Have you ever wondered about those cookies tracking your online moves? You know, the pop-ups bugging you for consent and ads pushing stuff you recently checked out – all because of the sneaky cookies. But what are tracking cookies? In this read, we will find out how these tracking cookies keep tabs on your online actions and why they are a thing.
Keep reading to learn what info cookies collect, how they do it, and ways to shut them down if you feel they are invading your privacy. Let us get into it.
What are Cookies and Its Different Types
Think of cookies as small helpers for websites. When you visit a site, these tiny text files keep track of your username, password, what links you clicked, etc. They also remember your shopping cart, where you are, and your preferences on the site.
Picture a cookie as a special tag for your computer. When you first visit a site, it gives your computer this tag, like a unique ID. The next time you return, the site recognizes you using this tag and gives you a personalized experience based on what you did before.
For example, it remembers your login details, so you do not have to type them in again. Now the question is, who makes these cookie tags?
Well, when you go to a website, your internet browser sends your info to the site’s server, and it gets stored in these cookies.
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There are two main types of cookies: first-party cookies and third-party cookies. Let us get to know about them.
These are like your site-specific buddies. They remember your preferences and accounts, making your visits smoother. They are called session or temporary cookies because they work only when you are on the site and vanish when you leave.
These are like the curious spies of the internet. Other websites put them on the site you are visiting to track what you are up to. For instance, if a site shows ads, the companies behind those ads can use third-party cookies to learn about you, even if you do not click on the ads.
How and What Information Tracking Cookies Collect?
Tracking cookies helps show ads for products to users with similar interests or search queries. They track your online behaviors, like the websites you visit, pages you browse, and products you click on or buy, using data such as your IP address and location. Advertisers use this info to tailor ads, providing you with a personalized online shopping experience.
Are Tracking Cookies Dangerous to Your Website?
Cookies, like tracking cookies, are not really a threat to your website. They will not mess up your devices or sneak in bad stuff. But if you are into keeping your information private, tracking cookies might bug you.
Think of tracking cookies as guests from other websites. They are here to grab data for ads. But sometimes, big ad companies leave these cookies, and they end up taking a bunch of your personal information. That can feel a bit too nosy.
Does Your Website Use Tracking Cookies?
If you are in charge of a website or run a website of your own, it is a good idea to know about the cookies it uses, especially those set by others (third parties). Sometimes, websites are unaware of all the different parties that can place cookies on users’ browsers.
To make this easier, you can use a free tool to scan your website. There are many cookie-tracking software available for you. It reports the kinds of cookies your site uses, why they are there, where they are from, and how long they last.
Because people are more concerned about privacy, there are rules about using cookies. Two significant ones:
✅ General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union.
✅ California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the US.
Let us give you a short brief about these two prominent laws on cookies in the next section before moving further.
What are GDPR and CCPA Regulations on Tracking Cookies?
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- Scope: Applies in the European Union.
- Consent: Requires clear user consent for tracking cookies.
- Transparency: Websites must explain cookie use clearly.
- User Rights: Users can request data deletion, including cookie data.
- Scope: Applies in California, USA.
- Opt-Out Right: Users can opt out of their data being sold, which includes cookie data.
- Notice Requirement: Businesses must inform users about cookie use.
- Non-Discrimination: Users opting out should not face service degradation.
Both regulations stress user consent, transparency, and individual rights regarding tracking cookies. Businesses in these regions must comply to respect user privacy.
What if you want to disable tracking cookies while browsing the internet? There are numerous methods to do this. Among those various processes, we will let you know 3 easiest ways to disable tracking cookies while browsing any site. Let us get started.
How to Block Tracking Cookies While Surfing The Web: 3 Easy Ways
If you feel that tracking cookies are disturbing for you or think it might be dangerous for your personal information, here are a few options to block tracking cookies, either individually or all at once, for your convenience:
Method 1: Change Your Browser Settings
The first method is pretty simple. All you need to do is visit your browser settings. For Chrome users, click the three dots in the top right corner and navigate Settings → Privacy and security → Third-party cookies.
Now, pick an option: block third-party cookies (in regular or incognito mode) or block all cookies (including first-party ones). Alternatively, you can opt to allow cookies but set your browser to clear them every time you close it. This way, it will not retain any cookies for your next browsing session.
Method 2: Install an Extension on Your Browser
For added safety, or if you like using browser extensions, consider Ghostery or DuckDuckGo. These tools stop tracking cookies and let you manage your browsing data with customizable settings. You stay in control by using these extensions.
In addition to blocking cookies and ads, these extensions also assign privacy scores to the websites you visit. They provide details about the companies tracking your online activities.
Method 3: Carefully Read GDPR Pop-ups While You See It
If you find yourself quickly agreeing to all GDPR notifications on websites without reading them due to time constraints, consider being more cautious next time. Instead of choosing ‘Accept all’ or ‘I agree’ blindly, take a moment to review the details.
Be selective about your consent by only allowing cookies that you want to keep and eliminating those that may be more harmful.
Refine Your Marketing Strategies & Enhance User Experience with Tracking Cookies
We hope that this post will help you to know more about tracking cookies and how they operate while you are surfing the web. Are they good or bad? It is a bit unclear. First-party cookies seem fine, but tracking cookies is debatable.
If you value your online privacy, consider turning off tracking cookies. However, be aware that companies may still track you in other ways. On the flip side, if you are okay with companies collecting info for marketing, you can leave cookies on. To get more guides to keep your website up and running, please subscribe to our blog.