Cookie Data We Collect

When you visit a web page, cookies can be both set on your computer (downloaded) and retrieved by the website (uploaded).

Due to the way pages are constructed and the technology of cookies works, visiting a single page once can trigger several upload events of each cookie, although they are typically downloaded only once for each page visit.

Each download/upload event is separately captured by the Firefox Cookie Collector plug-in and stored in the Cookiepedia database.

However, the Google Chrome based Cookie Auditor plug-in cannot record upload events, due to a limitation in the Chrome API.

Data Captured by Both Plug-ins

The following is the complete list of data attributes for each cookie download stored in our database by the Cookie Collector and Cookie Auditor.

The Cookie Collector captures this data for all pages visited automatically.  The Optanon Auditor only captures this data if the user sets it to record.

Name - the file name of cookie.

Host - the domain it is hosted on, or served from.

RawHost - the same as above but with an initial dot removed. This is generated by the plug-in. 

UrlDomain - the domain in browser address bar at the time the cookie is downloaded. If this is different from the Host, then it indicates a 3rd party cookie. This is generated by the plug-in.

Path - the location in the host domain where the cookie is set.

IsSecure - this is set if it is an https only cookie.

IsHttpOnly - this is set if the cookie can only be accessed by http, a level of security which prevents cross server scripting attacks.

IsSession - set if the cookie is session only.

Expires - the date when a persistent cookie is set to be deleted. Along with the timestamp of when it was collected, this enables us to calculate the life-span of the cookie.

IsNew - identifies whether a persistent cookie of the same name and host is already on the machine or not. This is generated by the plug-in and is used to determine how the cookie is recorded in the database, to prevent dublications and keep the overall size of the dataset as small as possible.

SessionId - this uniquely identifies a browser session. It is generated by the database and enables generation of statistics around the number of cookies set in a single browser session.

TimeStamp - the time stamp of each database record as it is created.  Enables calculation of life span for persistent cookies (from their expiry date).

BrowserId - a code that identifies the type of browser (e.g. Firefox, Chrome).  This is necessary because not all browsers enable collection of the same data.  For example, the Chrome plug-in cannot capture cookie up-load information.

Additional Data Captured by the Auditor Only

The Chrome-based Optanon Auditor captures additional information when it is set up to record data for a particular site.

This includes the values of the cookies downloaded (ie the data they contain), and the full page URL where they were found (rather than just the domain). This information is only accessed and used when we are conducting a cookie audit.  In many cases it helps to identify the purpose of the cookie.  This data is never published or made available except to our staff or customers who are paying for us to audit their website.

 

 

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