The browser, which always initiates communication, can store at least 20 cookies per server. When that connection is made, these digital cookies, which are pieces of information, offer customized service.

Every time Victoria Navarro surfs the internet, she leaves a digital trail. It all starts with her as a user. Her computer, which has a unique ID, becomes visible and is identified by the local area network. Thus, the default gateway opens and the user goes online, to enter a browser called Google. In this search engine, the user enters an address. The letters she presses on the keyboard become zeros and ones that are processed by the domain name system, better known as DNS tables. These give the user the number that identifies the server (IP), hosted on the other side of the device that allows computers to connect: the Router.

When a connection is established, the server shares the contents of to the browser: a website that offers Japanese cartoons. The browser then detects a previous link with the site, and the server continues the interaction asking if pieces of stored data are present. The cookies are there.

Personalized page for Victoria.

The server takes the information of these technical and personalization cookies and verifies the user to know who she is. At that time, Victoria is recognized by the nickname Kyubey08. For the server, she is not a stranger. It knows that she prefers to read the cartoons in waterfall format, knows the contents she has already read and saved her favourites. All this data collected helps to suggest what Kyubey08 likes. This is how she pays the entrance to the site: making known her behaviour patterns.

While Victoria starts reading a story, session cookies act inadvertently and go down the networks, within packets of information that use the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). These are read by a programming language called JavaScript and rest in a web host.

At the same time, there are other cookies involved: advertising and those of external social networks, which absorb every movement of Victoria, provided she does not cancel her account. It was enough to ask, only once, if she allowed the use of cookies for them to be stored and gather more and more information. She has already left a fingerprint that, with each new entry to the site, achieves greater clarity.

And at the same time the bits of information flow from the browser. The web analytics tool known as Google Analytics sends cookies that generate information about Victoria’s use of, data that then goes to Google’s servers in the United States.

When detecting the frequency with which Victoria visits, the browser anchors it to the main page.

In four months the browser has accumulated 710 cookies, ready from the beginning to record user habits. That data forms the Big Data, which is already part of Victoria’s digestive system, stored in gigabytes. But with each entry and exit of the web, these information packages, although born from the protagonist, remain in the hands of servers and browsers. Victoria’s data no longer belong to her.

Author: Daniela Minotti


I am young adult who is not just learning in college, but also having experiences that leave an imprint in the way I look at things. In other words, I am just as lost as you.


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