What are Cookies?
Cookies are small text files sent from the site to the user's terminal (usually the browser), where they are stored before being re-transmitted to the site on the next visit by the same user. A cookie cannot retrieve any other data from the user's hard drive or transmit computer viruses or acquire email addresses. Each cookie is unique to the user's web browser. Some of the functions of cookies can be delegated to other technologies. In this document, the term 'cookie' refers both to cookies, properly so-called, and to all similar technologies.
Type of cookies
Cookies can be first or third party, where “first party” means cookies that report the site as the domain, while “third party” means cookies that are related to external domains. Third-party cookies are necessarily installed by an external subject, always defined as a “third party”, not managed by the site. These subjects may possibly also install first-party cookies, saving their own cookies on the site's domain. Another type of cookie is the so-called “Flash Cookie” (Local Shared Objects), used within Adobe Flash Player to deliver certain contents, such as video clips or animations, in order to remember settings and preferences. Flash cookies are stored on the device, but are managed through a different interface than the one provided by the browser used.
Nature of Cookies
With regard to the nature of cookies, there are different types:
Technical cookies are those used for the sole purpose of “carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network, or as strictly necessary for the provider of an information society service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user to provide this service” (cf. art. 122, paragraph 1, of the Code). 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 normal navigation and use of the website (allowing, for example, to make a purchase or authenticate to access restricted areas); they are in fact necessary for the correct functioning of the site.
- 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, in order to improve site performance.
- functionality cookies, which allow the user to navigate according to a series of selected criteria (for example, the language, the products selected for purchase) in order to improve the service rendered to the same. For the installation of these cookies, the prior consent of the users is not required (more information in the Cookie management paragraph below).
Profiling cookies are designed to create user profiles and are used to send advertising messages in line with the preferences expressed by the user while surfing the net. For the use of profiling cookies, the consent of the interested party is required.