Why people remove cookies

For my 100th post I am going to try my hand at an analogy. Stand back, this could get ugly.
Written by Richard Stiennon, Contributor

For my 100th post I am going to try my hand at an analogy. Stand back, this could get ugly.

I spend a lot of time in hotels. Probably close to 120 nights a year. This is a drag. A night in a hotel is expensive. Invariably there are not enough outlets for ones mobile devices (camera, cell phone, lap-top, BlackBerry). The air is musty, the ventilation is loud, the tub is moldy. And in every hotel bathroom is a little sign on the wash stand exhorting the guest to make the world a better place by re-using the towels and wash clothes. There are even notices on the *beds* asking you to sleep in the same sheets night after night. The argument is that the hotel will use less chlorine in washing towels if *you* sacrifice the pleasure of fresh towels and linens each day of your $190 stay. *That* will save the environment in whatever city you are in.

But, don’t you have a faint suspicion that the hotel benefits from the requested sacrifice more that the environment? The cleaning staff have fewer towels to lug down the elevator, the outsourced cleaning service charges them less. The specious argument that you should sacrifice for the good of the environment starts to sound disingenuous. After all, the hotel is the one who tore up the land, built the ugly box, sprays insecticide everywhere and generates all the profit from travelers that are then asked to do without clean linens.

Tracking cookies are like this. They are deposited in your computer’s files system without your direct knowledge (yes, yes, you can grant cookie permissions in IE, but who changes the defaults in IE?) and you are expected by the cookie creators to keep them there. If you remove them it impacts their business model. They cannot report accurate unique visitor data to their advertisers. So, the marketing companies in the tracking cookie business ask that you leave those cookies on your machine. They argue that tracking cookies make the Internet “Free

Editorial standards