.Commentary-Web Cookie Monster Law

.Commentary-Web Cookie Monster Law

By Mike Lotz

Web Cookie Monster Law

By Mike Lotz

Sen. John Edwards reintroduced a bill that would require websites to get permission from visitors before tracking their movements online.

The bill stakes out an aggressive position in the debate over Internet privacy, requiring websites to reveal their use of technology that commonly runs in the background without the knowledge of the visitor.

Many commercial websites place a piece of computer code, or a “cookie”, on the hard drives of visitors, allowing them to be tracked as they browse the site.

Senator Edward’s bill would require websites to first get permission from visitors before using cookies or other tracking technologies.

Businesses would be required to disclose what information they gather, allow visitors to view and correct the data, and safeguard the information from unauthorized access.

“This legislation is a reasonable way to help Americans regain some of their lost privacy,” Edwards said in a statement. “We must find a way to keep confidential personal records confidential.”

If they’re going to do this, let’s hope they do it right! Someone needs to educate the senators right up front that cookie technology itself is NOT inherently good or bad; it’s only the USES of the technology which can be good or bad. Replace the word “cookie” with “ski mask.” Would the Senate want to outlaw ski masks simply because some morons used them to conceal their identities while robbing a local 7-11? I think not.

If you’re paranoid about “cookies,” here’s a trick: If you use Netscape, open cookie.txt and delete all entries. Save the file and make the file read-only. For Internet Explorer, delete all entries in the “cookies” folder and make the folder read-only. Also, specify in your browser preferences that cookies only get ‘sent back’ to the originating URL.

With this complete, it doesn’t interfere with surfing in any way and nothing is permanently written to your hard drive. Zero session tracking, zero long-term tracking.

Who needs laws if you can take care if it yourself!

If you have any questions or comments, please email at questions@iwebwerks.com.

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