Cookies are small strings of texts that sites the user visits send to their terminal (usually to the browser), where they are saved to then be sent back to those sites the next time the same user visits again. In addition to cookies, other similar tools (web beacons/web bugs, clear GIFs, and others) that make it possible to identify the user or the terminal are also subject to the Provision from the Italian Data Protection Authority.
While browsing a website, users may also receive cookies at their terminal that may be sent by other sites or web servers (known as “third parties”) that may contain certain elements (such as images, maps, sounds, and specific links to pages in other domains) present on the website the users are visiting.
Cookies, which are usually found in large numbers in user browsers and which at times can also remain there for long periods, are used for various purposes: to execute IT authentications, monitor sessions, store information on specific configurations regarding the users who access the server, etc. More information about cookies can be found at www.allaboutcookies.org.
In order to correctly regulate these devices, they must be distinguished given that there are no technical characteristics that set them apart from each other based precisely on the goals pursued by those who use them. Steps in this direction have however been taken by the legislator who, by implementing the dispositions set forth in directive 2009/136/EC, has brought back the obligation to acquire informed consent in advance from users to the installation of cookies used for purposes other than the purely technical (see art. 1, section 5, subsection a) of Legislative Decree 28 May 2012, n. 69, which modifies art. 122 of the Code).