Using Cookies to Track Customers

Cookies Sound Sweet but They Can Be Risky (USA Today)

Website Cookies to Track VisitorsMore than likely a large majority of people who browse the Internet know they are being watched or at least their computer is being watched.  They know, for instance, that websites can follow where they go on a site, though users may not fully understand what type of information is being gathered.  But while people know they are being monitored, few know what methods websites use to get their information. 

This story lays out one important way websites track users through the use of digital cookies.  The story also offers ideas for protecting users when they visit sites using tracking information in ways that some may consider as being unethical.

Cookies track where you have gone online and are stored on your hard drive. The websites you visit tap into those cookies so they can tailor promotions to you or retrieve data such as your credit card information.

Most major sites have privacy statements discussing their use of cookies and other tracking methods but what percentage of visitors to a website, such as Amazon or Yahoo, ever read the privacy statement?  Should these statements be more visible?

Image by kern.justin

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