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Browser cookies

Cookies are small pieces of information that a servers sends to the browser with the purpose to send these back to the server when the user visits the same site in the future. This is an easy way to gather information about Internet users. The disadvantage is that end users often are unaware of what is exactly stored on their device.

Thanks to cookies, using the Internet can be a nicer experience. But we should consider both the pros and the cons of the use of cookies on websites.

Advantages of cookies

  • Cookies can be used to track and combat illegal actions on the Internet.
  • A user is able to save website preferences and options for a future visit. This allows the user to get a personalized experience with that website. For example a username can be saved, or timezone settings.

Disadvantages of cookies

  • Cookie can harm an individual's privacy; many people choose to stay anonymous while browsing the web.
  • Advertisements often rely on cookies. Cookies can help create personalized advertisements, tailoreed to each individual. (This can be a disavantage, but an advantage as well)
  • Cookies can track who you you are, save information about the hardware you use to surf on the Internet, what browser you use and other types of information.


Resources

  • Understanding user-agent strings via Microsoft Developer Network
  • In computing, a user agent is software (a software agent) that is acting on behalf of a user. For example, an email reader is a mail user agent, and in the SIP, the term user agent refers to both end points of a communications session. In HTTP, the User-Agent string is often used for content negotiation, where the origin server selects suitable content or operating parameters for the response. For example, the User-Agent string might be used by a web server to choose variants based on the known capabilities of a particular version of client software. (via Wikipedia)