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August 2022

National (Chocolate Chip) Cookie Day

You may not be aware that today is National Cookie Day.  We don’t make cookies.  We like cookies but we don’t make them. Well not that kind of cookie anyway.

The ones we do make are the ones that go on your computer or mobile device. However, just like the glorious cookies that today’s 'National Day of' pays homage too, some cookies are a complex recipe.

We only make good cookies. In this sense, cookies are little bits of information stored on your device that are about you and/or your activities. Our cookies make shopping baskets work by remembering what you have put in them or recall that you have already logged into something, so you don’t have to log in again. Nice cookies, good cookies.

There are, however, many other cookies being stored on your machine that are available to 3rd parties, tracking your activity so you can be targeted with advertising. If used respectfully, these are also good cookies as advertising is the mechanism that makes all these services free. Think Google search, Facebook, Instagram, etc. All great products that you use and love that are completely free. The cost is seeing targeted advertising. This model, over a monthly fee for each of these services, is arguably the best model for all.

Unfortunately, the essential technology that allows for the flow and availability of personal data comes with its issues. Firstly, cookie pop-ups. Don't get us started. Secondly, cookies can, and often are, used for nefarious purposes. They can be used to track you, fingerprint your identity and even to gather data that is then sold on without your permission. They also allow hackers and spammers to target us in ways that we wouldn’t like to even think about.

Over the years this has rightly caused a lot of hullabaloo.

Cue - Privacy Sandbox. Whilst Apple (who's service isn't free and who don't make money from your data) address this without regard for the impact on the advertisers, Google (Chrome/search/Android) need this data to be usable to exist, and as such have been working on a solution that provides more protection without sacrificing the ability to use the data. The new standard rolling out in 2024 will do away with 3rd party cookies entirely by, amongst other things, not allowing the data to leave your device and forcing advertisers’ algorithms to make their decisions on your device so they never actually get to see your data. The service is extensive and as a package will be a major step forward in the battle against the nefarious use of your data.

Perhaps one day all cookies will be nice. Here's hoping.