June 2003, Volume 33 Number 6 , p 76 - 76
Find out about these busy invaders before they take a bite out of your privacy.
IMAGINE THAT someone could match personal information about youyour name, address, sex, age, health, and financial statuswith which Web sites you visit and how often. Sound far-fetched? It's not. It happens every day, thanks to seemingly innocuous bits of information called cookies.
In computer jargon, a cookie is a piece of information that a Web site you visit stores on your computer's hard drive. Typically, the site creates it the first time you visit there, then retrieves it each time you return. Cookies make shopping on-line at your favorite sites so easy; they keep track of your purchases as you fill your shopping cart and let you check back a few days later to see the status of your order.