personal data, such as an IP address, a user name, a unique identifier or an email address. But they can also contain non-personal data such as language settings or information about the type of device a person uses to navigate the site. Cookies may also contain advertising IDs, user IDs, and other tracking IDs.
Cookies are a potential privacy risk because they are able to track, store and share information about users’ online behavior, offering advertisements in line with their interests. This is why it is important to also consider possible implications that could result from a misuse of information by malicious parties.
The processing of personal data
Privacy is a fundamental right and has become a crucial topic with the advent of the digital age, as people more or less consciously share a large amount of personal information on the internet. The processing of personal data is an important aspect and to which are linked several obligations summarized in the website of the Guarantor for the Protection of Personal Data (GPDP). In summary it is required to provide users:
- an information to enable them to exercise their rights before processing personal data;
- the mode of treatment.
The obligations relating to security measures under which the controller is obliged to minimize the risk of destruction shall also be taken into account, loss, unauthorized access or processing of personal data not permitted or not in accordance with the purpose of the collection. Another obligation is to inform users that the paths and content consumed, as part of the navigation of the site, can be tracked and that this information can be used for commercial purposes.
Read the article explaining What is encryption and why it is important for data protection.