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Improved privacy in the use of Web browser cookies

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000021980D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Feb-18
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Feb-18

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Web browsers such as Netscape Navigator use so-called "cookies" for letting servers store and retrieve information on the client machine. A cookie may simply be string of characters that is given to the client by the server. At a later session, the server may request the previously given cookie and thereby restore the state of the previous session. The purpose of the cookies is extend the capabilities of Web-based client/server applications. However, the use of cookies significantly compromises the client's privacy when the latter's identity is either currently known or may later become known to the server. Some browsers allow users to disable the cookie mechanism, but users do benefit from the cookie mechanism because it can saves them the time and effort need to retype information they have already submitted to the server. Furthermore, some servers require the mechanism to be enabled. Thus, a user who is interested in the benefits of the cookie mechanism is in need for a better protection of his or her privacy. The invention enhances the capability of the user to control the cookies receiving and retrieving process. This enhancement is implemented by an enhanced Web browser with a graphical user interface (GUI) that allows the user to enter either permanent or one-time instructions to the enhanced browser as to how to handle cookies for various domain names.