During these past years, the world of web technology has completely evolved. And every evolution makes us find new ways and tools to adapt to these changes. In this article, we are going to learn about first-party cookies, third party cookies, targeted advertising and how they impact our privacy.
What are cookies?
Cookies are a series of data from a website. They are stored on a user’s computer and can be read at every site visit, regardless of the device you used. These small pieces of data are used for various purposes. Some cookies are essential for the function of the website and help to create an interactive experience.
For example, on a shopping website, cookies will save your login details. Once saved, you will be able to go back to the website and access your shopping cart without login in again. Because every cookie file has its specific ID, these first-party cookies can provide accurate data about the number of visitors of a website and collect their information which is useful for a website owner.
What are third-party cookies?
Until now, we saw that cookies help to have an enjoyable user experience, but there’s another type of cookie called third-party cookies that can track your activity to generate targeted ads for you.
This term is considered one of the most effective tools in online marketing, but it also causes a stir in the web world because it is one of the most controversial topics. Third-party cookies are cookies that are not generated by the website operator, but by a third party. By connecting to a website, the browser communicates with the ad server. It can also track our browsing behavior, interests, and consumer behavior. This is why we see an advertisement that looks like what we have already searched for on the internet. It is not at all coincidental.
The following are data collected by these cookies:
- Personal data such as age, location, and gender.
- Time spent
- Visited websites
By collecting these pieces of information and data, third-party cookies can create an individual user profile on which ads can be based
What about our privacy?
According to reports published by the CNIL, many sites and applications do targeted advertising without users’ consent. So Europe introduced the GDPR (general data protection regulation) allowing users to opt out of cookies.
In terms of the law, it is imperative to ask for prior consent before depositing or reading specific cookies. This rule is mandatory for the following:
- Owners of websites and mobile applications;
- Advertising agencies
- Social networks that provide sharing modules on their platforms.
Not all cookies are a threat to our privacy. Users can definitely manage their privacy by clicking on the “accept” or “refuse” button. When the cookie banner appears, the user must be able to click on “Refuse all” freely or to deactivate one or more optional cookies in the “Preference settings”.
For more information, click on the link below to watch a conference about data privacy.