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Privacy.net Cookie Demonstration

Bake your own Internet Cookie!
Try one.  Then choose a different one to see how cookies can be used to provide personalized content.

I want milk with my cookie!

You currently do not have a cookie for this demonstration. You can get one by clicking the button.

An Internet cookie is a text file placed on your computer by web sites that you visit.  Because it only contains text it normally cannot transmit a virus or do damage to your system.  It may or may not be a privacy concern depending on how it is used.  Other Internet applications, such as Flash and Silverlight, stores files in addition to text

This demonstration uses Internet cookies to set your personal preferences.  Choose the type of cookie you want (Chocolate Chip, Gingerbread, Oreo, Fig Newton, Pinwheel, Sugar Cookie, or Oatmeal).  A text file is placed on your system and is retrieved each time you visit this web site.  After the Internet cookie is retrieved from your system the web server decides which image to display.  Try choosing a different value and you will see the content change based on your choice.  For demonstration purposes the information is shown in the URL.  It could also be done without showing the information in the URL.  This is the difference between GET and POST type of requesting web pages.  When GET is used the information must be in the URL, when POST is used the information is sent behind the scenes in the web browser "header."  To see the information your browser sends in the "header" take the Privacy analysis test.

This Internet cookie is configured to stay on your system for years.  If you come back months later the server will still retrieve your choice from your computer if it is still there.

To find your cookie file on your local hard drive use the file search function and search on file name "cookiedemo"

Some common uses for Internet cookies are:

  • An anonymous code given to you so the web site operator can see how many users return at a later time.  These cookies are configured to stay on your system for months or years and are called "persistent" cookies.
  • A code identifying you.  This usually occurs after a registration.  The site could keep a detailed account of pages visited, items purchased, etc. and even combine the information with information from other sources once they know who you are.
  • A list of items you purchased.  This is often used in "shopping cart" web sites to keep track of your order.  Often cookies of this type 'expire' as soon as you log out or after a short time.  These are called "session" cookies.
  • Personal preferences.  This can be anonymous or linked to personal information provided during a registration.

Cookies are not a secure form of authentication because anyone can change their cookie file and send the web site a fake cookie. 

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