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Dealing with Cookies

Depending on your level of paranoia you could consider cookies to be either an elegant solution to some of problems in utilising the Web or the embodiment of Big Brother watching you.

The ability of cookies to be customised can certainly work to your benefit if you are a regular visitor to a site, but... some Web sites are quite happy to share the information they gather about you... for a profit. What happens to these data bases if the site closes or changes ownership?

Concerns that cookies could be an invasion of privacy can be easily justified. The most innocent looking Web page can issue cookies and collect data from you that is neither monitored nor covered by any privacy law.

Many web site features will not function without the use of cookies. Shopping sites in particular need to use cookies to trace your purchases as you shop.

The more privacy conscious web sites use "Per Session" cookies which do not save any information about you to disc when you close your browser, so can be safely enabled.

So how do you manage these cookies? With each browser versions cookie management has been improved. The browser cookie manager allows you to set rules that control which cookies you let your computer accept and which ones are deleted.

Internet Explorer 6 and 7
Select Tools/Internet Options/
Select the Privacy Tab
Select the Advanced button
Set: Override automatic cookie handling.
Set First Party Cookies to either Accept, Block or Prompt
Set Third Party Cookies to either Accept, Block or Prompt
Set: Always allow session cookies.

I would set First Party Cookies to Block and Third Party Cookies to Block. If a site ceased to function then set First Party Cookies to Accept while using that site only.

Firefox
From the Tools menu select Options.
Go to the Privacy Tab.
Set Accept cookies from sites
Then from the 'Keep until' drop down text box - Select 'I close Firefox'

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