Cookies? What are they and why does this site warn you about them?

If you are concerned about the banner message then you can relax. Cookies are as safe as this text because they are just text. I give the warning since an unelected group of incompetent old people that don’t understand the internet can make laws on it. The European Union (🇪🇺) cookie law enforced in the UK by the ICO says that you need to give “consent” to websites to use a basic web function you should expect them to use.

Cookies are bits of data whose information is put on your computer/phone/device. This may sound like it has the potential for chaos but cookies are not code. Cookies are strings (or in non-developer speech: lines of text). For an example of the difference, I made the word “not” bold with some basic code. I put “<b>” before what I want to be bold and “</b>” after. The reason why my explanation of the “b” tag isn’t itself bold is because it’s displayed as text, not run as code.

Cookies are useful is because they can be read by code. Let’s say for instance that you played the old popular web game Cookie Clicker (the new version works differently). You don’t want to lose your progress and it seems excessive to require an account for a simple web toy. The solution? Reading and writing cookies with your save data. It’s also the same way most web pages remember what items are in your basket and if you’re using night mode. Any site you trust enough to get your private information shouldn’t be dumb enough to have it human readable on a cookie.

What I use cookies for:

  • To remember that a viewer has already seen the cookie message pop-up this month so it doesn’t need to show it again. (rather ironic)
  • WordPress remembers some input boxes so you don’t need to retype them to comment.
  • Google tools (as in various products like Google Analytics and Google Optimize). They do record more than I think they should but it’s recorded anonymously. Google’s popularity also means there’s more information about their practices and more people holding them accountable.

You may also be interested in my strong stance towards advertising explained in my ad policy.

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