Knowingly or not, most people encounter hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) cookies every time they browse the Internet. These tiny text files are created by websites and stored locally on a person’s computer, allowing the website to remember information about that person on subsequent visits. The capacity to recall how people have previously interacted with a website is integral to many Internet functions now considered standard. For instance, Internet shopping baskets and features that automatically prefill forms would not be possible without cookies. This entry examines what cookies are and how they work. It further considers why websites use cookies and the various uses to which they are put. Finally, this entry explores the privacy concerns posed by cookies and how these concerns have so far ...

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