Cookies are small text files which are downloaded by the browser to the navigation software used by the User when he/she visits an internet site. The cookies are then successively retransmitted during the navigation session ("temporary cookies") or on every successive visit made by the User ("permanent cookies") to the site they came from or to any other site capable of recognising that specific cookie. This allows the site to recognise the navigation device of the individual user.

They are used by site managers to, amongst other things, remember the User's log-in data and then automatically recognise them (thus removing the need to retype username and password every time), to manage services such as home banking and online shopping, to personalise a website, to make navigation easier for the user, and, by checking the number of times the various web pages are accessed, present the information most frequently requested by the User more effectively. Sometimes cookies can come from third parties who are different from the manager of the site visited by the User ("third party cookies"). These cookies may or may not contain personal information about the user.

Cookies can generally be divided into 2 main categories:

Technical cookies, which include:

Profiling cookies, which include:

The data gathered using cookies is processed electronically. Use of cookies is voluntary.
Even though most of the browsers currently being used automatically accept cookies, the User has the option to configure his/her browser to block the downloading of cookies at any time and also to delete already-downloaded cookies from their navigation device.
For an illustration of the procedure used to block any cookie for the main browsers, follow these links:

Nonetheless, blocking cookies can slow down your browsing or prevent you accessing certain sections of the site. Deleting cookies already received will result in the deletion of the favourites saved and managed by those cookies.