Undeleting Cookies Or Is It Just Spyware?

from the just-what-was-not-needed dept

Cookie technology is often misunderstood. It is quite useful, and it's unlikely to be misused widely. In fact, even the various tracking cookies that some spyware programs highlight aren't really that bad. Still, if you want to delete your cookies, you should certainly be allowed to do so. However, just as reports are coming out claiming that an awful lot of people are deleting their cookies regularly, some company has come up with a technology that secretly restores deleted cookies on the theory that users are too stupid to understand cookies and that they probably didn't want them deleted in the first place. Beyond being obnoxious, this certainly sounds like it could be illegal. As Mitch Wagner explains in the article linked above: "So let's review, shall we? PIE inserts itself on machines without the user's permission. (spyware) It tracks the user's behavior without the user's permission. (spyware) It reports that information back to the licensee of the software. (spyware) And it blocks users' attempts to disable tracking. (spyware) If only there was a (spyware) word to describe software that behaves in that fashion." We can hope this is just an April Fool's joke gone wrong, but it sounds like the company might just be serious.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2005 @ 5:55pm

    Correlation between Cookie Deleting and Porn

    I am just GUESSING, you know, but I would guess that the number of people who go and delete cookies regularly just MIGHT be accessing on-line porn sites.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    TJ, Apr 5th, 2005 @ 6:59pm

    Flash does have such a data area

    After reading about "PIE" yesterday I followed Macromedia's instructions for preventing sites from storing site-related data on the local computer. I'd shopped for cars awhile back, and while reconfiguring Flash, sure enough pontiac.com had written 67K to a 100K data area.

    To remember how a customer configured a car is a reasonable way to use such a feature. But there is little doubt that this could be abused in the same way as cookies, and perhaps as described in the article. Flash is now barred from writing data to my PCs, and I block Flash unless I absolutely need it anyway.

    Most people won't know or bother to reconfigure Flash. Regardless, it is the height of arrogance for a company to suggest that people really want their cookies but are too dumb to keep them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    aNonMooseCowherd, Apr 5th, 2005 @ 7:36pm

    Re: Flash does have such a data area

    sure enough pontiac.com had written 67K to a 100K data area

    Responsible sites use reasonable expiration dates on cookies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    marcelle19, Apr 6th, 2005 @ 10:50am

    Re: Flash does have such a data area

    Using a data storage space on any user's hard drive is an activity that can only be of profit to and for the site issuing the cookie, regardless of expiration date. Insulting any end users's intellect isn't a great way of proving a confidence in those who look at and/or buy their products, either.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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