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Checking a site for cookies

User Help for Mozilla Firefox
MozillaMonkey
 
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Joined: April 21st, 2008, 7:52 pm

Post Posted July 30th, 2020, 5:17 pm

How can we check if a site uses cookies?

This is not a trick question. It's a serious one.

Thanks!

mightyglydd

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Joined: November 4th, 2006, 7:07 pm
Location: Hollywood Ca.

Post Posted July 30th, 2020, 5:44 pm

#KeepFightingMichael and Alex.

jscher2000

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Joined: December 19th, 2004, 12:26 am
Location: Silicon Valley, CA USA

Post Posted July 30th, 2020, 8:03 pm

Before you visit the site or after you visit the site?

If you have the page open, press Shift+F9 to open the Storage Inspector tool.

Although, Firefox 52, I don't know what you had back then. Perhaps you have to use Page Info => View Cookies as described in the link in the first reply.

MozillaMonkey
 
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Joined: April 21st, 2008, 7:52 pm

Post Posted July 30th, 2020, 9:37 pm

jscher2000 wrote:Before you visit the site or after you visit the site?


Both actually.

If you have the page open, press Shift+F9 to open the Storage Inspector tool.

Although, Firefox 52, I don't know what you had back then. Perhaps you have to use Page Info => View Cookies as described in the link in the first reply.


You were right, Shift+F9 doesn't work for my FF version.
I can get into the Inspector, but I don't see Storage.

MozillaMonkey
 
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Joined: April 21st, 2008, 7:52 pm

Post Posted July 30th, 2020, 9:47 pm

mightyglydd wrote:https://superuser.com/questions/392176/view-cookies-in-mozilla-firefox


OK thanks Mighty.

It's a start, but not quite what I'm after.
And none of the tips there seemed to work for me.

What was a good place for me to look though was:
Options/Privacy/Remove individual cookies...

From there I could go in and see which sites had placed cookies on my computer.

So here's what I'm looking for going forward.
1. More details on the cookies listed. Right now the above just gives me:
Site and Cookie Name. That's it.
I would like to see the actual cookie code, and learn what it does exactly.
2. Can a site place a cookie on my computer transparently? That is, not be trackable?
3. I'm visiting sites that operate within the EU which are mandated to issue cookie warnings when
you visit their sites. I just visited one that is not issuing a warning, yet I just saw that it has
placed a cookie on my computer. Is this site taking a chance in terms of being penalized?

Thanks!

mgagnonlv
 
Posts: 761
Joined: February 12th, 2005, 8:33 pm

Post Posted July 31st, 2020, 10:36 am

There is no foul-proof way to know about cookies.

First, in terms of preventive measures, you can prevent Firefox from loading cookies (about:preferences#privacy). However, if you block all cookies or even third-party cookies, it's more than likely that visited websites won't work.

In terms of seeing what you have stored, there are many available extensions to do that, including Cookie quick manager.
  • That extension allows you to check all cookies per site, see their expiration date and their value. That way, you know which websites have added cookies (just like in Firefox itself), but also you can explore and even modify cookies.
    Unfortunately, you'll notice that most cookies have content which is not easily readable.
  • It also allows you to delete all cookies (at startup, when you want, only selected ones), or to delete regularly all cookies except a select few, which is a good way to foul content providers.

However, no cookie manager can tell you what is done with these cookies. You would have to explore the code and also know what they store on their servers. And you need to trust that they tell you the truth. I personally don't care about cookies stored locally to remember preferences such as my language (so I see the website in French or English, not in Japanese), nor do I mind of those temporary cookies that allow information to be transferred from one page to another. It's a totally different ball game when a cookie allows company X to see how often you have visited their site – and from where – even as an unconnected user!

As for the legal aspects, I'm an engineer and live in Canada. I don't know all details of the European "cookie law", and therefore whether it applies to a German company whose website is hosted in India and whose clientele is in United States, for instance. or any other odd situation like that... What I don't like about it is that it doesn't make any difference between benign temporary cookies and those that are used to track users. I would rather prefer if website designers were compelled to use non-persistent cookies (without any warnings) rather than the current situation where everyone tells you "Accept our cookies or get out!"
Michel Gagnon
Montréal (Québec, Canada)

dickvl

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Post Posted July 31st, 2020, 10:47 am

Firefox 52 ESR has the Storage Inspector, but this component may not be enabled by default and you need to enable this via the toolbox settings page (F1)
https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Tools/Settings
https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Too ... _Inspector

MozillaMonkey
 
Posts: 333
Joined: April 21st, 2008, 7:52 pm

Post Posted July 31st, 2020, 7:56 pm

dickvl wrote:Firefox 52 ESR has the Storage Inspector, but this component may not be enabled by default and you need to enable this via the toolbox settings page (F1)
https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Tools/Settings
https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Too ... _Inspector


Thanks Dick, I was finally able to find out where Storage Inspector is in FF.
Problem is, I disabled cookies last night so there isn't anything to see. :)

MozillaMonkey
 
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Joined: April 21st, 2008, 7:52 pm

Post Posted July 31st, 2020, 7:59 pm

mgagnonlv wrote:There is no foul-proof way to know about cookies.

First, in terms of preventive measures, you can prevent Firefox from loading cookies (about:preferences#privacy). However, if you block all cookies or even third-party cookies, it's more than likely that visited websites won't work.
...
As for the legal aspects, I'm an engineer and live in Canada. I don't know all details of the European "cookie law", and therefore whether it applies to a German company whose website is hosted in India and whose clientele is in United States, for instance. or any other odd situation like that... What I don't like about it is that it doesn't make any difference between benign temporary cookies and those that are used to track users. I would rather prefer if website designers were compelled to use non-persistent cookies (without any warnings) rather than the current situation where everyone tells you "Accept our cookies or get out!"


Thanks Michel that was helpful.

MozillaMonkey
 
Posts: 333
Joined: April 21st, 2008, 7:52 pm

Post Posted July 31st, 2020, 8:16 pm

OK I'll tell you the main reason I started this inquiry about cookies.

I am currently setting up a website with a major web hosting company.

When I discovered that they place cookie code on ALL of their customers websites
that THEY use for their own purposes, and their customers have no control of those
cookies whatsoever, I was not very happy. :(

So I am in a position where I have to decide what to do about THEIR cookies!

I feel it is not my responsibility to warn visitors to my website about cookies that I
am not placing on their computer and that I have no control over.

A typical cookie warning goes like: "We use cookies to make your experience at this site more enjoyable and safe yada, yada etc."
But if I put that it would not be true.

What would you do in my position?

jscher2000

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Joined: December 19th, 2004, 12:26 am
Location: Silicon Valley, CA USA

Post Posted August 1st, 2020, 10:24 am

Regarding hosting company cookies:

First, I assume this platform is so awesome that you aren't considering alternatives where you can control exactly what is served to your visitors.

Second, I'm pro-disclosure. However, how best to describe them is very contextual. Can you provide a link to an example site hosted by this company where you can see their cookies?

MozillaMonkey
 
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Joined: April 21st, 2008, 7:52 pm

Post Posted August 1st, 2020, 2:47 pm

jscher2000 wrote:Regarding hosting company cookies:

First, I assume this platform is so awesome that you aren't considering alternatives where you can control exactly what is served to your visitors.


Well to be perfectly honest...
This web host was not chosen by me, but rather by another member of my team.
The more I learn about what this host can and cannot do the more disgusted I become with them.
We have already paid for a one-year subscription and are past the 2-week trial period.

If it was up to me I would switch hosts for a multitude of reasons.

Second, I'm pro-disclosure. However, how best to describe them is very contextual. Can you provide a link to an example site hosted by this company where you can see their cookies?


Here's a link:
https://www.eat-live-sleep.com/

Please tell me how you were able to see their cookies!
The details of them too?

jscher2000

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Joined: December 19th, 2004, 12:26 am
Location: Silicon Valley, CA USA

Post Posted August 1st, 2020, 3:46 pm

I see five "first party" cookies from the site, but I don't see third party cookies from other sites. The names of the cookies don't indicate anything to me about what they are for. The site doesn't seem to have a privacy policy, and all the blog posts are from 2017, so perhaps it hasn't been updated recently? This might not be representative of what cookies will be set by your site.

MozillaMonkey
 
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Joined: April 21st, 2008, 7:52 pm

Post Posted August 1st, 2020, 8:14 pm

jscher2000 wrote:I see five "first party" cookies from the site, but I don't see third party cookies from other sites. The names of the cookies don't indicate anything to me about what they are for. The site doesn't seem to have a privacy policy, and all the blog posts are from 2017, so perhaps it hasn't been updated recently? This might not be representative of what cookies will be set by your site.


When you say "first party" what exactly do you mean?
As I mentioned, the company plants cookie code on ALL their customers sites.
This code "spies" on all visitors to the sites.

I turned on my cookies, just to view what cookies have been placed on my site, currently.
Here's what I found:

Name: ssr-caching
Content: "cache#desc=miss#varnish=miss#dc#desc=nane1"

Name: hs
Content: 82471111

Name: svSession
Content: 2f3b6d3918906cfd51ab46ccc2024b5baa00ddeb9c789039e8580f9aaa0f24eecba07da20f357455a2b17a4e84c833d61e60994d53964e647acf431e4f798bcdb1b701470b7c9985c46116d3a7e1884309042b338565c6c3c001f55cc267710a

Name: XSRF-TOKEN
Content: 1596337436|ZJJgqIq9GmV0

Name: bSessionContent:
Content: b04d90ce-7d92-4341-8290-3d1b3fe495a2|1

Does this tell you anything? What type of cookies they are?

mightyglydd

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Joined: November 4th, 2006, 7:07 pm
Location: Hollywood Ca.

Post Posted August 1st, 2020, 8:29 pm

MozillaMonkey wrote:What type of cookies they are?

Chocolate chip from the local Dispensary, primo sativa I believe....
#KeepFightingMichael and Alex.

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