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What are Cookies?
Cookies are little bits of information that websites store on your computer when you visit them. A website might use a cookie to store the fact that you've logged in to their website; that way when you return, you don't need to log in again. If it's an e-commerce website, it might store your currency preference. Cookies only contain information that you or the website itself provides. Cookies don't allow websites any extra access to your files or personal information than what you provide it with.
Which websites can read my Cookies?
Only the website that set a cookie can read that cookie. In other words, one website can't read the cookies from another website.
Why are some people concerned about accepting Cookies?
It has always been possible to track your behaviour on the internet; cookies just make it easier to do.
Some advertising networks will set a cookie when you view one of their advertisements on a website. When you go to a completely different website but view another advertisement from the same advertising network, they will be able to read that cookie and realise that the same person has just viewed both of the websites. Using this technique they can build a profile of you and all the websites that you like to visit, as well as how long you stay on them, what times you visit and so on.
It is for this reason that many people like to regularly clear their web browser's cookies. Whatismybrowser.com has a list of guides designed to help you enable, disable and clear your cookies.
Are Cookies safe?
Cookies can be used to track your behaviour between websites (such as in the example of advertisers building a profile of your activity over time).
If you are concerned about Cookie safety, you can disable cookies and try browsing the web. Notice if you have different experiences with websites that you visit. If you're unable to access certain websites because of this, then consider turning them back on. If not, then feel free to leave cookies disabled!
If you are interested in having a lot of control about which websites place cookies on your computer, you can install an extension in some web browsers (like Chrome or Firefox) to help you manage them.
Generally speaking, I have cookies enabled in my web browser and I advise my clients, friends and familes to keep the enabled as well.
If you have any more questions, use the contact form and we'll answer it and add your question here.