|The Cookie Monster on “Sesame Street” devours cookies. The
Cookie Monster on the World Wide Web hands out cookies. Television’s Cookie
Monster is more benign.
Some of the cookies left by the Web’s monsters are benign, too. They’re little pieces of data left in your computer by Web sites you visit. If you return to the site, the cookies in your computer can save you time by remembering the web sites you visit., web site user name and password. If you visit a shopping mall, on a return visit the cookies can provide your name, address and credit card number to make shopping a little easier.
The problem is that other Web sites can get access to the cookies and acquire information about you.
|That can be useful. Good marketing helps customers as well as business.
But if you guard your privacy, you may want to control access to information
about you so it can’t be used or even sold by Web sites you don’t wish
to have it.
You can control cookies with your Internet browser. It can be set to alert you whenever a Web site wants to deposit a cookie in your computer. But that’s never the default setting. And having to respond constantly to warnings can cramp your surfing style.
A number of programs promise to help, and several do the job well. Two Windows 95 programs that I like are Cookie Pal (CP1SETUP.ZIP) and Luckman’s Anonymous Cookie (ACSETUP.ZIP).
Anonymous Cookie lets you disable all the cookies stored in your computer whenever you surf the Net. That’s a bit extreme, but it does work—and the program doesn’t require a registration fee.
The program works with all the versions of Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator currently in use as well as with CompuServe and America Online.
For Macintosh computers, there are a couple of choices. Cookie Monster, which works with Netscape and Internet Explorer, trashes your cookies folder each time you boot up, making it impossible for Web sites to gather information about you. Cookie Cutter (for Netscape only) gives you a little bit more flexibility by choosing which cookies you want to get rid of.