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The Truth About Cookies

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Cookies are small text files that allow a Web site to recognize a repeat visitor to its site. Cookies are not programs that damage files on a user's system. Everyone will tell you this much.

Why use cookies?

The nature of the Internet is to forget everything it knows about you at its earliest convenience. The Internet trys hard to get the web pages, images and files you request. However once this task is done, it for all intents and purposes forgets you were ever on the Internet. For many tasks, this arrangement is a satisfactory one. But in situations where your actions over a series of web pages determine the response, a more memorable solution is required. Cookies were developed as one of these solutions.

How are cookies used?

Cookies can be used in a multitude of ways. Some of the more common acceptable uses are

Why worry about cookies?

We are not suggesting you become a RAVING PARINOID!!! We do suggest a little common sense. Just as we are careful in how we choose to talk to strangers, we should be careful whose cookies we choose to accept. Most people are good and honorable. Some are nosy and careless. Unfortunately there are also fringe elements with malice in mind. They prey on the naive and trusting.

Unfortunately without monitoring the cookie traffic, you have no way to know who is sending what and where. Without guarantees of anonymity or some other assurances, you have no idea of how the information accumulated will be used. It is amazing the amount of personal information that can be accumulated over the Internet. The choice is yours.

If you have become comfortable with a site because

It is your choice to accept their cookie or not. Just remember, it is reasonable to be suspious of any site that requires cookies.

Need an acid test -
Would you accept a ride in this person's automobile on a dark and deserted road?

How do I know if I am getting cookies?

Most browsers are automatically configured to accept cookies without any warnings. You can check your browser's settings by clicking the next button.

Did see a warning for about a cookie or putting information on your computer? If not, you have probably been getting cookies ever since you started browsing on the Internet. You may now remove the Test Cookie by clicking the button below. Remember you must click OK, Yes or Accept if you accepted the previous cookie or otherwise received no warning about the cookie.

When you exit your browser, all traces of these diagnostic cookies should disappear.

Do you want to change who can send you cookies?

With Netscape Browers

Click menu items :

  1. Options
  2. Network Preferences
  3. Protocols tab
  4. Look in the box -
    Show an Alert Before
    Accepting a Cookie
With Microsoft Browsers

Click menu items :

  1. View
  2. Options or Internet Options
  3. Advanced tab
  4. Look in the box -
    Warn before accepting cookies
If this box is unchecked - you will not be warned before accepting a cookie.

If this box is checked - you will be warned each time a cookie is offered to you. You will have the option of declining the cookies when they are sent -

Cancel to discard the cookie.

Accept to accept the cookie.

Unfortunately neither browser supports an option to automatically declines all cookies. There are some other browsers that have this option and software that automatically deletes all cookies.

How do I delete any cookies I already have?

With Netscape Browers

  1. Look in your Netscape folder (directory) usually c:\program files\netspace\navigator

  2. Delete the file - cookies.txt
With Microsoft Browsers

  1. Look in your cookies directory usually c:\windows\cookies

  2. Delete all the files you have there.
If you use Windows 95 or 98, you could also

With Netscape Browers

  1. Use the Find feature on the Start menu to simply find the file called cookies.txt.

  2. Delete the file - cookies.txt
Please walk me through this option.
With Microsoft Browsers

  1. Use the Find feature on the Start menu to simply find the folder called cookies.

  2. Delete all the files you have there.
Please walk me through this option.

Can I choose which cookies I want to delete?

Yes - but this option is more involved.

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