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More websites are asking you to accept cookies: should you say yes or no?

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Posted at 8:25 AM, Mar 20, 2024

Most of us love cookies, especially when they are fresh from the oven.

But not "third-party cookies," which are one of the primary ways businesses track you online.

If you are worried about your privacy, many sites now allow you to turn off cookies as you browse and shop.

But internet security expert Dave Hatter of Intrust IT Security says many cookies are good, or else you would have to log in to your favorite websites constantly.

"If you block all cookies, you are going to have all kinds of problems. Many websites will not work at all," he said. "Without cookies, every single time you would do something, it would require you to authenticate and log in again."

On random entertainment sites, however, Hatter said cookies may track your location or other information.

"Like so many things, it kind of spun out of control, and you see cookies used for nefarious purposes," Hatter said.

Google cracking down on widespread use of cookies

Thomas Germain, a tech reporter with Gizmodo, said Google is on a cookie-killing spree, disabling the feature for 30 million Chrome users at the start of the year.

"It is a really significant privacy improvement," Germain said. "Although, Google is just replacing cookies with a different technology that tracks you in a slightly more private way.”

Google’s plan will also turn the business model of the internet on its head, according to Germain.

"There are going to be massive ripple effects for the ways that all of these different internet-based companies make money," he said”

There is a distinction between third-party cookies and first-party cookies, which remember things like log-in information and what you have in your shopping car.

Hatter recommends not blocking all cookies.

"The better approach generally is to block third-party cookies," he said.

For now, you can block third-party cookies by clicking on “settings” and “privacy and security” in your browser or simply don't click that "accept" button. You can also use a browser that does not allow access to cookies

That way you don't waste your money.

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