probably have been hearing a lot about cookies recently, particularly in
relation to online privacy issues. What is a cookie and what does it do?
The popular perception of a cookie is that it is a hidden, secret file
that is controlled by some outside “force” invading your computer and
your privacy. Cookies actually help your computer perform tasks that may
be useful to both you, as an e-commerce shopper, and to online marketers.
Do cookies invade your online privacy, or are they helpful tools that
guide you to online information more in tune with your tastes?
General Information Most
of us have no idea of just what a cookie is and what it does. A cookie is
simply a text file stored on your PC's hard drive. Cookies are created
They typically include information that you provided to the Web site. For
example, if you typed your name and address into a form at an online
shopping site, the site may collect that information and store it as a
cookie on your hard drive. The next time you visit that online shopping
page, you won't have to type in your name and address, the site
automatically loads it from the cookie stored on your system.
to read their definition of cookies, as well as to link to other sites
with cookie resources. Further information about cookies and how to manage
them is available on this AllAboutCookies.org
Web page. This page also provides tips on finding cookies on your system,
removing them and editing them. Another great source of general cookie
information is www.cookiecentral.com/.
Cookies Resources Additional
cookie resources are easy to find online. By searching, using the keyword
“cookies,” you will receive numerous results. The following list of
Web pages contains a few of these resources.
Another way to learn more
about cookies is by reading FAQ pages such as http://cookies.surferbeware.com/.
Cookies and Privacy Exactly
how might cookies threaten your online privacy? For a clear answer to this
question, visit www.junkbusters.com/ht/en/cookies.html.
Additionally, this Web page offers instructions on how to rid your PC of
unwanted cookies, and how to protect your online privacy. Be sure to visit
the Electronic Privacy Information Center at www.epic.org/privacy/internet/cookies/.
It includes current articles and newly filed legal complaints regarding
Internet privacy. Also, at www.justtext.com
you’ll find an FAQ page all about cookies and privacy.
Privacy Software With
all of the privacy problems that cookies present to the Internet user,
software companies are developing products to help protect our personal
information. These software products will help you to control the cookies
stored on your hard drive. Visit the Online
Privacy Alliance Web site where you can get information
about a wide variety of privacy issues regarding the Internet and online
commerce. One specific privacy software package allows users excellent
control over their cookies. It’s called the “Cookie Crusher”
and it’s available for download at www.pcworld.com/downloads/.