What Are Cookies?

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Master's February 2002

download word file, 2 pages 0.0

(1) When getting information from the Web, we often encounter cookies. A Cookie, is an HTTP header that consists of a small text file that your browser exchanges with a Web site or FTP server and then saves on your computer. This text-only string contains the domain, path, lifetime and value of a variable that a website sets. If the lifetime of this variable is longer than the time the user spends at that site, then this string is saved to file for future reference. Sometimes cookies are intrusive and are created without a warning or your consent. Fortunately, you can set your Web browser to warn you when a site is attempting to create a cookie file, or you can block storing cookie files altogether.

(2) One of the parties involved in this crisis of control are any PC users, who use FTP, other servers, visit Websites.

The other party, are the companies, and other profit or non-profit groups and organizations that own the Websites. The relationship of these parties is effected in two main ways. Some users are satisfied with the reasons a given site would wish to use cookies. These range from the ability to personalize information (like on Excite or My Yahoo), or to help with on-line sales/services (like on Amazon.com or Microsoft), or for the purpose of tracking pupilar links or demographics. Cookies also provide programmers with a quick and convenient means of keeping site content fresh and relevant to the user's interests.

(3) The main problem that cookies control technology touches upon, is the question of the privacy of PC users. One of the main detimental sides of cookies is that the user may be under a risk of being tracked down. Meaning, that if anyone gets hold of his/her personal computer,