Internet Tracking

1529 WordsNov 30, 20077 Pages
Electronic passage through the Internet leaves a trail that can be traced. Tracing is a process that follows the Internet activity backwards, from the recipient to the user. As well, a user's Internet activity on web sites can also be tracked on the recipient site i.e., what sites are visited and how often. Sometimes this tracking and tracing ability is used to generate email to the user promoting a product that is related to the sites visited. User information, however, can also be gathered covertly. This leaves us wondering if tracking devices violates the user's privacy. There are different types of tracking devices; most common one is called cookies. Cookies are computer files that are stored on a user's computer during a visit to a…show more content…
But web bugs are invisible on the page and are much smaller, about the size of the period at the end of this sentence." (Web bugs) "A Web bug "is like a beacon, so that every time you hit a Web page it sends a ping or call-back to the server saying 'Hi, this is who I am and this is where I am,'" said Craig Nathan, chief technology officer for privacy start-up Meconomy.com and former technical liaison for Personify. " ( Web bugs) Most computers have cookies, which are placed on a person's hard drive when a banner ad is displayed or a person signs up for an online service. Savvy Web surfers know they are being tracked when they see a banner ad. But people can't see web bugs, and anti-cookie filters won't catch them. So the web bugs wind up tracking surfers in areas online where banner ads are not present or on sites where people may not expect to be trailed. That was the case last month when the White House ordered its drug policy office to stop using web bugs on the government's anti-drug site Freevibe.com. Following the mandate, the Clinton administration issued strict new rules regulating federal use of the technology which can surreptitiously collect personal information. Web bugs can "talk" to existing cookies on a computer if they are both from the same web site or advertising company, such as DoubleClick, which uses bugs and dominates the online advertising market.That means for example, that if a person visited Johnson & Johnson's YourBaby Web site, which
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