New Cookie Tracking – The Evercookie

CaptureEvercookie, it sounds like some sort of never ending candy that Willy Wonka might invent.  Well, it is almost neverending, and maybe just as sticky as candy.

Evercookies are similar to the normal cookies that are dropped into user’s browsers when visiting a site.  The major difference is that an evercookie does not disappear when the user clears their cache and cookies to start with a clean browser slate.  Evercookies however can get around this action by using other browser storage functions and restoring removed cookies. As most of us know, anything deleted on a computer can, in almost all cases, somehow be restored.  In this case “cookie synching” is used, allowing trackers to share user identifiers with each other. All of it done outside of your view or knowledge.  This allows Evercookies to persistently track your web and site behavior without end

A 1999 New York Times article denounced cookies and described them sinisterly as “surveillance files.”  That’s hardly a prevailing opinion anymore.  Over the last 16 years cookies have become viewed similarly to a web ad or a pop up.  In many cases, users embrace cookies as they allow their web experience to remain consistent even after closing their browsers.  Evercookies are not particularly new, they’ve been around a few years, and their use is not exactly prominent for the time being.  There are privacy and even ethical issues that prevent companies from simply dropping them into the bag of regular cookies we’re accustomed to.  Their prominence and implementation around the web is still not ubiquitous, but in the future, Evercookies have the possibility of becoming a web browsing standard, and that New York Times writer might need to dust off his typewriter again.