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Essay on Internet Privacy - Cookies and Privacy on the Internet

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Cookies: Privacy on the Internet?

 
   Today, many web sites on the internet can use "cookies" to keep track of passwords and usernames and track the sites a particular user visits (Cookiecentral.com). But, the use of cookies to track user's browsing habits is becoming a concern of many internet users. These concerned people are beginning to think of cookies as an invasion of privacy. Companies with web sites can use cookies to track what sites you visit frequently and then select specific ad banners to send to you on the web while surfing (Cookiecentral.com). Electronic Frontier Foundation's program director, Stanton McCandlish points out, "The potential problem is that companies without a sense of ethics could be doing [the] same thing and selling addresses to offline marketers" (news.cnet.com). The government should realize the hazards of internet cookies and enforce a ban on their use.

 

For those not familiar with the internet type of cookie, http://www.cookiecentral.com/ provides the definition of a cookie and some of the ways they are used. The site states, "a 'cookie' is a small piece of information sent by a web server to store on a web browser so it can later be read back from that browser." When you visit a cookie-using site on the web, that site will save a small text file in your browser's folder or directory. This file will tell them who you are if you ever visit their site again. The site goes on to explain in more detail the different areas where a cookie can be used. The various tasks that can be performed by a cookie listed include online ordering, targeted marketing, user ID's, and site personalization. It is true that there are some beneficial uses of cookies. For example, personalizing a certain ...


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... sites' cookies, these sites will not gain anything from you. If everyone were to stop allowing cookies on their personal computers, web sites would find that cookies do not benefit their business and would possibly stop using them. Tell others about any concerns you may have regarding cookies. You may educate someone about cookies that knew nothing before and help him or her understand why cookies are not an essential part of the internet.

 

 

 Works Cited

Cookies. <http://www.cookiecentral.com /news/0-1003-200-327461.html> (31 Oct. 1999).

Privacy in the Digital Age. "Jerry Berman's Testimony". <http://www.cdt.org/testimony/Berman.test.House.5.27.99.shtml> (31 Oct. 1999).

Shaking the Cookie Jar. "New Cookie Technology or Existing Cookie Technology Under Attack". <http://www.cookiecentral.com/dscprop.htm> (31 Oct. 1999).

 


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