What Went Wrong?

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  So If cookies are so much of a nuisance why was they developed in the first place?

The first batch of cookies were originally cooked up as simple mechanism to help make it easier for users to access their favorite Web sites without having to go through a lengthy process of identifying themselves every time they visit. For instance, upon your first visit to a given site, you may be asked to reveal your name and perhaps even some personal or financial information required to gain access to that site in the future. The site will then place a cookie containing this information on your system and when you return it will request information based on the cookie to determine who you are and whether you have authorization to access the site.

Unfortunately, the original intent of the cookie has been subverted by some unscrupulous entities who have found a way to use this process to actually track your movements across the Web. They do this by surreptitiously planting their cookies and then retrieving them in such a way that allows them to build detailed profiles of your interests, spending habits, and lifestyle. On the surface, this practice may seem harmless and hardly worth fretting over since the worst thing most imagine is that corporate concerns will use this information to devise annoying, yet relatively innocuous advertising campaigns, targeted towards specific groups or individuals. However, it is rather scary to contemplate how such an intimate knowledge of our personal preferences and private activities might eventually be used to brand each of us as members of a particular group.

But remember a site only knows what information you have entered. Not all cookies are bad, they can also provide useful functions on the web.

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