"Cookies" are a building block of the modern web that can be used for many things. A cookie allows your browser to record information that can be used later when you revisit a website. This isn't necessarily evil – a cookie might only record a preference like a chosen font size, if that is an option on the website. However they can also be used to save things like identifiers which can be used later to identify an individual.
Of the nearly 54,000 words in the GDPR, "cookie" only appears once. But the repercussions of this one word are huge. In essence, if a cookie can be combined with other information to potentially track a citizen of the European Union, then you must get permission from the person before you record that information.
Nearly every website in the world uses analytics of some form to determine if people are visiting their site. Detecting this requires recording a little information to distinguish unique users across the site, and cookies are the simplest way to achieve this.
We would like distinguish several pieces of information to allow us to improve our website and enhance the parts which are in demand:
- How many users visit the website?
- Which pages are they visiting?
- How long do people read these pages on average? (Short visits indicate the page isn't interesting/useful)
This is all examined in aggregate, not on an individual user basis. We use the industry standard Google Analytics tool to perform this. Additionally, users don't need to participate in order to use our website fully.