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"Your data has a social life too"





Allow or not?


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Cookies are small identitiy files that live inside your computer.

You can choose to reject cookies, and cut the ones you don't like. It's worth considering.

Allow or disallow cookies?

Most people don't worry about cookies. They're a very small invasion of privacy and no big deal. In fact they can help sites give you a better service by responding to your personal needs.

Other people don't like the intrusion and switch them off. Amongst Internet professionals, I would estimate that the proportion who switch them off is around 25%, and growing as cookies become more intrusive.

My personal view is that cookies are fairly harmless, but I don't like the idea of sites building up huge profiles on me. I trust most sites not to abuse the data, but there's a significant risk that their database will be hacked by an employee or external hacker, and I don't want that kind of person walking away with a big profile on me - just a small one.

So if I use the same computer for more than a year (rare, to be honest), I wipe out all the cookies so everybody has to start their profiles from scratch again. Usually I do this when I upgrade my browser.

Some sites force me to register, especially if I want to shop. Happily, I don't stand a chance of remembering all these registrations, or what email address I've given or what password I've used, so the registratons never get a chance to build up much of a history.

If a site still has a cookie on my computer from a previous registration, it can become awkward and unhelpful when I try to create a new registration. This is a pain, and the best way to overcome it is to close the browser and delete all cookies before creating the new registration.

The whole issue of cookies and personal data in company databases is destined to become more important as more people shop online.


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