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Cookies


What is a cookie?

Cookies are usually small text files, given ID tags that are stored on your computer’s browser directory or program data subfolders. Cookies are created when you use your browser to visit a website that uses cookies to keep track of your movements within the site, help you resume where you left off, remember your registered login, theme selection, preferences, and other customization functions. The website stores a corresponding file(with same ID tag)to the one they set in your browser and in this file they can track and keep information on your movements within the site and any information you may have voluntarily given while visiting the website, such as email address.

Cookies are often indispensable for websites that have huge databases, need logins, have customizable themes, other advanced features.

Cookies usually don’t contain much information except for the url of the website that created the cookie, the duration of the cookie’s abilities and effects, and a random number. Due to the little amount of information a cookie contains, it usually cannot be used to reveal your identity or personally identifying information. However, marketing is becoming increasingly sophisticated and cookies in some cases can be aggressively used to create a profile of your surfing habits.

There are two types of cookies: session cookies and persistent cookies. Session cookies are created temporarily in your browser’s subfolder while you are visiting a website. Once you leave the site, the session cookie is deleted. On the other hand, persistent cookie files remain in your browser’s subfolder and are activated again once you visit the website that created that particular cookie. A persistent cookie remains in the browser’s subfolder for the duration period set within the cookie’s file.

What can I do to manage cookies stored on my computer?

Different browsers offer differing ways to configure your browser’s cookie settings.

Due to the wide range of differences among differing websites’ privacy policies, many browsers allow for universal privacy settings which users can choose from.

Users choose differing privacy settings based on their differing privacy concerns. Most commercial and/or professionally-created websites like Yahoo and Google have privacy policy pages that disclose how the sites handle, gather, and/or pass on user information to third parties. These are known as “P3P” features (Privacy Preferences Platform).

You can easily remove any cookies that have been created in the cookie folder of your browser. For example, if you are on Windows machine, here are the steps on how to use Windows Explorer to erase cookie files:

  • Click on ‘Windows Explorer’
  • Select the ‘Search’ button on the tool bar
  • Enter “cookie” into the search box field for ‘Folders and Files’
  • Choose ‘My Computer’ in the ‘Look In’ drop down menu
  • Click on ‘Search Now’
  • Select and open the folders that are retrieved
  • Click to highlight any cookie file
  • Click the ‘Delete’ key to erase the cookie file

If you don’t have Windows Explorer, click the “Help” function on your “Start” button and enter “cookies” to search for information on how to locate the folder.

There are a number of ways to manage cookies. You can clear cookies, prevent cookies, delete cookies and enable cookies at your will and for different circumstances. If you use different computers in different locations you will need to ensure that each browser is adjusted to suit your cookie preferences.

Source: www.allaboutcookies.org.