If you use the Internet at all, you have probably noticed that many websites have a banner that asks you to consent to the placing of cookies on your device. In fact, with multiple privacy laws now requiring certain websites to have a cookie consent banner, the prevalence of these banners is only increasing. Your website will need a cookie consent banner if:
- Your website collects cookies (if no cookies are collected then there is nothing for the user to consent to and thus a consent banner is not needed); and
- The privacy laws that require cookie consent banners apply to you.
But how do you actually know if your website collects cookies? The fact is that most modern websites collect cookies so it’s pretty safe to assume that yours does as well. In this article, we will explain what cookies are, how they are used, and how you can determine if your website collects cookies.
Table of Contents
What are cookies?
Cookies are small pieces of data sent from a website and stored on your device by your browser. Cookies are used to track a particular individual or user as they perform certain actions.
How are cookies used?
- Remembering account login information;
- Remembering language preferences;
- Ensuring security of a website or of sensitive information (e.g. credit card details);
- Remembering what a user added to their cart;
- Tracking a user to show them relevant advertisements;
- Tracking a user to determine what pages they clicked on, how they found a website, and how long they stayed on particular pages;
- Tracking what videos a user watched on a website.
Option 1: Scan your website
Option 2: Features
- Google Analytics or any other similar analytics programs;
- Google AdSense;
- Facebook Pixel, Twitter advertising, LinkedIn Insights or similar advertising whether the user is tracked;
- eCommerce features;
- Account logins.
If you are unsure as to whether your website has any of the above features, you should ask your website designer or developer as they would be aware of the features listed above.
Option 3: Inspect in Chrome
Another way to determine whether your website utilizes cookies is to use the “Inspect” feature in Chrome by following the steps below (please note that other browsers offer this type of feature as well):
Step 1: Right click on the website and click “Inspect”:
Step 2: Click “Application” at the top of the page:
Step 3: Navigate to the “Cookies” tab on the left. You will then see a list of all of the cookies that the website has placed on your device. If the list has any cookies on it, then that means that your website does collect cookies. If the list is blank, then that means that your website does not collect cookies (make sure that you have all cookie blocking features disabled prior to taking the steps above).
You can also check whether a website utilizes cookies via Chrome by clicking the icon next to the site URL on the address bar:
Step 4: Click “Cookies and site data.
Cookies: next steps