Verizon Wireless has announced that it will be adding cookies to the web browser of anyone who visits the Verizon Wireless website, and then Verizon will track you across the web, and sell the data it collects on you to marketers. What’s more, they are selling the data to marketers to whom they are giving marketing access to your Verizon Wireless device!
Google is again blaming technical glitches for violating privacy policies and collecting personal data, this time from those using Apple’s Safari web browser. Google has agreed to pay the Federal Trade Commission $22.5 million – the largest amount that the FTC has ever fined – because they sneakily undermined the privacy settings of millions of Safari users by using computer code to trick Safari into granting Google access to user activity through cookies.
Facebook is being sued over its using its ability to track Facebook users’ Internet browsing history even while they are logged out of Facebook. The Facebook lawsuit, filed in Federal court in Mississippi on October 12th against Facebook, Brooke Rutledge claims that, among other things Facebook is in direct violation of U.S. Wiretapping laws. But perhaps more to the point, it is in violation of treating its users with common decency, following them with Facebook super cookies and the like. The complaint also seeks to turn the lawsuit into a class action, so others can join the law suit.
A few months ago we wrote about the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed “Do Not Track” list and legislation. One of the biggest invaders of your privacy is cookies that track you, and that respawn after you (think you) have deleted them, or, as they are known, “Zombie Cookies” (so-called because they come back from the dead). As defined in Wikipedia, “a zombie cookie is any HTTP cookie that is recreated after deletion from backups stored outside the web browser’s dedicated cookie storage.” Variations on this theme include the Adobe Local Shared Object (LSO) cookie, and the Evercookie. There was a Zombie cookie law suit last summer, levelled against such industry giants as ABC, NBC, MTV, ESPN, MySpace, and Hulu, alleging that they were using Zombie cookies that respawned after being deleted because their backups were being stored in Flash. That technology was provided by Quantcast, who was the lead defendant in the Zombie cookie lawsuit. Not long after, the FTC announced their “Do Not Track” legislation proposal, and now Consumer Reports is asking their members to contact their Congressmen in support of the proposal.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has just released the results of research which indicate that your browser creates a unique “browser fingerprint” which can be uniquely linked to you, thus creating a record of your browsing habits and where you’ve been on the Internet with your browser, even if you have cookies turned off in your browser. In fact, says the report, this non-cookie method for identifying users using their browser fingerprint with such browsers as IE and Firefox is effective as much as 94% of the time.
In case you aren’t aware of this, every time you visit a site that has Google Adsense on it, and every time you visit a site that uses the DoubleClick ad management system, you have the potential for being tracked via a cookie that is injected to your computer. The cookie is known as the DoubleClick DART cookie, and, in fact, there is a very good chance that you are being tracked by one of these cookies. This is so that Google and DoubleClick can better serve you, providing better ads which, in theory, you will find more interesting and enticing.
Cookies. Everyone has them. And everyone wants to know how to get rid of them. While for some browsers it’s fairly obvious and straight-forward, for others it’s not so much. Here’s how to remove cookies from those browsers.