What’s a Cookie?
Cookies are small amounts of data that websites drop into your browser so they can monitor your browsing activity. As they are text, they cannot install anything on your computer. And they are not necessarily evil little creatures as some clue in your browser about preferences you have established for certain sites (such as reading newest comments first or ensuring secure logins).
And then there are the cookies that surreptitiously monitor your Internet comings and goings, then feed that data to advertisers and others. If you don’t want your personal Internet travels to be stored in their databases, below are three tips for taking a byte out of those cookies.
1. Heed Websites’ Cookie Notices
If you don’t want to agree to a site’s cookie-gathering, leave the site.
2. Do Not Track Options
Fortunately, browsers offer “Do Not Track” options so users can opt-out of websites’ advertising services and other analytics. Unfortunately, the Do Not Track option is similar to the Do Not Call registry — selecting the option doesn’t necessary mean that the website is going to respect your request.
Nevertheless, based on a recent report from the Information Commissioner’s Office, Do Not Track options block approximately 70% of third-party web tracking, so view it as a basic protective step. Here is a list of advertisers who claim to honor Do Not Track requests: Do Not Track: Implementations
Below are the steps for how to do this for Chrome & Safari (the Do-Not-Track option is on by default for Mozilla):
Chrome: Preferences/Settings->Advanced Settings–>(Select appropriate boxes)
Safari: Preferences–>Privacy–>(Select appropriate boxes)
Lifehacker offers more Do Not Track tips in this article: Everywhere You Can Enable Do Not Track.
A second line of defense are add-ons and extensions that you download to your browser. These are not 100% remedies, but another, tougher layer of cookie-protection on top of Do Not Track settings.
Most of these services are free, with most offering more comprehensive services for a monthly fee:
Have a great rest of March Madness, WritingPIs
All rights reserved by Colleen Collins and Shaun Kaufman. Any use of the content (including images owned by Colleen Collins and/or Shaun Kaufman) requires specific, written authority.