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Are Cookies Dangerous?
~ Viewpoints ~

Cookies are spyware. Cookies are dangerous. Cookies invade your privacy. Those are the statements that circulate amongst the people who don't understand them and amongst the fanatics who want to stamp them out.

What is a cookie?
A cookie is a tiny record consisting of a domain that set the cookie, an expiration date and the name/value pair. The value of the name/value pair could contain any type of text information. Cookies are highly restricted by the browser and can't be made to compromise your computer. Cookies are simply text and nothing more. They can't execute like a program, nor can they be used to spy on you.

Can cookies spy on you?
Some people got the idea that cookies can spy on you because information can be gathered and stored in a cookie of what your IP address is or track other vague criteria not actually tied to you personally. The truth is, any server can get IP information and other vague data not tied to your personal information without cookies by using various other means. But still, people got paranoid because they didn't understand them and the conspiracy was perpetuated due to people's ignorance. In short, cookies can NOT disclose anything truly personal about you because they do not actually have the ability to spy on users.

Do cookies invade your privacy without your consent?
It's true that cookies can possibly contain private information. However the information can only be put into a cookie if you intentionally enter (type in with your keyboard) your private information into a Web site via a Web form and the Web form sets a cookie with your information tied to it. Even still, no other Web site is going to be able to get to that information other than the site that set it, the very site you submitted that information to. The browsers are very restrictive and do NOT allow other sites to read cookies not belonging to that specific Web site. If you trusted that Web site and the company behind it with your personal information, the cookie is no more dangerous than your trusted Web site.

Viruses and spyware can read my cookies.
There is the argument that a virus or spyware might read your cookies. If you got a virus, you have much larger problems than cookies. The virus or spyware has access to your whole hard drive, the same hard drive that probably contains all sorts of sensitive records. Spyware can also record your every keystroke if it's designed to function in that manner. Better put the priority on removing that virus, ThiefWare, or spyware before needlessly worrying about something that can't actually hurt you.

Cookies are very useful.
Cookies are very helpful. They enable you to have automatic login to various online forums. They help you recall user names and passwords for logging into various other places that utilize user names and passwords. Cookies are very important to Web based affiliates since they are directly related to affiliates getting paid for referrals. Even if you are not a Web affiliate now, you might decide to be one in the future if you find it a lucrative means to generate money via a simple Web site (or a complex Web site if you choose).

Allow those cookies onto your computer. They are your friend—not your enemy. Help others get educated about the truth of cookies. Refer them to this page.

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