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Michael Gilligan27/01/2021 09:47:00
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17328 forum posts
787 photos

We often see [on the privacy pages of websites] words to the effect of : “Cookies are small data files stored on your computer ... “

I refuse as many as practical, and purge the others when convenient, but it’s surprising just how big some of these ‘small’ files can be surprise

Here’s a snapshot of the top of today’s list:

.

519fe78e-321a-4ae2-9f36-b8d2a077c622.jpeg

.

Several of those are bigger than the first Hard Disk Drive that I purchased.

MichaelG.

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.

P.S. __ and I don’t even use Facebook !!

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 27/01/2021 09:48:46

not done it yet27/01/2021 10:04:01
5626 forum posts
20 photos

I suspect it is only the bottom three which were not bigger?

Our first computer managed to operate with only 32 kB of RAM and no hard disk. The stored memory was on 100kB floppy discs (and that may have been 50kB on each side).

Russell Eberhardt27/01/2021 10:16:38
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2623 forum posts
85 photos

They are all bigger than my first hard drive!

Russell

Frances IoM27/01/2021 10:55:19
1002 forum posts
27 photos
they are not cookies but preloaded web images etc in your cache - many pages have a header that loads many images so that they are available for next time - there are extensions for firefox that allow you to block certain sites - personally I'd block the majority of that list as the companies usually drop many trackers and provide you with no benefit - always block 3rd party cookies as these are trackers.

Edited By Frances IoM on 27/01/2021 10:56:03

Clive Hartland27/01/2021 11:35:04
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2647 forum posts
40 photos

Using CCleaner seems to sort out all the useless files that get put on the hard disk.

Howard Lewis27/01/2021 11:35:53
4448 forum posts
8 photos

I've set mine (Can't remember exactly how ) to delete all cookies at each shut down.

The hope is that by so doing, we shall not be plagued by unwanted pop ups, or telephone calls.

Anyone noticed a lot more scam calls purporting to be from Amazon, just lately?

They usually give them selves away by having too many zeroes on the area code. Prerecorded or it would be nice to chat to someone, if only to waste their time and bill!

Howard

Edited By Howard Lewis on 27/01/2021 11:36:17

Michael Gilligan27/01/2021 13:12:14
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17328 forum posts
787 photos

Whilst I have absolutely no objection to the rapid digression ... I must just mention that my real interest was the astonishing size of some of these small [sic] files.

If anyone can explain what might be contained therein, I would be interested !

... Where and when was the definition of a 'small text file' ?

MichaelG.

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.

[quote]

A cookie is a small text file that websites pass to your computer through your web browser. Its purpose is to extend the website's functionality and create a better user experience, usually through personalization, session management, and tracking. A cookie might save user inputs, shopping carts, login information, or wish lists. It can also be used for advertising and analytics.

[/quote]

Ref. **LINK**

https://www.osano.com/articles/how-cookies-work

Journeyman27/01/2021 14:12:40
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903 forum posts
166 photos

As Frances IoM said earlier, those files are too large for cookies. In Firefox all cookies are stored in one file within the users profile. The file name is 'cookies.sqllite' (an sql database file) at present on my system this file is only 2.1MB. I expect other browsers use a similar regime for cookie storage.

John

Michael Gilligan27/01/2021 14:51:16
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17328 forum posts
787 photos
Posted by Journeyman on 27/01/2021 14:12:40:

As Frances IoM said earlier, those files are too large for cookies. In Firefox all cookies are stored in one file within the users profile. The file name is 'cookies.sqllite' (an sql database file) at present on my system this file is only 2.1MB. I expect other browsers use a similar regime for cookie storage.

John

.

Sorry, John & Frances

Yes, I do realise that the size is inflated by 'website data' ... but [for example], I do not use Facebook

It's the lack of probity & clarity that concerns me : It may only be 'a small text file' that they initially place on my machine, but why then is it so big now ?

Next time I clear the iPad I will note the size of some of these 'at first appearance'

MichaelG.

Calum Galleitch27/01/2021 15:27:06
20 forum posts

The initial screenshot shows "Website Data", not cookies. I am not up to speed on the details but there are now other mechanisms for storing information on your computer than cookies. In theory, of course, all to your benefit if you are not having to download the same thing over and over, but who knows?

Michael Gilligan27/01/2021 16:13:21
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17328 forum posts
787 photos
Posted by Calum Galleitch on 27/01/2021 15:27:06:

The initial screenshot shows "Website Data", not cookies. I am not up to speed on the details but there are now other mechanisms for storing information on your computer than cookies. In theory, of course, all to your benefit if you are not having to download the same thing over and over, but who knows?

.

Indeed it does [it’s from the iPad, and that's how they show it] ... hence the chosen title for my thread.

MichaelG.

duncan webster27/01/2021 16:19:14
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3068 forum posts
40 photos

I've stopped using Arc Euro's website as it doesn't give the option of refusing cookies. I think that I'm supposed to opt in, which I never do

Fowlers Fury27/01/2021 16:27:48
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362 forum posts
82 photos

It is infuriating now that when opening most websites, you're required to approve or reject "non-essential" cookies before it will load.
I have though found one solution which works on 90% of websites. It's a free add-on for Firefox and Chrome called "Behind the Overlay". Firefox version:-

**LINK**

It places a small icon in the search bar, or you can Shift+Alt+x. When confronted by the cookie overlay, either click on the icon or use the 3 key combination and the cookie overlay disappears and access the site as normal.
A few sites then block scrolling but there's a work-around described.

Fowlers Fury27/01/2021 16:30:57
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362 forum posts
82 photos

Duncan, just used "Behind the Overlay" on Arc Euro's site and that cookie overlay disappeared leaving normal access.

(Typo corrected)

Edited By Fowlers Fury on 27/01/2021 16:31:40

SillyOldDuffer27/01/2021 17:02:09
Moderator
6877 forum posts
1539 photos

We need a Safari expert, but I think Michael's report is of the total storage taken by those websites on his computer. They're not individual files, rather it's space taken by many files, or more likely the same data in database records.

'Web Data' is cached web pages, cookies, and other objects plus web history, maybe all going back to the year dot.

Michael's useful 'whodunnit ' view comes from the Browser or a Cache Viewing app. But Firefox stores web data by type, making it easier to see what it is. Here's what Linux says Firefox has stored on my computer.

webdata.jpg

217Mb in total of which only 1.6Mb is cookies, i.e. it's true - they are small files. The big boys on my machine are:

82Mb of favicons cached locally to improve performance

76Mb places also cached locally to improve performance

and

58Mb webappsstore - the plugins & addons I've loaded into my Browser.

How much storage is consumed depends on the owners privacy policy settings, the type of material browsed, and how many web queries are done.

Is material stored on our computers and shared across the web a privacy problem? I think so. For good and bad you are being tracked.

Dave

clivel27/01/2021 19:45:36
311 forum posts
13 photos

As others have noted, what Michael is seeing is cached data and not cookies. Cached data is used to minimise network traffic and also to reduce page load times.

For example, when viewing this site, I regularly see the same adverts and images over and over, so rather than my browser downloading them each and every time, they are downloaded only once, only to be downloaded again after a preset expiry time or when they change.

As far as I am aware most browsers allow the user to control the maximum cache size, but this is often an advanced setting and should be left well alone.

Cookies, on the other hand, are small. They are restricted to a maximum of a few kilobytes each, and a browser will only store a limited number of cookies for each site.

Cookies are not the malignant force that so many seem to think they are, but can instead be very useful. For example, I like it if I visit a shopping site, don't complete my order and come back a few days later to find my shopping cart still contains the items I have added. Or when I visit a forum such as this which has saved my login information to save me typing it in again.

Of course, cookies, like most things, can be used for nefarious purposes, but do I really care if a site shows me ads related to my interests or not, I tend to ignore most ads anyway. It should be noted that only the site that placed the cookie can read it. Cookies can not be used for transferring data from one site to the next.

I routinely accept all cookies, and rarely delete them unless I am working on a computer that is not my own, The time, hassle and inconvenience really isn't worth it.

Clive

Peter Greene27/01/2021 22:49:37
123 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by duncan webster on 27/01/2021 16:19:14:

I've stopped using Arc Euro's website as it doesn't give the option of refusing cookies. I think that I'm supposed to opt in, which I never do

I've noticed many sites do give an option with two buttons: <Accept> or <Customise> cookies.

If you go to <Customise> all cookies are off except necessary cookies for local site navigation (fair enough). The implication is that this set-up is the default you would get if you took the original <Accept>.

I don't believe it.

(Sorry Michael)

Bill Phinn28/01/2021 15:52:57
452 forum posts
77 photos
Posted by Peter Greene on 27/01/2021 22:49:37:
Posted by duncan webster on 27/01/2021 16:19:14:

I've stopped using Arc Euro's website as it doesn't give the option of refusing cookies. I think that I'm supposed to opt in, which I never do

I've noticed many sites do give an option with two buttons: <Accept> or <Customise> cookies.

If you go to <Customise> all cookies are off except necessary cookies for local site navigation (fair enough). The implication is that this set-up is the default you would get if you took the original <Accept>.

(Sorry Michael)

What happens with the cookies if, instead of clicking on either accept or customize, you just close the window by clicking on the x at top right?

Calum Galleitch28/01/2021 15:58:00
20 forum posts
Posted by clivel on 27/01/2021 19:45:36:

Of course, cookies, like most things, can be used for nefarious purposes

On top of this, it is worth knowing that almost every user on the internet is uniquely identified by your IP, browser, operating system, and other information that is sent by default to every website on the internet. If 'they' want to know who you are, it's not a problem for them.

Peter Greene28/01/2021 16:01:24
123 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by Bill Phinn on 28/01/2021 15:52:57:

What happens with the cookies if, instead of clicking on either accept or customize, you just close the window by clicking on the x at top right?

Dunno .... I've always assumed the site owners take the attitude "we gave you the chance to opt out but you didn't take it ... so we'll assume you're opting in".

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