HTTP cookie

(redirected from Web cookie)

HTTP cookie

(World-Wide Web)
A system invented by Netscape to allow a web server to send a web browser a packet of information that will be sent back by the browser each time it accesses the same server. Cookies can contain any arbitrary information the server chooses to put in them and are used to maintain state between HTTP transactions, which are otherwise stateless. Typically this is used to authenticate or identify a registered user of a website without requiring them to sign in again every time they access it. Other uses are, e.g. maintaining a "shopping basket" of goods you have selected to purchase during a session at a site, site personalisation (presenting different pages to different users) or tracking which pages a user has visited on a site, e.g. for marketing purposes.

The browser limits the size of each cookie and the number each server can store. This prevents a malicious site consuming lots of disk space. The only information that cookies can return to the server is what that same server previously sent out. The main privacy concern is that, by default, you do not know when a site has sent or received a cookie so you are not necessarily aware that it has identified you as a returning user, though most reputable sites make this obvious by displaying your user name on the page.

After using a shared login, e.g. in an Internet cafe, you should remove all cookies to prevent the browser identifying the next user as you if they happen to visit the same sites.

Cookie Central.
References in periodicals archive ?
Anthony (2008) revealed the use of web cookies has been criticised by consumer advocates, policy makers, and even marketers themselves as a potential threat to consumer privacy.
Data mining is used by companies who take consumer's information off apps through web cookies and sell them to advertisers, who sell personalized advertisements on platforms like Facebook.
From understanding Web cookies to avoiding identity theft, the Security Pointer Web site provides a wide array of information on the world of computer and network security.
Europeans routinely turn off Web cookies that might reveal buying habits, and they don't like to provide e-mail addresses.
Once a target audience for a campaign is defined by utilizing aggregated, anonymized purchase history data, offline data is matched with web cookies to address the same audience online.
The information is collected on the internet largely via web cookies, which are used on most websites where a user has to fill out any kind of personal information.
AdSubtract PRO will also help overseas users to protect their privacy, with simple yet powerful controls to stop web cookies that track them on the Internet.
TrustLabels apply the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C's) Platform for Privacy Preferences Project (P3P) vocabulary in robust efficient manner to Web cookies.
1 also supports other new features and improvements from the VisualWave development environment, including Smalltalk-style dialogs, standard web cookies for storing user session information, web layout and HTML editor improvements that address specific customer requests, and a number of new "how to" examples for helping developers get started on client creation.
The first product, slated for release in December, 1996, will address the privacy concerns created by Web cookies.