There was a recent law suit against McDonalds and Microsoft for tampering with / using cookies to figure out where else their website visitors go to on the web. The lawsuit was kicked out due to the approach the lawyers took. The judge said they didn’t monetize the privacy invasion enough to justify a suit. Yet it does not mean that there is not a reason for the suit. The bottom line: companies will continue to track your browsing history to BOTH their web sites and the other sites you visit. To reduce the amount companies know about you, consider the mode called private browsing. Each browser has a quick means of turning this on and calls it something different. But it is designed to hide your other cookies and identity information.
The method of how these companies are tracking you (from the paper the Standard):
According to the lawsuit gutted Wednesday, Interclick used Flash cookies to back up more traditional browser-based cookies it used to track which websites individual users visited. Until recently, Flash cookies – which are also known as LSOs, or locally stored objects – were significantly harder to delete. This allowed website operators in many case to recreate the deleted browser cookies, a practice known as “cookie respawning,” that was first revealed in 2009.
The lawsuit also accuses Interclick of exploiting a decade-old vulnerability in virtually every web browser that leaks the websites end users have visited recently. Interclick’s use of history-sniffing code was first documented in December by researchers from the University of California at San Diego. Most browser makers have patched the vulnerability past year or so.
For more information, please review previous blog entries:
How to Clear Browser Cookies
How to automatically surf in a more secure mode