‘Better Privacy’ Firefox Add-On Eats Hidden Cookies

I recommend the Better Privacy Firefox Add-On

I thought I worked hard to block unwanted cookies. bit this thing found between 140 and 160 flash-based cookies on the various machines I use. Scanning the list, I told it not to delete the Pandora cookies, and eat the rest. It's possible that I deleted something I'll miss, but I rather doubt it.

I really wish there were a best practices norm that people who use cookies have to make them human-readable, so you know what they say about you. Failing that, they should at least be expected to deploy a tool on their homepages that would explain to you what their cookies say about you.

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5 Responses to ‘Better Privacy’ Firefox Add-On Eats Hidden Cookies

  1. Better still, I wish Firefox’s creators took privacy seriously enough that you didn’t have to load it down with add-ons and make various inconvenient changes to the default settings, to get something resembling privacy. It’s a perennial complaint by users: Every major update requires you to go back and make changes to get your privacy back.

  2. Ed Felten says:

    Generally, the cookie itself does not store any information about you. The cookie is just a unique identifier that is (or might as well be) randomly generated. So all the cookie says about you is that you are the person associated with a certain set of database records.

    If you want to know what information they are storing about you, you need to ask about what’s in their database.

  3. michael says:

    If that’s all that’s going on, why do some sites try to set six cookies? Also, does that work when sites share cookies? Do they have to keep updating a shared database?

  4. “If you want to know what information they are storing about you, you need to ask about what’s in their database.” Unfortunately, they aren’t required to tell you, at least in the USA. And even in the EU, where they are *supposedly* required to do this, few if any companies are prepared to respond to a request for the complete dossier associated with a particular unique (but “anonymous”) cookie.

  5. FWIW, jury consulting didn’t start with cases of “wealthy criminal defendants”. Historically, it started in the 1960’s with politically sympathetic volunteers working as part of the defesne teams in political prosecutions/persecutions. This article sources it to the attempted frame-up of Phil Berrigan et al. on charges of conspiracy to kidnap Kissenger, etc., based on testimony by an informant/provacateur who had infiltrated the Catholic nonviolent direct action antiwar movement. Similar tactics were used in other political cases. Eventually some wealthy defendants, as well as civil litigators, noticed the effectiveness of these tactics, and began hiring some of these same former volunteers to work on apolitical cases, and others began entering jury consulting as a profession. Prosecutors were the last to use jury consultants.

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