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Cookie Alternative: Not Too Tasty?

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 04, 2005

A surprising number of people don’t like cookies. I mean those small files that get attached to your browser as you visit Web sites. Cookies let sites recognize you the next time you visit, either to avoid your having to type in a credit card number every time or for less savory reasons, such as tracking your virtual travels. JupiterResearch recently said 58% have deleted them to maintain their privacy. Now, a company called United Virtualities has come up with a new way to foil their efforts to stay anonymous online. …

The company's Persistent Identification Element, or PIE, is a piece of code that lets Web sites get around users' cookie-crunching. It basically tags one's browser just like cookies, and it can even restore tossed cookies--and there's no software that can yet get rid of it.

United Virtualities founder and CEO Mookie Tenembaum told me that you can set your browser to maximum security to repel a PIE, but that makes browsing pretty painful. And he says he won't sell to disreputable sites, though that's certainly a gray area. But as some folks note, there could be a backlash. Deservedly so. If people go to the trouble of getting a virtual restraining order, it's nobody's business to keep stalking them.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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