Who gave me that cookie?

When browsing to a website that site may set cookies for itself or third party cookies. I am not delving into this here, suffice to say that third party cookies are generally considered the ones to avoid at all cost. But how do you know what cookies are being set?

I use three different browsers across the systems I use personally. Safari on my iPhone has cookies disabled completely. I use Safari and Brave on the Mac and on there I have an app called Cookie (SweetP Productions, Inc.) set to delete cookies that I have not whitelisted every minute unless I click an icon to turn this off temporarily. On my Linux PC I use Firefox with not specific settings but set to delete cookies on exit. And on my Windows PC I use a mixture of Firefox and Brave, but I rarely use this system to browse websites other than a select few that I use regularly. This works for me, but generally speaking is not a good solution for ‘the many’ because things will break.

So… Safari on the Mac tells me what trackers have been prevented from profiling me. Brave has a similar function, and Cookie sits there eating cookies but does have a display to tell me how many there are etc. Going back to the comic website that I browse daily Cookie tells me it sets 17 cookies regardless of whether I reject or accept them.

Enter a website that I discovered today while reviewing content on the excellent noyb.eu. https://webbkoll.dataskydd.net/en

The code behind this website analyses websites and shows all sorts of things including cookies set, and also requests made to other servers – when you browse to a website very often that site causes your browser to visit other sites for parts of the whole, media and imagery for example. One must remember it is not the website you visit doing this, it is that website causing your browser to do it. The webbkoll website teases all of this out and displays it for you to see.

I was rather surprised to note that webbkoll finds 53 cookies at the comic website, not the 17 that I could see reported by my browsers and by Cookie. That may in part be because Safari genuinely blocks some, but to get down to 17 from 53 this is quote a lot. Webbkoll details them all too.

Webbkoll is definitely another very useful tool when trying to figure out what a given website is trying to do.

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