What is a cookie?
A cookie is a small text file that is stored by websites on users’ computers in order to remember information. Cookies usually have a limited lifespan. The website can communicate with this, even if the website is visited again at a later time. A cookie can not place a virus on a computer.
What is a cookie used for?
The information in a cookie is specific to you and the website. For example, a cookie is used to remember your user name with a login system so that it does not always have to be entered. Or for remembering the contents of a shopping cart during the online shopping process.
There are also cookies that are used, for example, to see how many visitors come to the website and which surfing behavior they exhibit. This is very valuable information for website managers with which they can improve the website and the service offered. This type of cookies is usually provided by an outsourced company such as Google and is therefore called “third party cookies”. A website administrator has no direct control over these cookies if he uses this service on his website.
With effect from 5 June 2012, a law came into effect in the Netherlands about the placing of cookies. The law distinguishes between cookies that are necessary for the proper functioning of the website and cookies that are not. For the latter category, the law states that permission must first be given by the website visitor before a website can place such cookies. Cookies for tracking web statistics also fall into this category. The law also applies to all foreign websites that are viewed in the Netherlands.