Usage of Cookies: Session Management
Usage of Cookies: Personalization
Usage of Cookies: Tracking
Tracking cookies are cookies which track your actions on a website. They are used to measure things such as how long you have been active on a page, the way you got there, and what type of content you click on. They are used for the purpose of better refining the advertisements that are delivered to you as a user. They are not viruses or anything that will cause damage to your computer. They just try to learn about your personality and deliver content (in this case advertisements) that are relevant.
As you might have guessed, many people don’t like advertisers learning things about themselves. This is why all browsers allow you to set your own type of cookie handling rules. The ability to clear your cookies whenever the browser window is closed and the ability to block third-party cookies (cookies for domains besides the one you are currently on) are two features that are common to all browsers for a long time.
Do Not Track
Recently there has been a push in the community to implement something known as Do Not Track that is similar to the Do Not Call registry in the United States. The major difference between Do Not Track and Do Not Call is that there is no formal registry. As one might wonder the FTC has testified legislation that existed in the House.
Do Not Track is an HTTP Header that is sent with pages that signals to advertisers that the user does not wish to have their information tracked. Let me be clear, Do Not Track just means that advertisers will not be able to gain usage information based on a user. It does not mean that the advertiser user has the right to opt out of seeing advertisements.
Do Not Track is currently supported by Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. Opera recently made available an experimental build of that included support for Do Not Track. After initially saying they would not support this feature Google has just reversed course and announced that they will soon support Do Not Track.
Now that you have had a friendly reminder of what cookies are we recommend that you go into your browser settings and set them at the level that you feel most comfortable with. Personally, I disable third-party cookies but I do not configure Do Not Track on any of my browsers. What you choose to do in regard to managing your privacy is up to you.