The Law on Cookies

  Jeroen Seynhaeve     2021-07-13

Cookies are small pieces of programming code that are downloaded to your device’s internet browser when you visit a website.

Cookies and data privacy

Some cookies are only installed for as long as you visit the website and expire once you close your browser (“session cookies”), while others remain installed until you manually remove them (“persistent cookies”). Some cookies are installed by the website owner (“first-party cookies”) while other cookies are installed by third party applications that run on the website and may follow you around as you go from one website to another (“third-party cookies”). Some cookies are “strictly necessary” to make the website work. They include cookies that check whether you have previously consented to the use of cookies, and cookies that remember passwords for restricted content and shopping cart contents. Functional cookies (also known as “preferences cookies”) store the preferences you indicate when visiting a website, e.g. your language, or user account login details. Performance cookies (or “statistics cookies”) collect information about your website visit, such as the IP address of the device you use and the country where it connects to the internet, a timestamp, how you’ve sourced the website, and the pages you visit. Advertisement cookies (or “marketing cookies”) enable adverting companies to track your online activities from one website to another. This is known as “profiling” – tracking users across websites and devices by means of cookies, collecting all possible information, and aggregating all this information into individual or categorised user profiles with the purpose of building a marketable profile that can be targeted with relevant advertising.

You can see which cookies are currently installed on your device by opening your internet browser’s privacy settings, or view trackers in real-time by installing the Privacy Badger extension in your browser.

Cookies are allowed on South African websites, but only if the website has recorded specific consent as defined by POPIA (opt-in) before any cookies are activated (except for strictly necessary cookies).

Additionally, website owners must provide information about the data each cookie tracks and its purpose, allow users to access the website even if they refuse to consent to the use of certain cookies, and make it possible to withdraw consent at any time during the website usage.

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