In "1984", George Orwell envisioned a world without privacy, where
prying eyes knew exactly what you were doing, reading and
Well, it's 2005 and Big Brother isn't an omnipresent force in our lives
(yet). But it's pretty close. And chances are, your web browser is
When you surf around online, sites you visit could potentially be
sending cookies to your browser. And while having cookies sent to you
sounds like fun (mmm... Thin Mints!), the cookies that exist in
cyberspace are slightly different than your usual chocolate chip.
Say you're visiting Amazon.com and you set up an account with them; whenever you visit Amazon from now on, you'll see a message that says "Hi John" and suggested items that you may want to buy. How did Amazon
do this? When your web browser goes to Amazon's home page, their server
(the "computer" that the Amazon site lives on) sends your browser a
message that says something to the effect of "Hi, I'm Amazon. Who are
you?" This message is what we call a cookie (Must stop thinking about
Thin Mints. Errrggghhh!). Your browser then sends a message back saying
"Hi, I'm John's computer." It does this by sending your IP Address,
browser info, Operating System info, etc. Now every time you surf
Amazon, the site is collecting data on you (you looked up "Lost in
Translation" and therefore it can be surmised that you like
artsy-fartsy travelogue films) which Amazon's server uses to greet you
and pre-ordain some of your selections.
Now that seems pretty innocent, right? We here at Steam Studios like
artsy-fartsy travelogue movies and don't mind it at all when Amazon
uses that info.
But what about a site that you don't like or have no inclination of
giving your info to? They're probably gathering it already.
You can avoid this by setting up Cookies preferences in your browser's
Settings. They'll be in a different place depending on which browser
you use, but, trust us, they're in there somewhere.
You can set it up to never allow cookies (you're pretty paranoid, huh?)
or always allow cookies (you're not paranoid enough) and anywhere in
between. You can also delete cookies that you've received inadvertently
so that when you return to a site, it won't automatically know who and
where you are.
It won't stop viruses, and it won't protect you from spammers (if
you've got an IP address, and you do because you're obviously reading
this right now, there will be a digital imprint of you floating around
in cyberspace), but you can pick and choose who gets your info to some
And in this day and age, a little privacy, especially online, goes a