What is a cookie?
Cookies are small text files that are sent to the user’s terminal equipment (usually to the user’s browser) by visited websites; they are stored in the user’s terminal equipment to be then re-transmitted to the websites on the user’s subsequent visits to those websites. When navigating a website, a user may happen to receive cookies from other websites or web servers, which are the so-called “third party” cookies. This happens because the visited website may contain items such as images, maps, sound files, links to individual web pages on different domains that are located on servers other than the one where the page being visited is stored.
Cookies are present as a rule in substantial numbers in each user’s browser and at times they remain stored for long. They are used for several purposes ranging from IT authentication to the monitoring of browsing sessions up to the storage of specific information on user configurations in accessing a given server, and so on.
From this standpoint and for the purposes of this decision, cookies may be distinguished into two major group: “technical” cookies and “profiling” cookies.
Technical cookies are those used exclusively with a view to “carrying out the transmission of a communication on an electronic communications network, or insofar as this is strictly necessary to the provider of an information society service that has been explicitly requested by the contracting party or user to provide the said service”.
They are not used for further purposes and are usually installed directly by the data controller or the website manager. They can be grouped into browsing or session cookies, which allow users to navigate and use a website (e.g. to purchase items online or authenticate themselves to access certain sections); analytics cookies, which can be equated to technical cookies insofar as they are used directly by the website manager to collect aggregate information on the number of visitors and the pattern of visits to the website; functional cookies, which allow users to navigate as a function of certain pre-determined criteria such as language or products to be purchased so as to improve the quality of service.
Profiling cookies are aimed at creating user profiles. They are used to send ads messages in line with the preferences shown by the user during navigation. In the light of the highly invasive nature of these cookies vis-à-vis users’ private sphere, Italian and European legislation requires users to be informed appropriately on their use so as to give their valid consent.
How can I disable cookies?
You can modify your browser to turn off cookies. This is very easy to do. Please note: if you disable cookies, your user name and password will no longer be stored on any website.
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