Can cookies identify you personally?

Yes, sometimes cookies can be used to identify an individual, but cookies themselves do not contain any personal information. Cookies contain a unique ID which is a random string of characters assigned to a user’s web browser. This enables websites that set cookies to retrieve the identifier when a user revisits them so that they can remember them, and make personalized recommendations based on the user’s browsing habits. 

Over time, due to the extent of our presence on the internet, cookies can collect information about a user that can be linked to their identity. Particularly, third-party tracking cookies can be set without the user’s knowledge or permission to put together a profile of the user for targeted advertising, which can be considered a privacy invasion. Hence, data privacy laws like the GDPR and CCPA categorize cookies as part of personal data and require websites to obtain consent for their user.