After public outcry and a class-action suit (which was settled in 2002), DoubleClick did an about-face and said it had made a huge mistake (Peneberg, 2005). When cookies are used in this manner it definitely brings ethical issues to the forefront. It is an invasion of privacy to take, use and potentially sell information that was not knowingly shared. It is an abuse of privileges users innocently extend to websites. If this invasion of privacy is allowed to continue, one could only wonder what will await the unsuspecting user in future.
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It is quite plausible for large marketing and advertising firms to start tampering with cookies, eventually creating more evasive ways of snooping on users, and in the process obtaining more crucial information like social security numbers. Marketers don't fear that the government will ban or restrict cookies someday. After heavy lobbying they managed to secure an amendment to the Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act that would exempt cookies from any spyware legislation that passes in the House (Peneberg, 2005).
The people could rally together to band cookies, but that would make browsing the web difficult for all. It would make more sense to establish stricter regulations against tracking cookies. When companies start to dig too deep and go too far, the people will rebel. Cookies should remain just simple text files that mutually benefit the site and the user. There is no need to invade users’ privacy for profit. References Peneberg, A. L. (2005, November 7). Cookie Monsters: The innocuous Text Files that Web Surfers love to hate. Retrieved November 5, 2012, from Slate: http://www. late. com/articles/technology/technology/2005/11/cookie_monsters. html Williams, B. K. , ; Stacy C. Sawyer. (2013). USING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: A PRACTICAL INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTERS ; COMMUNICATIONS (10th ed. ). Boston: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. -------------------------------------------- [ 1 ]. Text files are stored as name-value pairs. [ 2 ]. Tracking cookies are third-party cookies placed by a marketing or advertising company that is interested in tagging visitors. Often they make sure a user won't be hit with the same ad twice.
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