Cookies are bad for you… and addictive

They rot your teeth… and your computer :-)

In the earlier days of the Internet, it was fairly automatic (at least me) to have Cookies turned off (at least 3rd Party cookies) and to just enable the ones that I needed (or trusted). However, some years ago I stopped thinking about Cookies and just went with the browser defaults which turns all cookies on.

With the onslaught of privacy violations over the last year — from telecom companies to social networks — I have become increasingly uncomfortable with blindly giving random companies access to my machine. So a few weeks ago I figured “Why not just go back to my old behavior of turning off cookies and only selectively turning them on”. And that is what I have done…

However, it turns out that this is very painful and not at all the simple process of a few years ago. While some sites seem to be able to gracefully handle these restrictions, where I can simply unblock a URL or even a port and all is OK, other sites just throw up on me. Two examples being Hootsuite.com and Paper.li which just hang, even when I explicitly unblock them. However, despite these hiccups I am adamant that I will not give up on my quest to control MY DATA and who has access to it, if out of nothing more than pure stubbornness :)

So what’s my call to action? Well, this is directed to the companies that are building these Cookie-addicted WebsitesSTOP IT! You cannot just assume that you can dump whatever rubbish you want on my machine and then take whatever information you want, without my objecting. Don’t be so presumptuous and keep your hands off my disk drive.

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5 Comments to “Cookies are bad for you… and addictive”

  1. Marie, a surprising post. The idea of “going back to the simple times” and activating cookies for selected sites is fascinating… Will try it on my iPhone and see how far I come.

    Funny to read this on your enterprisesocialsoftware blog…

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    • :-) I’m clearly a huge fan of social applications and a lover of sharing in general, but I am becoming increasingly disturbed with the lack of respect that applications are showing users. The whole area of privacy and transparency is something I feel passionately about. Analytics folks (that’s us) potentially wield great power, and with great power comes great responsibility! Gosh, that’s a bit of a deeper response than I had intended :-)

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  2. Update: LinkedIn has a bit of a wobbler over cookie restrictions. Even when you explictly unblock linkedin.com, you will still need to go through a second unblock step. On Chrome, click on the Cookie icon beside the URL (it will have a red cross through it), then click on “Show cookies and other site data…”, then click on the “Blocked Tab”, and finally on the “LinkedIn” item. It appears that this explicitly adds the 443 port to the list of allowed websites, doesn’t get done by default. As an FYI, that “Blocked tab” will show you the other sites that LinkedIn is trying to give access to your machine.

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  3. Hey, I kept having cookies disabled and it worked.
    Some sites had endless loops, some sites are unusable (such as meetup.com) and many sites say “hey, enable cookies”. TestFlightApp did overachieve though excellently in this case: https://testflightapp.com/enable-cookies/
    Cookie Monster!

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    • I ended up giving up. Even when I selectively enabled cookies for certain sites they still wouldn’t work properly. Really strange stuff like… some of my Hootsuite dashboard tabs stopped working, viewing profiles on LinkedIn hung, and there were other annoying examples I can’t think of off-hand. So, I just said … what the heck and gave up :)

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