What are cookies and how are they used?
Cookies are small text strings that websites visited by the user send to his terminal (usually the browser), where they are stored in order to be transmitted back to the same websites when the same user accesses them again. While navigating a site, users can even receive on their terminal equipment cookies that are sent from different sites or web servers (so-called “third-parties”), which may store different elements (such as, for example, images, maps, sounds, links to specific pages on other domains) of the visited page.
Cookies, usually stored in the browser in very large number and sometimes for a long period, are used for different purposes: authentication, session monitoring, storing of data about specific configurations of users accessing the server, etc.
What are the main types of Cookies?
In a legal sense, there are two main categories of cookies: technical cookies and profiling cookies.
Technical Cookies are used for the sole purpose of “permitting the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network, or strictly to permit the provider of an information service – explicitly requested by the subscriber or user – to provide such service” (Privacy Law, article 122, paragraph 1). Cookies are not used for other purposes and are usually installed by the owner or webmaster of the website. They can be divided into groups: session or browsing cookies, which guarantee the normal navigation and use of the website (allowing, for example, to shop or login to access restricted areas); analytic cookies, considered technical cookies if used directly by the website operator to collect aggregate traffic data; functional cookies, which allow navigation according to a series of criteria chosen by the user (for example, language, selected products etc.) in order to improve the service. These kind of cookies can be installed without the user prior consent.
Profiling cookies are meant to create user profiles and used in order to send advertising messages based on the preferences expressed by the user while surfing the internet. Considering the potential high invasiveness of such cookies within users’ private sphere, the Italian and European Legislation require both proper information and expression of a valid consent. According to article 122 of the Privacy Law “the storage of information in the terminal equipment of a user or the access to already stored information are only permitted after the user’s informed consent according to the procedures defined in article 13, paragraph 3, Privacy Law).”
Session and Persistent Cookies
Session cookies contain information used in your current browser session. These cookies are automatically deleted when you close your browser. Nothing is stored on your computer after you leave the website.
Persistent cookies are used to retain user preferences during the period between one visit and the next one, or to improve website navigation. Websites are therefore able to recognize if you are a new or existing user and adapt consequently. Persistent cookies are stored for a period of time determined by the website, from a few minutes to a few years.
These two types of cookies can be divided into two additional groups:
- First-party cookies, directly managed by the owner or administrator of the website
- Third-party cookies, created and managed by external domains rather than by the visited website
List of cookies on this website
- Essential. Essential cookies are necessary to allow for certain requested applications. On our websites, some functions such as facilitated login to our services, cannot work without cookies and may influence your experience on the website and the possibility of doing something useful. Cookies that are essential for a website, are exempt pursuant to EU directive, yet we prefer you to be fully informed about their functioning.
- Functional cookies are used to provide services or to remind settings to improve your visit and experience on our website. We use functional cookies to share information with our partners to provide a service on our website. Shared information is used only to provide the product, service or function and not for other purposes.
- Statistical cookies gather information on how you use our website and our services, for example the visited pages, and possible errors. These cookies are completely anonymous and are used only to help improve the functioning of our website and understand our users’ interests.
- All the graphic components of a user software interface used to facilitate the user in interacting with the software. For example, facebook, google+, twitter cookies are widgets. Further information on privacy and their use can be found on the respective providers’ websites.
How do they work and how can they be deleted?
Cookie functionality, as well as options for restricting or blocking cookies, can be managed by changing the settings of the user’s web browser.
In addition, users can visit the website www.aboutcookies.org for information on how to manage/delete cookies according to the web browser used.
In order to delete cookies from the web browser on a smartphone or tablet, users must refer to the device’s instruction manual.