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Stale Cookies: How Companies Are Tracking You Online Today

Publication Date: 
October 03, 2013
San Francisco Chronicle - The Tech Chronicles
James Temple

Stanford Center for Internet and Society's Aleecia McDonald and Jonathan Mayer spoke with James Temple of the San Francisco Chronicle on the “privacy arms race” currently taking place online between companies and consumers.

There’s a privacy arms race underway online, an ongoing struggle among consumers, companies, advocates and officials to assert greater control over personal data.

In the wake of the NSA spying revelations, a surge of consumers disabled the browser cookies that allow marketers to monitor online activity, according to a recent survey by Annalect.


“There’s a Whac-A-Mole game that’s started in earnest,” said Aleecia McDonald, director of privacy at Stanford’s Center for Internet & Society.


Then again, new tools are emerging that could that minimize that advantage. One aim of the Cookie Clearinghouse initiative at Stanford is to provide tools that prevent a company like Facebook from following users around the Web just because they chose to log into the social network, privacy researcher Jonathan Mayer pointed out.