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FCW's cookie conundrum

This week, we -- and other sites out there -- have been participating in The Great Cookie Debate. One person who commented on that post, who called themselves 'bandit,' notes that FCW.com uses cookies and accused us -- I guess me -- of living in a glass house.

Let me clarify: I understand that sites use cookies. I have my browser's cookie detector turned on, so I know what sites use cookies. And there certainly are legit reasons for using cookies. And some sites, such as the NYT, require that you allow cookies if you want to use their Web site. Users then can make their own choice -- do I trust the organization... is the content important enough... however one makes such a decision.

I do, however, have a problem with sites that use cookies and Web bugs without notifying users.

Furthermore, I think government agencies are different. They have to meet different criteria. If an agency wants to use cookies (or such things), there should be a very good reason and they should say so. Personally, getting visitor stats doesn't meet that criteria, but...

Regarding FCW's glass house, I will note that FCW's privacy policy -- our parent company, 101 Communications, has a standard privacy policy for all of the publications and Web sites -- specifically states how the site uses cookies (thank goodness!)

That sites says:

We use cookies to store visitors' preferences, record session information (such as items that visitors add to their shopping carts), record user-specific information such as what pages users access or visit, ensure that visitors are not repeatedly sent the same banner ads, customize web page content based on a visitor's browser type or other information that the visitor sends, and store users names and passwords.

So there is a reason they are used, and users can decide if having a more fulfilling experience on FCW's Web site balances with the potential privacy implications of having a cookie on your machine... and whether you trust FCW/101 Communications...

Finally, just so you know, as of right now, I believe the site will work just fine if you decide not to use them.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Jan 04, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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