Cookies are text files which save information about the website user on the user’s computer. If the user visits the site again (e.g. an online shop), cookies enable the website to display relevant pages/data which may be of interest to the user. This offers a considerably more user friendly experience as website content can be adapted to suit the user’s interests.
If cookies have access to a particular person’s details, e.g. e-mail address, user name, IP address or similar, the website operator must adhere to the data privacy act. Cookies must also fulfil the legal data protection regulations of the German telecommunications act (§ 96 para 3).
Session cookies are cookies which are stored for a certain time period. They are automatically deleted when the session ends and the user closes the browser window.
Persistent cookies, on the other hand, are only deleted after the end of a certain expiration date.
First party cookies are cookies created by the body responsible for data protection, for example the operator of the website that uses the cookie.
Third party cookies are created by third parties and not the operator of the website. This could, for example, involve advertising banners, web beacons, social plug-ins etc. The result is a “cross-server” session which enables the user’s interests to be established and personalised design of website content
Examples of cookies:
- Online shops (session cookies)
- Social plug-ins e.g. Facebook (third party cookies)
- Analysis tools e.g. Google Analytics (third party cookies)