Cookies on your computer: You won't believe who they talk to. - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Those cookies on your computer? You won't believe who they talk to.

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Dave Hatter of Libertas Technologies shows the reach of cookies attached to his browser. Dave Hatter of Libertas Technologies shows the reach of cookies attached to his browser.
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

There's a problem with cookies on your computer. They spread personal information about you far and wide. But if you set your browser settings so tightly than none are allowed, websites you love may not be usable.

Dave Hatter of Libertas Technologies in Cincinnati, which writes software for companies with complex tasks that can't be accomplished by buying off-the-shelf software, is worried about how much privacy we're giving up. He demonstrated on his computer just how vexing it's become to keep the sites you've visited a secret. A screen full of bubbles suddenly appears on Hatter's laptop, showing us that the cookies attached to his browser are talking with third-party companies he's never even heard of before. 

"Cookies in and of themselves aren't necessarily bad, you just need to understand (that) they're used to track you across the web," Hatter said. "And you can be tracked in ways you would never anticipate because of the convoluted way you can get cookies on your computer."

It's the reason I tend to erase everything in each browser I use at work and home at least once a week. It's not so much that you're visiting any sites you'd be ashamed of. But it's the thought of somebody out there having very personal information about you.

Firefox is reportedly changing its policy regarding cookies because of this concern.

As Hatter says, maybe nothing nefarious happens now. But what if the company with your information is sold and your info is handed-over to a less-than-ethical firm? Or what if the third-party who's getting information from your cookie suffers a security breach?

Hatter recommends the following articles for a better understanding of cookies and the possible invasions of privacy they present:

http://www.ravelrumba.com/blog/third-party-cookies/

http://www.adexchanger.com/data-driven-thinking/we-dont-need-no-stinkin-third-party-cookies/

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