When you hear the word "cookie," you probably picture nice hot chocolate chip ones, being baked by your sweet old granny. But there are other ones too, like the one that is tracking you right now.
Out of 5 kids interviewed, 4 were unaware of the fact that HTTP Cookies had imbedded themselves within their computer history. That's right, a text-only string is gaining information about everything that you've searched.
But what’s the point of the cookie? Seventh grade language arts teacher Randy Wallock said "They remember your preferences on specific sites, and can also create custom advertisements based on your search history."
What a cookie does is monitor your web searches, to gain information about the user. Some cookies, like advertisement ones, use your search history to display advertisements that are supposed to relate to you. Ever get a popup that says something about the town you live in? A cookie found that information.
Other cookies, which are more useful, can remember things like your email address, your clothing size, and other preferences.
Some people, like Wallock, are all for the cookies being put in place, but eighth grade student Nick P. said "It should be illegal, it's a violation of privacy." Others think that there should be some that are illegal, and some that are not. "It's okay for them to monitor my shopping, but not my miscellaneous searches." said eighth grader William F.
One reason why students are unaware of their searching being tracked is their usage of anti-advertisements. Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School student Andrew Davis H. said "Since I use Ad-Block Plus, I can't see if ads are being customized."
Jack B., an avid computer user, said "I really don't care if they monitor me, because I don't look up anything bad." Another computer user, Nick G., said "There aren't any advantages to these cookies, but there isn't any reason to make them illegal."
Even though they are legal at this moment, you do have a choice on whether or not you want them to see what you do. According to www.worldprivacyforum.org "Some cookies, such as registration cookies for web sites you visit frequently, are useful to keep around. But other cookies, like tracking cookies from atdmt.com, doubleclick.net, 2o7.net, atwola.com,and other advertisers aren't necessarily helpful to you. Delete the cookies you don't need, and do a periodic check every couple of months to weed out your cookie folder."
What they mean by this is it is possible to keep the helpful cookies, like ones that remember your jean size or your email address, while you delete all the harmful tracking cookies.
Only you can control your computer privacy.