What are cookies?
Cookies are IT data, in particular text files,
stored on users’ terminal devices and intended for the use of websites. These files allow recognising the user’s device and displaying the website adjusted to the user’s individual preferences in a proper way. The default parameters of cookies allow reading the information contained in these files only to the server that has created them. Cookies usually contain the name of the website where they originate from, their storage time on the terminal device, and a unique number.
Cookies are used to adjust the content of websites to the user’s preferences and to optimise the use of websites. They are also used
to create anonymous aggregated statistics which help to understand how the user utilises websites. It allows for the improvement of the structure
and content of these websites, excluding personal identification of the user.
What cookies do we use?
As a rule, two types of cookies are used – session and persistent cookies. The former are temporary files which are stored on the user’s device until the user logs out of the website or turns off the software (web browser). Persistent cookies remain on the user’s device for the time period specified in the cookies parameters or until they are manually removed by the user.
Cookies used by the website operator’s partners, including
Cookies can be divided by:
A. Types of cookies by their indispensability for service provision
|Necessary||These are absolutely necessary for an appropriate functioning of the website or the features that the user wants to use|
|Functional||These are important for website functioning:
– they increase website functionality, without them the website will work properly, yet will not be adjusted to the user’s preferences
– they are vital to providing high level of website functionality, without the settings saved in a cookie file, website functionality may decrease, but it should not prevent the user from using it completely,
– they are used for important website features, and blocking them may cause selected features to not work properly.
|Business||These enable the implementation of a business model on which the website is based. Blocking these cookies will not prevent the user from enjoying full website functionality completely, but may decrease the level of service provision due to lack of possibility to generate revenues subsidising the working of the website by the website owner. These include, for example, advertising cookies.|
B. By the storage time on the user’s terminal device:
|Session cookies||stored on the user’s device until the user finishes using the web browser (session), the files are erased once the web browser is closed|
|Persistent cookies||these are not erased once the web browser is closed and are stored on the user’s device for a specified time period or with no time limitations depending on the website owner’s settings|
C. By their source – website administrator managing cookies:
|First-party cookies||stored directly by the website owner of the visited website|
|Third-party cookies||stored by external entities whose website components were activated by the website owner|
D. By their purpose:
|Website configuration||allow setting the functions and services on the website|
|Safety and website reliability||allow verifying authenticity and optimisation of website efficiency|
|Authentication||allow informing when the user is logged in, owing to which the website can show appropriate information and features|
|Session state||allow storing information concerning the way the users utilise the website. They may concern the most frequently visited web pages or the possible error messages displayed on some web pages. Cookies used for saving the so-called “session state” help to improve services and increase the comfort of website browsing|
|Processes||allow efficient working of the website itself and the functions that it provides|
|Advertisements||allow displaying advertisements which are more interesting for users and, simultaneously, more valuable for the publishers
and advertisers, personalising advertisements, these can also be used to display advertisements outside the web pages of the website (domain)
|Location||allow adjusting the displayed information to the user’s location|
|Analysis and survey,
|allow website owners to understand their users’ preferences better. They also allow for the improvement and development of products and services through analysis. Usually, website owners or research agency collect information anonymously and process data concerning trends without identifying personal data of particular users|
E. Types of cookies by intrusion into user’s privacy:
|Harmless||these include cookies:
– essential for the appropriate website functioning
– essential for allowing website functionality; however, their scope has nothing to do with user tracking
|Tracking||used for tracking users; however, they do not involve information allowing to identify the personal data of a specific user|
Do cookies contain personal data?
in a way that makes accessing it impossible for unauthorised persons.
The software used for website browsing accepts cookies to be stored on the terminal device by default. However, the user may change the browser settings so that it blocks the automatic support of cookies
or informs the user about the process of sending cookies to the user’s device each time. Detailed information concerning the possibility and ways of supporting cookies is available in software settings (web browser).
Limiting the support of cookies may have an impact on some of the features available on the website.