First of all, let's state the fact: I'M NOT SUFFERING FROM PARANOIA. But I'm critical to the fact that my (and your's ?) 'sufing profile', i.e. where and what I look on at the internet, is being recorded and used without anybody telling me how the information is treated. If the number above doesn't count upwards on reload of this page you probably have cookie disabled (well, the cookie could be damaged...). Otherwise you now have a cookie on your computer named "visits". Well, you could say, that this was a harmless piece of infomation, but have you ever heard of datawarehouse and datamining. It's like when the local mall ask you for your zip-code, when you buy something. After 2 or 3 'buys' they can make a profile of you, telling them that because you come from your nieghborhood, you will most likely buy this and this the next time you step into the shop. It's not my impression that many disable their cookies. Of course you miss something on (a few ? / certain) sites programmed by brain-dead freaks who doesn't have the skills to set up professional Internet services. I guess Microsoft (Hotmail and LE banners) are some of the most prominent actor's in that category. Remember that, here in year 2000, the Internet has just reached "the wild west days". I could ask you the question in another way "Is it okay for you to get a 'unit' mounted on your body transmitting, unknown to you, information about your whereabouts, to private and public companies or in the end released as information on the Internet ?". Well, if you got a mobile/cell phone you already have this unit, but most information from this unit, are still not for sale.... In this 'hype' of this early Internet days and until electronic security no longer is a farce, ending up in commercial trade wars between USA and the rest of the world, l leave my cookies untouched and disable them for the rest of the world... I'm just not hungry enough...
Cookies - "How Web Server CookiesThreaten Your Privacy"
You can be tracked from your mouse clicks. The pages you read tell marketers what junk to push on you Imagine that your remote control informed stations the second you switched to them, and that they could sell this information to their advertisers to help them decide what junk mail to send you. Would you want to be pushing buttons on a remote that could tell an insurance company to phone you while you're watching a program about financial planning? Well, your mouse and browser may be giving them exactly that power, except that instead of just the channel number, they are getting the exact URLs of the Web pages you look at. We want you to know how they can identify you individually and how you can protect your identity from being discovered and sold. Don't let them use your browser as a tool of surveillance. What your browser tells them Your browser is probably revealing more than you might want: which computer you are coming from, what software and hardware you are using, details of the link you clicked on, and possibly even your email address. For specifics on your browser click on our demonstration page. If your ISP is running an identd demon, or if you leave certain IRC clients running while you surf, servers can ask for your identity at the time your browser requests a page. Try our test to see whether this is happening to you. Some firewalls (rightly) block these requests, so if the browser goes silent just interrupt the transfer request with the stop button. If you're running an IRC client you may find the disclosure stops when you turn it off. they can find out who you are All they may need is your email address because various databases let them look up your name and address from it. People often type their email or postal address into forms, when registering at a site or requesting information. Some browsers that include a mail handler disclose the user's email address in certain situations, such as when requesting a file by FTP, which you can do simply by clicking on a link that happens to begin ftp: rather than http. You can tell your browser not to do this.Cookies tell them it's you every time you click Many organizations use ``cookies'' to track your every move on their site. A cookie is a unique identifier that a web server places on your computer: a serial number for you personally that can be used to retrieve your records from their databases. It's usually a string of random-looking letters long enough to be unique. They are kept in a file called cookies or cookies.txt or MagicCookie in your browser directory/folder. They are also known as ``persistent cookies'' because they may last for years, even if you change ISP or upgrade your browser. The two most popular browsers support cookies; almost all others don't. If you look at your cookies file you may see the names of web sites that you have never heard of. They were probably put there by companies that resell advertising space from a large number of popular sites. Those ad placement companies maintain huge databases recording details of who looks at which pages. The larger ones have cookies in place on millions of peoples' browsers. If you use one of the popular search engines, the queries you type are probably being logged and analyzed too. We wonder whether some companies are selling your identity as part of the package. Any web site that knows your identity and has cookie for you could set up procedures to exchange their data with the companies that buy advertising space from them, synchronizing the cookies they both have on your computer. This possibility means that once your identity becomes known to a single company listed in your cookies file, any of the others might know who you are every time you visit their sites. The result is that a web site about gardening that you never told your name could sell not only your name to mail-order companies, but also the fact that you spent a lot of time one Saturday night last June reading about how to fertilize roses. More disturbing scenarios along the same lines could be imagined. There are of course many convenient and legitimate uses for cookies, as Netscape explains. They also allow ``mass customization'' of the content on web sites. But it's not generally possible to tell from looking at a cookie alone how it will be used. Because of the possibilities of misuse we recommend disabling cookies unless you really need them.
I set my browser to alert me before accepting cookies. In the dialog box in which the cookie offer is made, there is always the implicit threat that if you do not take the offer, you will not be able to enjoy the site you are visiting as well as you anticipate? While not accepting a cookie will probably not reduce the experience of the site, obviously if you go into a online shop and reject a cookie you cannot shop properly. It is possible for a site to not operate properly if cookies are not accepted. I do not know how many fall into this category right now. Cookies was firstly developed by Netscape and now implemented by the RFC, so they want cookies to be used, the message box is just telling you that the site you are entering may not function properly if you do not accept the cookie, most sites work fine if you decline a cookie. It's is the persons opinion whether to accept cookies or not, Most people do not set their browser to warn them before accepting cookies because it becomes really annoying when a site wants to set 10 cookies. It would be quite easy for Netscape or Microsoft just to decline cookies automatically but this may render them useless. I work on the theory that there is less harm declining them than accepting them, this works for me. Please note the final version of Netscape Communicator and the betas, has options to automatically reject cookies. What Use Is The Information We Reveal To Web Sites?The information that people reveal to each Web site they visit can be used by system administrators to build extensive personal profiles of visitors. By automatically placing a Cookie on visitors' Web browsers, Servers register data on the Cookie. This allows administrators to view the history of site's users has last visited before they enter that site, the advertisements they have viewed and the online transactions they have conducted. Again, sites can only access cookies from their own domain. While Cookies can be useful in some situations (for example, in saving a user's password to a particular site), some people constitute this as invasion of privacy. Remember a web site only
knows the data that you have entered.Why Do Some People Dislike Cookies?Cookies are sometimes disliked because they can set and perform functions without the user knowing. But couldn't one view computers in general as setting and performing functions without the user knowing? My machine swaps programs in and out every few seconds without telling me about it. Some people do not like a file that may contain a cookie with information about where they have been, and what they do, if they can stop it. This type of information that is invaluable to some companies. Cookies are usually used for simple things like to store your specification of your start page, or your user id's and or passwords, but like most things they maybe manipulated to do bad things. Cookies can be used to track you on the net, what sites you go to what you like and so on. This is not the only your tracked by big brother on the net, for instance when you submit an auto search in Internet Explorer it's routed through Microsoft servers. Cookies were originally designed to maintain state in the stateless environment of HTTP. So it made it possible to store page settings, or user ids. A cookie can contain any data that an administrator wants.