Digitization has changed today’s world and extended the time we spend on the internet every day. Tasks that we used to be only able to do physically are now within our reach online. This saves us time and effort, but all our attention and work has shifted to the World Wide Web. Consequently the risk of us (internet users) or our data being abused has greatly increased. Web cookies are a part of most websites, thus they are hard to avoid when browsing the internet. Precisely because of the inevitability of online cookies, it is essential to know and understand them. In the theoretical part of my thesis we get to know web cookies – their good and bad qualities.
The purpose of this master's thesis is to present the concept of using web cookies through a legal and sociological aspect. The legal aspect is explained with existing legislation, with a focus on the most recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The social aspect is explained through available published research with addition of a small survey I conducted myself.
The master's thesis leads us to a realization that legal certainty exists in the field of web cookies. However, due to the wide scope and reach of the World Wide Web, the field is very difficult to regulate and enforce laws and regulations. An occurring problem is also transmitting legal regulations from theory to practice. While internet users nominally recognize privacy as a value and they feel threatened by the possibility of abuse, their actions and behavior do not confirm this. I conclude my thesis on user’s education being a big part of their safeness on the internet.