Cookies: the most consequential Web technology

This content is over 2 years old. It may be obsolete and may not reflect the current opinion of the author.

I was meant to expand my thoughts on cookies previously blabbed on Twitter, but NPR’s Planet Money did a much better job than I did there: How the cookie became a monster.

(Obligatory stock photo. Photo by Lisa Fotios on

The episode faithfully covered how cookies was invented at Netscape out of the necessity to enable commerce on the Web, and how DoubleClick repurposed it to enable targeted advertising. The episode also covered GDPR and mentioned browser vendors’ eventual plan to phase out cookies.

What the episode didn’t mention was how targeted advertising was abused to enable foreign interferences on democratic elections.

As an informational piece, they didn’t cover opinions on politics between and within browser vendors on deprecating cookies. That’s maybe something I am not in the position to comment either.

Anyway, like every technology, there are abuses and unintended consequences, even the democracy-destroy ones.