About Cookies

What is a cookie?

A cookie is a small text file that is stored on a user’s web browser. The cookie is set by request by a web server to a web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, chrome). A cookie is entirely ‘passive’ and does not contain software programs, a virus or spyware. A cookie is composed of two parts, its name and its content or value of the cookie. Moreover, the life-time of the cookie is determined. Technically, only the web server that sent the cookie can access it again when a user returns to a website associated with that web server.

What information is stored in cookies?

Cookies store data in a small text file that allow a website to recognize a browser. The web server will recognise the web browser until a cookie expires or is deleted. Cookies store useful information that improve the internet experience, e.g. store language settings in order for a user to see the website in his / her language; allow a user to remain logged-in his webmail; secure online banking; ‘remember’ the items in a shopping basket.

What are the advantages of cookies?

A cookie contains information linked from a web browser (the user) to a specific web server (the website). If a web browser accesses that web server again, the web server can read from and react to that information. Cookies ensure a user-friendly experience and support safety efforts for many online offers and services, e.g. language preferences, privacy settings, shopping baskets of online shops or relevant adverts.

Do cookies know who I am?

No, cookies contain only generic browser recognition or are associated with anonymous data. When cookies are set, the user is informed about it. If websites use cookies to collect personal data, data protection laws require those websites to inform users about the collection of personal data and the purpose of such collection.

Can I control cookies?

Yes, browsers offer cookie management setting tools (please see some help below). Browser settings can be set to require the user’s confirmation for each cookie that might be stored on his / her PC. You can also set the browser to accept cookies only from specific web sites (e.g. your favourite news site). Browsers can also enable users to delete specific cookies. It is even possible to set a browser to reject all cookies. Note that choosing to disable all cookies could significantly affect your web browsing experience because many Internet services rely on cookies.

Can I disable a cookie?

Yes, some browsers will let you block just third party cookies (these are cookies placed on your browser by an entity other than the particular website’s owner- e.g., an advertising partner) or will allow the use of settings to block only cookies that do not meet your privacy preferences. However, most websites use cookies in order to enhance a user-friendly experience and the safety of their online offers, e.g. the shopping basket of an online shop or the display of a relevant advertisement. You can choose to disable all cookies but this could significantly affect your web browsing experience.