Site Privacy issues

From: Ashley Carder <>
Date: Fri Sep 17 10:30:51 2004


Your analogy is quite good. I should have turned off my "who are you" and
cookie when I decided to post the URL here on this list. Originally it was
intended to be a publicized site since it had some personal content on it.
just did the cookie thing as a convenience for my friends so they wouldn't
to log in and remember a password. The personal diary / recollection
is no longer a visible link on the site, so I don't really have the need to
who's visiting. Originally, if unknown persons were visiting the site, I
was going
to add a login / password, but that need never really occurred because the
unknown thing that ever visited my site was the web crawlers, and they
crawl past the "who are you" page, so the site content was never indexed in
search engines beyond the "who are you" page.

I'm a late 40s guy too. To be more precise, I'm 46, about halfway to 47.


----- Original Message -----
From: "vrs" <>
To: "General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts"
Sent: Friday, September 17, 2004 11:06 AM
Subject: Re: Site Privacy issues

> > I don't know, it just seems that it's people who either don't understand
> > how web browsers and non-static sites work, or relative newbies to the
> > Internet, seem to shout and rave about cookies "OMG, that site sent me a
> > *cookie*! I'm being hacked! They're going to steal my credit card
> > number and my pr0n stash!"
> I'm going to jump in here (hopefully briefly). I am not a fan of cookies,
> and run with them turned off by default. I am also a user of cash, for
> of the same reasons.
> I'd like to draw an analogy between cookies and meatspace transactions.
> When I go into a a store to buy something, I like to whip out my cash, pay
> for the item, and be on my way. I am not interested in forming a
> "relationship" with the shipkeeper. Likewise, I like my web browsing to
> quick and anonymous, unless there is a good reason for the interaction to
> otherwise.
> To me, cookies are the web equivalent to those obnoxious shopper cards
> have been all the rage lately with store owners. Now when I go to buy
> coffee at the store, the clerk asks if I have a store card, even though
> especially because?) I am paying in cash. If I don't have one, (s)he
> immediately offers me one.
> Why does (s)he do this? Is it because they want to identify repeat
> customers, and offer them all kinds of discounts? No. That might be why
> customers do it, but it isn't why stores do it. (S)he does this because
> store wants to de-anonymize the transaction. They want to track my buying
> habits and offer customized advertising (not to me, to the advertisers!),
> the form of coupons on the back of the sales slip, junk mail, and (in the
> case of Safeway and Amazon, at least) later when I browse the web.
> This is the real reason many sites want to place a cookie -- they want to
> identify me, profile me, and offer me tailor made propoganda for a variety
> of causes. This always sounds like a great idea to them. No thanks.
> I am also aware that transparent GIF images and other technologies replace
> cookies, and are much more difficult to suppress.
> > Pretty much any site that does anything "cleverer" than serve up static
> > pages is going to need some means by which the server can keep state -
> > HTTP doesn't really have a mechanism for this, since the connection is
> > closed once the page has been sent. Now, if you want the server to have
> > some idea of where a given client has come from *within your own site*,
> > you can either fake it with hidden form fields (not always possible, but
> > worth a try), a big long identifier in the GET request (ugly, and prone
> > to error), or use a cookie. It's not a fantastic way of doing it, but
> > it's the "least worst" in the absence of properly stateful connections.
> The number of sites that need to do anything "cleverer" than serve static
> pages is quite small. If I am actually going to do business with a web
> (and I do, with a few), then I will turn on cookies, etc.
> My especial peeve is with the sites that really are only serving static
> pages, but want to place a cookie anyway. There is no good reason why I
> should want them to do this.
> One of the assumptions that lurks behind this mindset is that, although
> needs converge on a particular interaction, it is important to remember
> others have their own interests at heart, not mine (rightly so), and that
> their interests and mine will frequently be in conflict.
> To summarize, I think of cookies like those store cards, and refuse them
> a lot of the same reasons.
> > Just to give you some
> > frame of reference, I am probably around the young-to-median point of
> > the age range of this list (actually, what *is* the age range? It would
> > be interesting to know) - old enough to remember the days before
> > sub-?100 home computers, and *just* old enough to fondly remember
> > Honeywell CP-6 at university.
> Late 40s, myself. Don't know, but from the small sample I have, that puts
> me within a few years of a lot of others.
> Vince
Received on Fri Sep 17 2004 - 10:30:51 BST

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