What are Cookies and What They do for Privacy (Infographic)

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What are Cookies and What They do for Privacy (Infographic)

The topic of cookies seems to come up more as part of the larger privacy discussion. There are apparently cookies creeping into our information, taking bits of us and sending it to anyone who we can imagine wouldn’t want to see it. All of the search engines use them, the advertisers, Facebook and social networks. With all of this fear, uncertainty and doubt floating around it seems like a good time to look at the basics. Understanding what cookies are and what they are capable of will help us all use the web a little better. The following infographic and illustrations attempt to visualize the basics behind web cookies:

What are Cookies and What They do for Privacy (Infographic)

(Click to enlarge)

To embed this infogrphic to your blog, please use the following code:

<p style=”text-align: center;”><a href=””><img title=”Cookies Infographic” src=”×1024.png” alt=”” width=”272″ height=”1024″ /></a></p>

The Privacy Problem

While cookies are theoretically available only to one site, advertising companies get around this by pointing all of the cookies through a single domain and it’s servers. They can share this information from their servers without restrictions. They could do something as simple as preventing you from seeing an ad twice in a row as you navigate through pages.

All of the major search engines use cookies. When you see that you are persistently logged into a site as you navigate through various pages, that’s using your browsers stored text. From Google’s Privacy Policy: “Google uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. Cookies help us keep keep a record of your preferences, like whether you want your search results in English or French, or if you use our SafeSearch filter. Without cookies, Google wouldn’t be able to remember what different people like. We also use cookies to provide advertising more relevant to your interest.”

You could theoretically block all cookies within your browser. However, so many functions of various sites rely on these features. Most browsers have some level of selectively managing cookie files and selected sites


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Brian E. Young

W graphic designer and illustrator who blogs and podcasts about creativity at