Fact Sheets

Cookies – Following the crumbs

When you use a computer to visit a website, the website places a small piece of text, called a cookie, onto your computer.  The cookie is used to save information about you and the site.  Examples of such information might include your language preference or previous interactions.

There are different types of cookies.  Some of these can also be used to track what you do on the web, without you knowing or agreeing to it.  Cookies can be used to create detailed profiles about where you browse, as well as other information about you.  These profiles can be used to make certain advertisements show up on your screen when you browse the web.  This is called Behavioural Advertising or targeted advertising.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has prepared some responses to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).  Tracking, profiling and targeting people online is of concern to the OPC.  We have also developed a fact sheet that provides detailed information on cookies, the privacy challenges they present and how you can try to control them.

May 2011