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Does your browser feed the cookie monster--or starve it?

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#1 TheSentinel


    The man in the dark

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 02:27 PM

Does your browser feed the cookie monster--or starve it?
by Seth Rosenblatt | February 18, 2012 4:00 AM PST

Summary: Not all tracking cookies are created equal, and as Google just reminded us, neither are the ways in which your browser handles them. Here's what the five major browsers do for your cookie 'problem'.

Google's latest public display of cookie addiction revealed that while the ad side of Google enthusiastically embraces third-party cookies, the browser division is more hesitant. Here's how the five major browsers of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera protect you from those third-party tracking cookies.

But first: what's a tracking cookie? And why are they so important as a component of your online privacy?

A tracking cookie can be used to follow a person around the Web as they jump from site to site. Although your IP address or your HTTP request header's referral field can also be used to accomplish this, in part, tracking cookies allow for more accurate tracks.

When you visit a page and there's no cookie present in the request, the server assumes that this is your first page visited. It then creates a random character string and sends it, as a cookie, back to you along with the requested page. That cookie then gets sent to all new pages you visit, and in turn creates a log of the cookie itself, all the URLs visited, and when you visited them on the server.

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