Yummy Cookies?

By Olivia Pocat

Have you ever clicked on a link or gone to a website, and had the screen come up with a notification about cookies? These types of cookies are not the typical ones which you bake as a yummy treat. Rather, these cookies are digital information about which sites you have visited. The Federal Trade Commission defines cookies as information saved on your web browser which  store information to keep track of you over time. Google and other servers use cookies to give you personalized ads and track your info across several websites. In California, you can opt out of cookies, also letting you opt out of your information being sold to third parties, and being able to know which of your data has been collected as well as having the choice to delete it. Because cookies are often planted on your computer without your consent or knowledge, California has decided to protect its citizens through the popups which you must so often see when browsing on the internet. The California Consumer Privacy Act requires websites to let consumers know that cookies are being placed, and allows them to stop the sale of personal information. Both “first-party” and “third party” cookies exist on the internet. “First party” cookies are cookies which sites will issue to make their websites run smoother and with more information on their consumers. “Third party” cookies are tracking cookies, which are used to build profiles of what you do online. 

Cookies can be dangerous, and sometimes the reach of their data gathering can pose an issue for companies. Take Facebook, for example: this company’s long history of using cookies and other tracking devices to sell your information to third parties. Facebook was accused of illegally tracking users even when they were outside the data platform, in a $15 billion lawsuit. The lawsuit consisted of complaints about Facebook selling information to third parties and advertisers for profit, through the use of cookies to identify users and plug-ins to track people’s browsing history. 

In the end, these types of cookies are definitely not yummy, and might make you think to opt out of cookies next time the option pops up when you’re scrolling through a website.