What is a supercookie?

Dear Computer Lady,

I caught a segment of NPR today talking about Verizon being slapped with a fine for using super cookies on their internet service.

We use Verizon and I’m wondering exactly what super cookies are and most importantly, how to know if we have anything to worry about and how to it fix it, if possible?

The segment didn’t go into that issue. But they seemed to indicate it was harder to not be tracked and safeguard yourself? For the record, we always delete things after using the internet.

Thanks! Debra

Dear Debra,

I had never heard of super cookies, so I did a little bit of research and this is what I learned.

First, there is no such thing as a supercookie, it is just a term for some tracking code on your phone that privacy advocates have created (probably to scare average people like you and I)

Second, this tracking code is only on Verizon’s mobile devices (Smartphones)

Third, the data from this tracking code is then used to display advertisements to certain groups of customers. If I was a local daycare, for example, I might want to spend my advertising dollars on people in the 20 to 40 age range who also shop in local toy stores. This allows me to only pay for advertising to people who might be interested in my services.

If you are using a verizon smartphone and want to opt out of this code, you can log into your verizon app and change it in the privacy settings.

Elizabeth

 

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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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