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Response Patterns in Computer-Administered Surveys
Unformatted Document Text:  Computer Administered Surveys 7 whatever purpose they like, all without the user’s knowledge (Bennett, 2000). Despite privacy statements, “most policies are pretty worthless” (Germanow; in Tynan, 2000), a fact evidenced by users rarely reading them at all. Cookies, which perform a majority of the behind-the-scenes data collection on the Internet, could be considered the actual root of the problem with Internet privacy. Cookies were invented by Netscape “to make life easier for people browsing the Web” (Fox, 2000, p.7). However, fewer than half of all Internet users are reported to even be aware of the existence and use of cookies, and only 10 percent of Internet users actually have their browsers set to reject cookies (Fox, 2000). As previously stated, Yahoo!, for example, uses cookies to instantly access personalized pages, saving the user the trouble of logging in. However, those cookies are optional. On the other hand, the New York Times requires cookies to be placed on the user’s computer, and will refuse access if these cookies are blocked by the user. Unfortunately, “a free T-shirt or entry into a promotional contest is usually all it takes to get many Web users to part with their innermost details” (Prabhaker, 2000, p. 164), meaning that despite the most well-meaning Internet user’s personal policies, many of them will input personal information for even a mediocre prize. Current Frontiers in Internet Privacy There are some potential solutions to the problem. Microsoft tested a feature in its Internet Explorer 5.5 which warns users of third-party cookies (see Bennett, 2000), although it will not warn of what Berinato and Callaghan (2000) call first-party cookies (cookies which come from the actual site the user is visiting; for example, it would warn of cookies from DoubleClick while a user visited Yahoo!, but not warn of Yahoo!’s cookies). An unforeseen complication also presented itself; the Internet Advertising Bureau tested the feature, and its

Authors: Roseman, Joshua. and Mitrook, Michael.
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Computer Administered Surveys
7
whatever purpose they like, all without the user’s knowledge (Bennett, 2000). Despite
privacy statements, “most policies are pretty worthless” (Germanow; in Tynan, 2000), a fact
evidenced by users rarely reading them at all.
Cookies, which perform a majority of the behind-the-scenes data collection on the
Internet, could be considered the actual root of the problem with Internet privacy. Cookies
were invented by Netscape “to make life easier for people browsing the Web” (Fox, 2000,
p.7). However, fewer than half of all Internet users are reported to even be aware of the
existence and use of cookies, and only 10 percent of Internet users actually have their
browsers set to reject cookies (Fox, 2000). As previously stated, Yahoo!, for example, uses
cookies to instantly access personalized pages, saving the user the trouble of logging in.
However, those cookies are optional. On the other hand, the New York Times requires
cookies to be placed on the user’s computer, and will refuse access if these cookies are
blocked by the user. Unfortunately, “a free T-shirt or entry into a promotional contest is
usually all it takes to get many Web users to part with their innermost details” (Prabhaker,
2000, p. 164), meaning that despite the most well-meaning Internet user’s personal policies,
many of them will input personal information for even a mediocre prize.
Current Frontiers in Internet Privacy
There are some potential solutions to the problem. Microsoft tested a feature in its Internet
Explorer 5.5 which warns users of third-party cookies (see Bennett, 2000), although it will not
warn of what Berinato and Callaghan (2000) call first-party cookies (cookies which come
from the actual site the user is visiting; for example, it would warn of cookies from
DoubleClick while a user visited Yahoo!, but not warn of Yahoo!’s cookies). An unforeseen
complication also presented itself; the Internet Advertising Bureau tested the feature, and its


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