Cookies and Privacy Issues – When Should You Be Concerned?

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Cookies and Privacy Issues – When Should You Be Concerned?

Cookies and Privacy Issues – When Should You Be Concerned?

While most cookies do very little that impinges on your privacy, some do collect a great deal of information. In this case, your largest concerns will be third-party cookies and large advertising companies like Facebook and Google.

Ad companies typically create cookies inside of javascript ads – these cookies allow the ocmpany to show targeted ads based on where you’ve been, what you’re searching for, and what you looked at. For example, if you type in “Unicorns” on Google and click on a product for a unicorn, it is highly likely that you will later see ads for that unicorn on another website.

This is known as ad retargeting, where advertisers pay to have their products shown to users who have visited their pages. Most large advertisers do this. However, they cannot use regular cookies to achieve it.

Third Party Cookies

Normal cookies cannot communicate with other websites. This limits their functionality for tracking your movement across the web. Instead, the companies create a third-party cookie also known as a cross-domain cookie.

Cross domain cookies are designed to work across multiple websites with a common domain, in this case the advertising network – allowing the cookie to track most of what you do and use.

This enables the cookie to track your movements on any property owned by or advertised on by the advertiser. As you may guess, this can amount to a lot of data.

Here, the two big offenders are Google.com and Facebook.com.

Google can track:

  • Google searches (any website you visit via Google.com or Google Chrome)
  • Any Google advertising site (90% of the Internet)

Facebook can Track:

  • Facebook data
  • Any websites using Facebook ads
  • Messenger activity
  • Instagram activity
  • WhatsApp activity
  • Any websites with “Like” or “Share” buttons
  • Any time you use “Like” or “Share”
  • Etc.

Third-party cookies allow advertisers to track nearly all of your activity across the web including search data, browsing history, and even your chats.

However, you likely shouldn’t be alarmed.
First, all of this data is collected on a large scale from billions of users. Companies just don’t have enough employees to manually review all of this data to make use of it. Therefore, no one is ‘spying’ on your data because no one is looking at it.

Instead, advertisers run your data through computers, which match up your search history and website preferences with advertisements. The entire process is automated, and designed to show you more relevant ads that they hope you will click on.

Can Third-Party Cookies Steal Data?

No. They cannot. Like any cookie, third-party cookies can only track your movements on websites with a domain owned by the creator.

Should I Disable Third-Party Cookies?

You can if you want. However, you may lose some functionality on some websites.  For example, if you use Facebook or Google to log into third-party sites or other accounts, you will lose this functionality if youd isbale third party cookies. You can disable most third-party cookies in your browser settings under Privacy/Cookies depending on the browser.

Click through to page 3 to learn more about how you can protect your privacy with cookies.

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About The Author
Brandy
Proliferate writer, sesquipedalian, techie, Apple fangirl (don't judge),tree hugger, yogi, tea drinker, zombie hunter. Into philotherianism & philomathy. Love my job. Visit me on Google +

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