Web browser cookies present a unique challenge for website owners and users alike. They are essential for providing personalization, enabling websites to remember user preferences, and can help improve the customer experience. However, as with any technology that involves collecting data from users, there are potential privacy and security risks. Cookie policies play a big role in ensuring users’ data is handled responsibly and in accordance with the law.
In digital privacy, the term ‘cookie’ refers to a small text file that is stored on users’ computers as they visit websites. It can contain a variety of information, from preferences and settings to login credentials for secure areas of the website.
Cookies are often used by sites to allow users to log in without re-entering their passwords every time they visit the site. They can also be used to remember preferences like language, font size, or page layout.
If you want to know about cookies, read the article: What are cookies ?
How Do Cookies Work?
A person’s journey with cookies starts when they visit a website for the first time. The website sends a cookie to the person’s computer, which is then stored in the user’s browser.
When that same user returns to the site in future visits, their browser will send back this cookie so that it can be read by the website. This lets the site know who they are, so it can retrieve their login details or preferences from its own database and apply them to that user’s experience.
For example, if you set your preferred language as English when visiting a website, the site will remember this and automatically display its content to you in English the next time you visit.
The Controversy Behind Cookies
Third-party cookies are one of the most problematic types, and as such, a main focus of debate. These are cookies that originate from a different domain than the website being visited (e.g., an advertising network). The data they collect can potentially be used to track users across multiple websites and to build a profile of an individual’s online activity without their knowledge.
Regardless of what jurisdiction you operate in, there’s always a possibility that your website will be subject to data privacy laws abroad. It’s best to take the initiative of setting one up rather than being sorry later on down the road.
- An explanation of what types of cookies the website uses
- An explanation of how these tracking technologies collect personal data from website visitors
- An explanation of what the collected data is used for
- How to opt out of or disable cookies if desired
- Multi-language support
- Easy-to-understand language
- The ability to customize the policy based on user preferences
One important thing to remember about cookie policies is that they should never be cookie-cutter. Every website is different, as are the regional laws that regulate their use. It’s imperative to invest time
and resources to understand the specific requirements of your company, website, and geographic audience.