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Rent-An-Identity Disclosure Number: IPCOM000014535D
Original Publication Date: 2000-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-19
Document File: 2 page(s) / 56K

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Disclosed is a method to improve internet privacy by rendering HTTP cookies useless.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 53% of the total text.

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Disclosed is a method to improve internet privacy by rendering HTTP cookies useless.

     A 'cookie' is a data object containing application-generated arbitrary content that is carried in the HTTP header. A cookie is generated by the server application and sent to the client. Cookies are categorized as temporary or permanent. A client returns a temporary cookie on its next post without storing it locally. A client is supposed to store a permanent cookie and return it upon request by the application, which could be during a future session.

     Some browsers offer the user several options with regard to cookies. Netscape (v5) offers the binary choice of accepting cookies or not. Microsoft Internet Explorer v5 offers fine-grained control: all cookies, no cookies from anybody, no cookies from a list of restricted sites, or prompting for each cookie.

     Cookies can be put to many uses. Some uses benefit users and some benefit advertisers. Here are a few examples:

An application uses cookies to remember which items the online shopper has placed in his/her shopping cart, but only for the duration of the shopping session. A server delivering customised advertising content uses permanent cookies to remember which ads were displayed to the user during the past two weeks. By remembering this, the server can deliver new advertisements that the user has not seen recently. A cookie may also be used to improve the usability of the user's internet experience by storing personalization information particular to the application, for example user preferences or access control information (userID and password). Sometimes it is desirable to retain this information across logons.

     A cookie itself does not enable an application to obtain personal information about a user. Typically, the application assigns an anonymous index number to a given user and collects information about what the person with this index number does online. For example, cookies give an advertiser who places content on many different sites a way to track what kind of sites the user likes, what sites they visited in what order, at what time of day, what pages they clicked while there, how long they stayed, etc.

     Recently it came to light that by collaboratin...