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Monday, 1 January 2007

Another Cookie, anyone?



I started to look for some information about cookies, as a result of reading an article on The Blogger Status for Real Blog, by Chuck, entitled;Third Party Cookies Used To Migrate From Beta Blogger To New Blogger? where he suggests that some of the present problems associated with Blogger Migration may stem from the creation of cookies by one server (beta.blogger.com) and recognised by another server (www2.blogger.com), as third party cookies, which could necessitate clearing of your Browser's cookies and cache, as a suggested work-around for log-in problems.

How many other functions do cookies perform? But, firstly, exactly what are Internet Cookies?

Cookies are pieces of information generated by a Web server for future access.

Internet Cookies are often the stuff nightmares are made of. David Whalen has lots of answers in his articles on FAQ, at the cookiecentral.com site.


Do they transmit my personal information? Do they infect my Hard Drive with Viruses? Why do I need them, at all? In fairness to the Cookie, the answer to the preceding questions seems to be, a resounding, YES, and NO!

The U.S. Department of Energy, CIAC, in their bulletin, I-034, suggests that:

DAMAGE: (There is) "No damage to files or systems. Cookies are only used to identify a web browser though they may be used to track a user's browsing habits."

and...

VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT: "The Vulnerability of systems to damage or snooping by using web browser cookies is essentially non-existent."


In an article published on the website, cookiecentral.com, entitled, The Cookie Concept, by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, he suggests, inter alia, that:

- Essentially, cookies make use of user-specific information transmitted by the Web server onto the user's computer so that the information might be available for later access by itself or other servers. In most cases, not only does the storage of personal information into a cookie go unnoticed, so does access to it. Web servers automatically gain access to relevant cookies whenever the user establishes a connection to them, usually in the form of Web requests."


One of his main points of interest, for a web-user, should be the lack of communication about these cookie placements. Also, how often have you looked at your cookie list and seen one, or a hundred, from sites you have NEVER accessed? How is this done, and why is it done without your knowledge and/or permission? I recommend a visit to cookiecentral, for a look at The Dark Side. Well-worth your time to read it.


Wikipedia suggests that;

Cookies are also subject to a number of misconceptions, mostly based on the erroneous notion that they are computer programs. In fact, cookies are simple pieces of data unable to perform any operation by themselves. In particular, they are neither spyware, nor viruses, despite the detection of cookies from certain sites by many anti-spyware products".


Having read so many articles on Cookies and, I suppose most writers haven't come across a Migration of Blogs situation before, I could find no specific information to answer Chuck's query about 3rd Party Cookies. However, I have to agree that common sense would suggest that Chuck is right, because he has a deep knowledge of exactly how cookies work. Browsers maybe responsible for login problems, as Joel, a.k.a. 'Outliers' suggested.


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