What are cookies?
A cookie is a harmless text file that is stored in your browser when you visit almost any webpage. These tools play a key role in the provision of many information society services.
Among others, they make it possible for a webpage to store and recover information about the navigation habits of a user or his/her device, and, depending on the information obtained, they can be used to identify the user and improve the service provided.
Kind of cookies
Depending on the entity managing the domain from which the cookies are sent and processing the data, two types of cookie can be distinguished:
- Proprietary cookies:
Sent to the user’s device from equipment or a domain managed by the publisher of the website from which the service requested by the user is provided.
- Third-party cookies:
Sent to the user’s device from equipment or a domain that is not managed by the website published, but rather by another entity that processes the data obtained through the cookies.
In cases where the cookies are installed from a computer or domain managed by the publisher, but the information collected through them is managed by a third party, they cannot be considered proprietary cookies.
There is also another classification based on the period of time during which cookies remain stored in the client’s browser:
- Session cookies:
Designed to collect and store data while the user browses through a website. These are normally used to store information which is only kept for the provision of the service requested by the user on a single occasion (e.g. a list of bought products).
- Persistent cookies:
The data is still stored in the computer terminal and can be accessed and processed for a time period defined by the cookie owner, which can range from a few minutes to several years.
Finally, there is another classification involving six types of cookies according to the purpose of the processing of the data obtained:
- Technical cookies:
Cookies that allow you to browse the website, platform or application and use the different options or services that it provides, such as controlling data traffic and communication, session identification, accessing to restricted access sections, saving elements that make up an order, undertaking the order process, processing sign up requests or event participation, using security elements during browsing, storing security contents to broadcast videos or audio, or sharing content via social networks.
- Personalization cookies:
Let you access the service with some general predefined features in terms of a series of criteria on your terminal, such as language, browser used to access the service, regional settings for the location you are accessing the service from, etc.
- Analytical cookies:
Allow the person responsible for them to monitor and analyze the behavior of the users of the websites to which they are linked.
The information collected through this type of cookie is used to measure the activity of the websites, application or platform and to create browsing profiles of the users of said sites, applications and platforms, with the object of making improvements based on analysis of the usage data of the users of the service.
- Advertising cookies:
Allow the most efficient management possible of advertising spaces, etc.
- Behavioral advertising cookies:
These store your behavioral data, obtained by continually observing your browsing habits, to enable the development of a specific profile so that advertising can be displayed accordingly.
- Cookies from external social networks:
How to disable and eliminate cookies
You can restrict, block or delete cookies using the browser. If you disable cookies, some services can be inactive. Settings are different in every browser, but you can usually modify cookies configuration, through “Options” or “Tools”. The “Help” functionality can also help you. On this website, users can always choose what cookies want to install in their browser.
You can allow, block or eliminate cookies installed, through the options of your browser’s setting:
- Microsoft Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-vista/Block-or-allow-cookies
- Mozilla Firefox: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/block-websites-storing-site-preferences
- Chrome: https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/61416?hl=en
- Safari: http://safari.helpmax.net/en/privacy-and-security/managing-cookies/
- Opera: https://help.opera.com/en/latest/web-preferences/#cookies
You can also manage cookie storage in your browser by means of tools like these:
- Ghostery: www.ghostery.com
- Your Online Choices: www.youronlinechoices.com