"For those of you that aren't aware of what a tracking cookie is, it's what happens when you visit someone's website and they want to know exactly who visits their website and how many times. So when you go to that website, the website program installs (unknown to you) a tiny program known as a cookie on your computer, that keeps record of all your visits to their website. Tracking cookies can also track/trace you EVERYWHERE you surf on the entire Internet and report that information back to the site that set the original cookie, depending upon how the owner/webmaster of the website utilizes them or sets them up to be used."
* A cookie is not a program
* A cookie is usually two lines, an identifier for the web site, and a random identifier for your browser
* ONLY THE SITE THAT WRITES THE COOKIE CAN READ THE COOKIE. WHEN YOU LEAVE, IT HAS NO VALUE FOR ANY OTHER WEBSITE (there is one exception, keep reading)
* A cookie can be used to track your clicks through a site, by reaffirming who you are everytime you land on a new page. There is another way to do this -- its called sessions. sessions write dynamic code to all the site links so that your browser has a unique id when you click to the next page. cookies have the advantage of being readable when the person comes back to the website. sessions will work only for the one visit.
* now before you blather on that this is a big conspiracy -- without cookies, or sessions - shopping carts would be impossible. i repeat - it would not be possible to buy anything on the web. why?? ah because once you had put something in your shopping cart page, and you look at another product -- how is the site suppossed to know which shopping cart is yours? when you fill in your name and address for shipping and then click to the payment screen -- again without having any way to know who it is -- you can't show them the order info!
* COOKIES CAN NOT TRACK YOU AFTER YOU HAVE LEFT THE WEBSITE!! again they are only readable by the site that writes them.
* HOWEVER (there's always a however right) -- there are cookies that work with a number of large web sites to track visitors across sites. but they can only read the cookies that are part of that advertising network. any kind of independent web site or shopping site is not going to have this, and frankly they dont give a shit who you are they are trying to track clicks only to justify their ad rates.
if you dont like cookies -- ah then just turn them off. but there will be some shopping site where you will have to use them. you can always delete them after you are done shopping.