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Lesson Plans

Re: Urban Myths/Web Hoaxes

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
henry (taylorh)
Wed, 25 Jun 1997 21:01:11 -0700 (MST)

Mea Culpa,

I am informed that:

1] I mispelled the word: Guinness
(and maybe I dit it again just now... I haven't looked it up)

2] Cookies do not write to your hard drive... browsers write
to your hard drive...

which makes sense I guess because it's those .exe .com & .bat files that
initiate action. I am still pretty naive about cookies etc. which is why
I suggested that you may get more accurate information elsewhere.

3] it is believed by some (but evidently not all) that the "advancement of
web richness depends upon this info garnishing."

Maybe so. I'm not the expert here.

>From one source I am informed that "soon you won't be able to turn
'Cookies' off." To give credit where credit is due, another source, The
Center for Computing and Information Technology, at the University of
Arizona, in an article in their most recent newsletter (which got me into
mentioning cookies in the first place) points out a couple of things:

"Every time you visit a website you leave a calling card... that reveals
where you are coming from, what kind of computer you have, and other

The article goes on to describe a hypothetical case where, in the process
of researching a term paper on a chronic illness a student subscribes to a
free newsletter on the illness. In order to subscribe, a questionaire must
be completed. It might then be sold to drug and insurance companies. As a
result that student might be deluged with advertisements... or someone
might assume that the student's interests strongly suggests that this
student may have or believe that it has the illness in question... this
might make acquiring insurance somewhat difficult for the student in the
future. That was the article's suggestion lest I be accused once more of
"fear mongering". Indeed I'd advise all to research the issue and make up
their own minds. That's what I am still doing.

The article also mentioned that a group of major computer corporations,
Netscape, Microsoft (together?) and perhaps 40 other companies are working
together to develop a standard for privacy software which will "allow
users to control what information -- if any -- is collected when they
visit web sites." Please note that this disagrees with #2 above. Don't
ask me, I don't know.

Finally, the article suggests that in the future (? - familiar phrase, eh?)
"incentives" might be offered in exchange for personal information.

Indeed there is already some benefit to be found, as some sites use them
to keep the things that are of interest to you readily accessible. Maybe
you have already exchanged marketable information for "free" e-mail access
or entry into an exciting chat environment.

In any case, I'm not the expert here. Apparently there are knowledgable
people out there. Any help or useful information would no doubt be

Alternatively there is
The Center for Democracy and Technology (
Anonymizer (
HomePC Magazine (www.techweb.cmp.comhpc/apr97/34PRV01.HTM)
all cited in the CCIT article mentioned above.

Again, don't be afraid, don't rely on me, don't run out and write your
congressperson. Find out about what interests you and do whatever you
happen to think makes sense.

I apologise if my "fear mongering" has caused any panic in the ranks.

Have fun, and take care out there.