Invented some 20 years ago by Lou Montulli of Netscape at the time, cookie is packed with personal data that helps you to load Web sites that you visit frequently and provide vital information about you to business advertisers. It is an invention with unintended consequences. Since the introduction, many have developed ways to avoid them and protect you from giving out information on many of your habits. Mozilla’s Firefox allow a do-not track program which has been used by more than 12 percent of its visitors, and Microsoft Internet Explorer and Apple’s Safari blocks many of those too. Most apps avoid cookies on iPhones.
Unfortunately tracking for advertising purposes hard to avoid and many big Web sites including Apple, Google and Facebook are looking for alternatives for cookies including ways to prevent customers turning them off. They use customer IP addresses, user operating systems, browsing patterns and other ways to collect data. These methods will allow even those who opt not to be tracked to be tracked. Since they are different from old software based tracking, it could require new ways to control them. The United States search and advertising business is a $35 billion a year industry and that is a compelling reason for developers to find new ways to track you.