We are going to explain to you what is and how does the TrustPid supercookie work, a new alternative system to cookies to track what you do on the Internet, and that you will not be able to block from the browser. It is a joint project of the four main Internet operators.
We will try to explain everything to you in the simplest way possible. For this, we will start by reminding you of what exactly cookies are, and then we will go on to describe what this alternative proposed by the operators is. Then, we will explain to you in a simple way how it works, and we will end by telling you what we know about when they could arrive.
What are cookies
A cookie is a data file that a website sends to your computer or mobile when you visit it. And when you visit the page again, thanks to these information files may who you are and what things have you done beforekeeping you logged in so you don’t have to do it all the time, and remembering possible changes and specific configurations that you have made on the web.
Some companies, such as Facebook and other advertising services, insert cookie packages in many of the websites you visit on the Internet, even if they are not related to their services. Come on, although cookies themselves are not bad, some companies can make abusive use of them and use them to record everything you do, something that if you like to maintain your privacy online you may not like it.
Fortunately, in Europe, websites are obliged to notify you and ask you which cookies you want to allow to be installed in your browser the first time you visit them. This is thanks to the GDPR, the regulations that regulate the protection of the data of citizens living in the European Union.
When you enter a website for the first time, you will see that a cookie notice will always appearand this is the mandatory notice with which you can accept them all or configure them manually to, for example, accept the useful ones but not the advertising ones or the ones that spy on you.
In addition to this, the goodbye to third-party cookies is getting closer, since the main browsers in the world are going to start blocking them. According to Google, in 2024 Chrome will begin to block these third-party cookies, so useful internal web cookies will remain, but those used by advertising companies to spy on you and extract your data will always be blocked by default.
What is the TrustPid supercookie?
Between the fact that European standards mean that in many cookie configurations we have a button to reject all of them, and that in a few months all third-party cookies will begin to be blocked by the main browsers, this improvement for our privacy is a problem for some of the companies that extract advertising profitability from the data that they extracted through third-party cookies.
Within this framework, the four main European telephone operators have created a joint venture called TrustPid, a kind of joint venture between Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone. This project seeks, according to what they say, “to support the marketing and digital advertising activities of brands and publishers.”
What this joint venture wants to achieve is create a new system to identify you digitally and be able to continue tracking your browsing habits and preferences when you browse the internet. This system that they want to implement is popularly known as “supercookie”.
With this, we can say that a supercookie is a cookie that you will not be able to block. In this way, even if you or your browser blocks third-party cookies that are used to track what you do on the Internet, advertising companies will still have an alternative to spy on all the pages you visit and the content that interests you.
How the super cookie works
To track you, this system will create a digital token called TrustPid, which will assign a fixed IP to each user. And so, with this identifier you can keep track of the sites you visit.
This means that the supercookie will not install anything in your browser, but will be the ISP itself, It will be the operator with which you connect to the Internet that imposes a kind of registration that will make it easier for them to track you when you visit web pages through their network.
With the data obtained with this IP that is assigned to you, a pseudonymous profile will be created that advertisers and publishers can use. Come on, these advertisers are not going to have data such as who you are or the browser you use, but they will be able to know that a certain user with a specific identifier has entered certain websites and could have certain specific tastes. And with this information, you can continue to send personalized advertising.
These digital tokens, these license plates that are going to be imposed on you, have a shorter lifespan than cookies. They will take less time to restart. Nevertheless, supercookies cannot be blocked from the browser or through adblock or other programs that work to block advertising or mask your IP, since you are identified at the level of your Internet service provider.
Good news is that you will have the possibility to disable this trace through the TrustPid page created for it. As reported by the operators, on this page you can review which brands and publishers you give permission to know your browsing habits. You will be able to deactivate supercookies for 90 days, and when this time has elapsed you will be able to deactivate them again.
When will they come into operation?
Currently, this joint venture of the four main operators have asked the European Commission for permission to start testing this new system. So everything will depend on whether the commission gives them permission to do so, and after the operators organize the pilot test.
The European Commission must decide on February 10which will be when we know if supercookies will start testing. Spain will be part of the tests of this system to track customers. Although Vodafone has assured us that it has no plans to implement them in Spain, Telefónica and Orange will participate in the pilot test.
Nevertheless, We don’t know a specific date yet. in which these tests could begin. First, the European Commission must decide, and then we will await what the operators announce. But you can be clear that in Xataka Basics we will explain to you when the day comes how they work and how to disable them.