Tracking cookies are small files stored by a user’s computer after visiting a website, mainly used by third-party advertisers to track web browsing patterns. These trackers are viewed as an invasion of privacy.
What are Tracking Cookies?
Tracking cookies, also known as “trackers,” are small files that are stored on a user’s computer after they visit a website. Third-party advertisers place these cookies on browsers to track users’ web browsing patterns. These tracking cookies are primarily used to gather data on users’ online behavior for targeted advertising purposes.
How Do Tracking Cookies Work?
When a user visits a website, several third-party advertisers may also load their tracking code onto the site. This code will place cookies on the user’s browser, which will then track a user’s behavior on that website. The tracking cookies will continue to follow a user’s web browsing patterns across other websites and device usage, enabling advertisers to compile a profile of their online activities.
Why are Tracking Cookies a Privacy Invasion?
The use of tracking cookies to serve targeted advertising has become a privacy issue. As these cookies can be stored indefinitely on a user’s computer, the huge amount of data compiled over time can lead to the build-up of a user’s profile being amassed. Some companies use these profiles to track users’ internet activity, analyzing their browsing habits, and using this information for targeted advertising campaigns based on interests and online behaviors.
Additionally, tracking cookies can shift a user’s behavior on the internet, as the constant, targeted advertising may sway a user’s choices or influence their decision-making. This creates a concern for privacy advocates as users are often unaware that they have agreed to allow third-party cookies to track and collect their personal data, ultimately making it difficult to opt-out.
How Do I Opt-Out of Tracking Cookies?
Most internet browsers provide options to prevent websites from tracking and collecting data using cookies. Usually, browsers have built-in cookie management systems that allow the user to easy navigate their cookie settings, where they can either block third-party cookies altogether or only allow trusted sites to use them.
Additionally, users always have the option to clear cookies or all browsing history from their browsers altogether. This would remove all tracking cookies and give the user anonymity and control over their personal data.
The high point
While tracking cookies have become a privacy concern, they are used to help serve targeted advertising to users. Users, however, must be aware of the data that is being collected through the cookies and take the necessary steps to protect their privacy. Blocking or deleting tracking cookies within browsers is recommended for those who are concerned about their online privacy while browsing.