Cookies are small text files that the websites visited by the user automatically send to his terminal (usually the browser), where they are stored before being re-transmitted to the same sites on the occasion of a subsequent visit by the same user. While browsing a site, the user can also receive cookies on his terminal that are sent from different sites or web servers (so-called “third parties”), on which some elements may reside (such as, for example, images, maps, sounds, specific links to pages of other domains) present on the site that the same is visiting.
Cookies, usually present in users’ browsers in very large numbers and sometimes also with characteristics of wide temporal persistence, are used for different purposes: execution of computer authentication, session monitoring, storage of information on specific configurations concerning users who access to the server, etc.
In order to arrive at a correct regulation of these devices, it is necessary to distinguish them, given that there are no technical characteristics that differentiate them from each other. In this regard, the privacy guarantor, most recently in the provision of 8 May 2014, identified two macro-categories of cookies: “technical” and “profiling” ones.
Technical cookies are those used for the sole purpose of “transmitting a communication over an electronic communications network, or to the extent strictly necessary for the provider of an information society service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user to provide this service “. They are not used for other purposes and are normally installed directly by the owner or manager of the website. They can be divided into navigation or session cookies, which guarantee the normal navigation and use of the website (allowing, for example, to make a purchase or authenticate to access restricted areas); analytics cookies, similar to technical cookies when used directly by the site manager to collect information, in aggregate form, on the number of users and how they visit the site; functionality cookies, which allow the user to browse according to a series of selected criteria (for example, the language, the products selected for purchase) in order to improve the service provided. For the installation of these cookies, the prior consent of the users is not required, while the obligation to provide the information pursuant to art. 13 and 14 of the European Regulation.
Profiling cookies are designed to create profiles related to the user and are used in order to send advertising messages in line with the preferences expressed by the user while surfing the net. Due to the particular invasiveness that such devices may have in the private sphere of users, European and Italian legislation provides that the user must be adequately informed on the use of the same and thus express their valid consent.
A further element to consider, for the purposes of the correct definition of the matter in question, is the subjective one. That is, it is necessary to take into account the different subject that installs cookies on the user’s terminal, depending on whether it is the same operator of the site that the user is visiting (which can be briefly referred to as “publisher”) or a site different that installs cookies through the first (so-called “third parties”).
Cookies can be disabled. Most browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.) are configured to accept cookies. However, most browsers allow you to control and even disable cookies through your browser settings. We remind you, however, that disabling navigation or technical cookies can cause the site to malfunction and / or limit the service offered by this site.