Ethics of cookies

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Almost everyone here in Italy have his own favourite Bar and this beloved cafe is also the place where the barman doesn’t need to ask you what you want, he/she already knows what you want. You just get trough and ask for “Il solito!” and the barman gives you exactly what you are used to. A good cookie works this way, it is meant to learn to know you.

A cookie (in the web, for sure) is  a little strip of code, which is there to give you the best service at the right moment. To be able to do that, as a good barman, a good cookie have to track you down, to learn how you move and what you want, it must know when to smile and also when it’s time to be serious.

No matter what, you know that when you are entering a store, a shop or a restaurant, someone is watching you to give you the best service hoping that you will come back someday. Or indeed this is the way it should be, not everyone is a good salesman, being a good shop assistant requires talent and efforts. That’s the same we do on the internet, we as developer and designers try to provide the best possible service, using cookies.

In everyone’s life anyway, comes the day when you want to shop, to eat, to drink somewhere where no one is watching you, or at least where no one will remember you for any reason. That’s what I call a natural desire for privacy: “It’s a bad fur day ok? Just leave me alone!” and in this particular days you don’t head to your usual bar, you choose another one to stay on your own.

The same happens with the internet, but while surfing the web, having the perception of someone watching you is not an easy thing to everyone. This isn’t a big deal for my generation, we should know how to get rid of the cookies and how to surf without being tracked, but what about everyone else?

There is a lot of noise and debate around cookies in these days, that’s because the European law will change by the 2nd of june, very soon and in the future if someone wants to surf your website he will have to know that you are using cookies and he also will have to accept that. I must admit that I agree with this new law, it’s a right to everyone to be aware of someone tracking you even if it’s perfectly normal and it is also a good service.

In the end cookies are good, there will be the day when everybody knows that there is a bartender behind the bar, and this kind of laws will no longer be needed, but until that day we will have to be polite and to educate our customers.