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News: Cookies

Google and Facebook have been the high profile perpetrators of privacy gaffs in the past 12 months but thats because they are the biggest, most visible entities, guilty, it would seem, of a rather laissez faire approach to the use of [our] personal information. Less obvious, but more complicit are the advertising networks [baddies] who insidiously exploit modern tracking methods to manipulate advertising to their benefit and supposed interests of us, the consumer [innocent victims].

For example: Two or three months ago I was looking for a particular type of shoes, mine are worn out and i liked them so I thought i’d look for replacements online. Since then all I see are ads for shoe websites. The fact that it is happening at all is annoying, but to do it so badly? That’s just careless.

So now, as of 25th May 2011 an EU e-Privacy directive specifies that all use of cookies must be with EXPLICIT CONSENT.

From a genuine ethical marketing point of view its bad news – but as a user? Its like an arms race – browsers and extensions will come along to deal with it, but for now, it’s a good thing for the tiny shred ¬†privacy, if any at all, remaining on the internet.

In the meantime you can exploit the use of cookies by using them to say “No Thanks” to tracking cookies. Go to the Network Advertising Initiative website where you can opt out of all of their members’ tracking networks. you can also use Google Chrome and load the extension “Keep my Opt-Outs” so that if you clear your cookies in the future you wont unload the anti-cookie cookie.

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