Yahoo ‘cookie’ tracks users online

March 8, 2008 – 3:55 PM

Q: I heard Yahoo was using “cookies” to track what people do on the Web, not only on their site but other sites. Is that true or a myth?

A: It’s actually true. Yahoo is using something called “Web beacons” or a “super cookie” that tracks not only where its users go on the Yahoo network but also tracks where they go outside of the Yahoo network using a persistent file on the hard drive. Note that you have to have a Yahoo account to be tracked. If you want to opt-out of this tracking, log in to your Yahoo account, then go to privacy

Scroll down to the section about cookies. You will see the words “Web beacons” as a highlighted item. Click on that. That will bring up another page and you’ll see the phrase “outside the Yahoo network.” There you will see a small link to “click to opt-out.” Click on that.

That brings up a confirmation page saying you are now opted-out. STOP. If you click the normal looking confirmation button on the page, you will opt yourself back in. (Yahoo is learning sneaky tricks from spyware folks on how to trick people into clicking the wrong buttons.) Close the page using the X and if you trust Yahoo, you can consider yourself opted out.

Frankly I would never sign up for one of these free accounts any more using a real name or any real personal information. Nothing is free any more.

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