Whenever you visit a website, a cookie will be added to your computer to track your online activity. Most cookies are deletable, however, one kind of cookie that is not deletable is the supercookie. Major companies like Hulu and MSN are using these supercookies and can track all kinds of user data which is primarily used for advertising. The catch is that users are obviously not aware of supercookies on their computers and more than 1,500 websites that users visit can be tracked. Problems occur when the websites users visit are private, like websites dealing with your financial information (loans, credit etc) and health issues (fertility problems, depression etc.).
Supercookies watch all your browsing
Websites that contain supercookies, including Microsoft, MSN's parent company, can be unaware that their site contains such cookies. The cookies usually come from advertisers who place ads on websites via digital marketing firms. Even though a company like Microsoft may not have a direct connection with a digital marketing firm, the tracking service comes from the firm because of advertisers.
Certain lawmakers in the US call these types of cookie unacceptable and are urging the Federal Trade Commission to look into the issue and decide whether this practice is unfair. Privacy concerns are of course at the top of this debate and there is legislation passing through Congress in the United States which will allow consumers to say they don't want to be tracked but little has been done about it yet. Even if such a legislation goes through and is applicable to sites like Hulu (not usable in India) and MSN (usable in India), we also have to think about how it affects websites that are not US-based. Will supercookies present in Indian websites be disallowed, too?
Published Date: Sep 28, 2011 12:48 pm | Updated Date: Sep 28, 2011 12:48 pm