You shouldn't accept Cookies on websites if you don’t want to leave "fingerprints" across the online world, Newstalk Tech Correspondent Jess Kelly has warned.
When you enter a new website, a pop up will inform you if the website uses “Cookies” to “personalise content” and asks you to accept their policy.
Jess said users in Europe do have the option to reject the Cookies – but they don’t always read the fine print.
“For example, there could be third-party Cookies,” she told Newstalk Breakfast.
“If you are looking to buy me some flowers – because I’m great – you go on website number one, but then you think, ‘Oh, she’s not worth €70’ and then you go on website number two and pay €50.
“The florist that was charging 70 quid for flowers could in theory get a report to say you left their website and then went onto this website.”
Jess noted Cookies offer useful information to businesses, but many consumers are not considering their options when browsing online.
“Then we're giving out when we're getting personalised ads or getting too much information,” she said.
“We leave little fingerprints no matter where we are in the online world and we’re too long into this internet game to be playing dumb.
“The information is there.”
Jess recommended taking a minute to scan the ‘manage options’ section when a website asks for you to accept Cookies so you know exactly how your online habits are being monitored.
“I'm not saying spend 20 minutes a day reading through the fine print on everything,” she said.
“But if there are websites you're visiting for the first time, for example, that you are going to be putting in personal information in or if you don't want that information tracking you around the web, just be a bit more confident that you don't have to click agree.
“They’re no longer allowed to make websites stop if you hit ‘do not agree’ - it just means you’re not leaving those little fingerprints behind.”
Jess also explained if you have accepted Cookies before, you can go into your browser settings and find an option to clear all previous data tracking.
In August, data regulators in the UK urged websites to allow users to ‘reject all Cookies’ via a single click, rather than making them manage all their Cookie options.