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Trick Or Treat: Cookies And Consumer Privacy In Online Advertising

The proliferation of online goods and services means consumer data is available to those with a need or interest in possessing it. One method providers and third party partners employ to collect online consumer data is the use of cookies. There are many types of cookies, chocolate chip, peanut butter (I could not help myself), but all serve the same overall function: tracking consumer behavior for browser experience customization and delivery of targeted ads. The use of cookies over time may create a highly detailed history of interests, needs and purchases relative to a consumer—information that is very valuable to companies. At first glance, this may seem like a treat, however, the trick is in navigating through the various types of cookies and understanding who is collecting information, what and how information is collected and used, and the duration of the collection.

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