About Tracking Cookies

An HTTP Cookie, called the cookie is a small data that is sent from a website and is stored onto the user’s computer. This done by the web browser, and each time a website is visited, a cookie is downloaded onto the system.

Now, cookies fall into three or four categories, and one of them is the
tracking cookies that are sent by the website.

As the term suggests, a tracking cookie is used to track certain information that a user gives out on his visit to a website.

About Information Tracking Cookie Record

One of the standard terms used to describe tracking cookies is third party tracking cookies as often the end-user of information might be someone other than the website or the owners of the sites.

About Browsing history: The tracking cookie is primarily interested in keeping the website informed of the browsing history that a user follows. This information can be used the next time the person logs onto the site and helps to make a more personal experience out of using the website.

The grey area is that often other interested parties can intercept the data being sent out by the cookie to further their interest at the expense of the web user.

About Location: Most tracking cookies tend to keep tabs on the location of the user. This has certain positive aspects as it becomes possible to deliver targeted content to the web user. However, this has the potential of keeping tabs on where a particular user tends to be from time to time, and each time he accesses the internet.

Preferences: Supposing a customer is surfing a shopping site and he shows a choice for browsing shirts that are yellow in color. The tracking cookie tends to remember the preference for a long time, and each time the person logs on to the system, he is shown targeted advertisements for yellow shirts. The resourcefulness factor has to be understood in that the viewer would be shown yellow shirts by several vendors and not the original website alone.

About Advertising: Tracking cookies are particularly notorious for putting out advertisements such as banner advertisements and other pop up messages whenever someone is browsing the internet. If a cookie is left in a computer without cleaning for a sufficiently long time, it can then turn out to be a source of information on what the person is interested in. Thus privacy becomes a real premium, and in the practical sense, the cost of wasted time and effort in containing these advertisements are incalculable.

About Tracking Cookies and the Law

Ever since the introduction of tracking cookies some twenty years back, there has been a live issue of respecting people’s privacy. Why must the gentleman browsing around for yellow shirts have his preferences declared to other vendors who then try to cash in on his tastes?

The lawmakers in the US and the European Union were seized of the matter, and there have been several rulings that govern the use of cookies by websites. European laws now make it mandatory to seek the informed consent of the user, in case he is based in the European Union; so as to use a tracking cookie on his system. As a result, people now have a choice as to whether they should be tracked for their tastes and browsing habits.

About Control the Access of Tracking Cookies

About Software: Tracking cookies can be roughly labeled as spyware in most circumstances. Some folks tend to need complete privacy to their working on the computers, and this is where countermeasures to negate the effect of cookies come into play. The steps need not cost much as often there is simple spyware and anti-malware software that is available free on the markets.

About Surfing In the Incognito Mode: Most web browsers nowadays have an anonymous surf mode or the incognito mode. Having the browser in this mode does prevent the tracking of information by cookies. This is particularly useful in avoiding browsing habits getting monitored by the local Wi-Fi service providers and most intermediaries.

Final thoughts,

True, tracking cookies do introduce the element of heightened privacy to the computer user. However, sufficient steps are at hand to neutralize the effects of the cookie to the common man. Over and above this, the governments in power, on realizing the potential of the unchecked cookie usage, have framed laws and regulations to control the use of the same.

The future is going to bring about a lot more complex cookies to use, and there would be still more effective and hard measures to keep the informed user free from the effects of the same.

Paul has more than 10 years of experience within the digital realm. He loves to talk about his ‘HOT’ girlfriend and when it comes to geeky boring topics, and nerdy technical issues he’s a magic man. Paul also enjoys reading and solving complex puzzles. "Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you" -Edward W. Bok 1929