What is in your cookie box? Explaining ingredients of web cookies with knowledge graphs

Geni Bushati*, Sven C. Rasmusen, Anelia Kurteva, Anurag Vats, Petraq Nako, Anna Fensel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has imposed strict requirements for data sharing, one of which is informed consent. A common way to request consent online is via cookies. However, commonly, users accept online cookies being unaware of the meaning of the given consent and the following implications. Once consent is given, the cookie “disappears”, and one forgets that consent was given in the first place. Retrieving cookies and consent logs becomes challenging, as most information is stored in the specific Internet browser’s logs. To make users aware of the data sharing implied by cookie consent and to support transparency and traceability within systems, we present a knowledge graph (KG) based tool for personalised cookie consent information visualisation. The KG is based on the OntoCookie ontology, which models cookies in a machine-readable format and supports data interpretability across domains. Evaluation results confirm that the users’ comprehension of the data shared through cookies is vague and insufficient. Furthermore, our work has resulted in an increase of 47.5% in the users’ willingness to be cautious when viewing cookie banners before giving consent. These and other evaluation results confirm that our cookie data visualisation approach and tool help to increase users’ awareness of cookies and data sharing.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalSemantic Web
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Aug 2023


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