Taking Cookies from Strangers

The GDPR is having some benefits, as serious media players are getting clearer about how pervasive tracking has become. Here is the Dow Jones cookie policy.

Dow Jones “Cookies”

Not only does it list the cookies, it also mentions Adobe “flash” cookies, which allow tracking to persist after you block browser cookies. They do not mention “beacons”, which are another method to track visitors across multiple web sites, and the methods that allow circumventing a user who wants to block third party cookies.

Most browser makers are complicit in this, making it difficult to monitor which cookies have been pushed at you and letting you reject the ability of Facebook (for example) seeing every page view on which a facebook “addthis” icon appears. This tracking goes much deeper than which ads to show you.

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10 Responses to Taking Cookies from Strangers

  1. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    A while back, tire companies started implanting Radio Frequency ID chips into their tires. Each chip and therefore each tire has a unique identifier. The RFID chips do not require batteries, they respond to an RF signal nearby the way your car responds to nearby radar – they “reflect” their unique ID back to the transmitter. I don’t know that the government is doing it yet, but expect to see RF transmitters at interesctions and on roads so that the government can track who goes by, when, and how fast. http://www.advancedmobilegroup.com/blog/michelin-cuts-costs-with-rfid-on-every-tire

    What does that have to do with Fred’s post? Have you heard of watermarks in documents? When you download a document, you may be getting a unique watermark that corresponds only to your download transaction.

    What about browsing without cookies and beacons? Cookies and beacons don’t add a lot of value if your browser has a unique identifier that it shares each time you visit a web page- whether you are logging in or not. That can be achieved with device, machine or browser “fingerprints”. See these as starting points.



    Also, some websites track your router’s MAC address and therefore identify your computer.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      Google is pushing very hard to force all web sites to use “secure” https:// – I suspect negotiating the encryption certificate and key exchange may leak a unique ID for the client.

      California is about to start embedding RFID chips in license plates. The ones in tires require connecting dots to figure out the car they are on. Once you have RFID license plates, EZPASS and similar toll collection systems go away. Every road can become a toll road, even for Electric Vehicles that don’t pay gasoline excise tax.

      • CC1s121LrBGT says:

        Yes and Yes.

        Also, checking for updates with Microsoft, Google (chrome), virus and malware signatures may result in you getting a personalized download with its own unique ID number specific to that transaction. Ditto for browser extensions.

        Google already ties your google account to your PC browser (if you log in) and does the same to your Android phone. Except for prepaid, you can not get cell phone or internet service without a valid government issued ID. Google also been documenting roam the world’s streets and collecting WIFI access point data.

        It’s not hard to see that a government could compel a vendor to send a specific custom package to your PC that does covert spying on you. China was early to virtually ban Google and decide to shun Microsoft software for its government operations.

        • Fred Stiening says:

          Chrome, the dominant browser is soon getting integrated authentication without passwords


          I think this is similar to how recurring payments are handled for credit cards. When you hand over credit card info, the merchant gives your CC info to the CC processor and in return gets a token. Subsequent charges just present the token and there is no need for the business to store your information.

          If the business was hacked and the bad guys get the tokens, it is useless since only that merchant can make charges against the customer account.

      • TheChairman says:

        Colorado is ahead of the game, in a disturbing way. Last year, on our way back to Michigan, we took a route (E-470) around Denver: no booths, no ticket. About 3 weeks later we received a ‘toll bill’ in the mail… as I suspected, they were taking photos of plates and accessing registration records nationwide to send out statements. The system is called LicensePlateToll. Thing is, our truck has an AZ plate, but trailer has MI plate (i.e. no front plate on truck, trailer blocked the rear plate) which caused a delay in determining where to send the bill, which resulted in a ‘late fee’ on top of the $17 toll charge. Very shady way of imposing a toll.

        BTW, there are now ‘smart labels’ (flat RFID) on many items such as wine and other products… visible on the back of the label if you know what to look for.

        • CC1s121LrBGT says:

          TheChairman – I suggest you NOT paying it before you call them. I can not justify the tolls of their process, but when I have had similar issues they have always been eager to adjust the bill to remove charges that were unreasonable.

          In your case, they clearly sent the bill to the wrong place and it would not have been reasonable for you to disconnect the trailer so that they could take a picture of your car. I think you will be stuck with the $17 toll (my GPS allows me to select “Avoid Tolls” when generating my routes), but I do not think they will expect you to pay the late fees.

          • TheChairman says:

            CC – Just to be clear, the incident was over a year ago. I told the wife not to pay the late fee… and was mistaken: toll was $29, late fee was $17. As I understand it, Colorado residents can have their registration suspended if they refuse to pay. Lots of complaints online about the E-470 toll racket.

        • Parrott says:

          Very shady deal indeed Chairman. In fact that late fee is wrong on several levels.
          Here in the ‘Commonwealth’ we are required to have front Virginia license plate. I have been protesting this, as others, by not putting a plate on the front. Its a secondary office, they supposedly can’t pull you over for not having the plate, but if you are pulled over for speeding, they can tack it on the ticket for the ‘bonus’.
          The ‘Commonwealth’ requires us to have a yearly ‘safety inspection’ ( more BS) . $16 fee to the governor so we may roam his highways & byways. Then you have $48 license fee yearly to DMV. Then the county hits you with a $25 local decal fee ( the decal has been eliminated for cost savings) but we still have the fee. You can purchase your non-decal after you pay your personal property tax on your vehicle. Which for my county, the rate is set to $2.35 for every $100 of assessed value. Which for example, my old Dodge truck, which ‘they’ say the value on a 13 year old truck, by NADA is around $19K .
          ( annoying) and send me a bill for $466.90. They do this every year for every year I have owned since 2007 when I bought it with 4700 miles. ( it was a lot more back then).
          So why do they need ‘ tolls’ ? These states are making a killing,. The commonwealth also has a 5.3 % sales tax,
          and we have a real estate tax on our home. So we have all three. Virginia is a high tax state nowadays.
          They really bend me over on the Airstream ! I am so tired of all these taxes. I don’t think this year I’ll be able to count my personal property tax on the federal tax form anymore.
          Tennessee is looking better everyday.
          Which one is better Chairman MI or AZ for taxes ?
          Maybe CC will tell us about NJ taxes. This is why when I hear they don’t have money for roads, I call BS.
          fired up at 9:30am

          • CC1s121LrBGT says:

            I suggest that taxes be not by geography (state) but by political party. If the Democrats want mandatory healthcare for their members, I will support them. If the Republicans want to jail their members for smoking pot, I will support them too. Proud to be a Libertarian.

          • TheChairman says:

            AZ registration is based on vehicle valuation. The rate declines as the vehicle depreciates, but is significant on newer vehicles. However, -no- sales tax on a private sale. In Tucson & Phoenix emissions compliance is tested. Property taxes are okay, but sales taxes are high (over 8%).

            MI decided they were ‘missing out’, so in 2016 they added a flat $100 fee per vehicle, per year… on top of registration fees, which are based on the value. Years ago, Michigan based registration fees strictly on the weight, but that ended. MI attempts to collect 6% tax from the sale of any vehicle, including private sales. No emissions testing (yet) in Michigan. Property taxes are significant and convoluted. Sales taxes are okay (6%), but liberals keep trying to raise the base rate “to pay for roads and education.”

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