Privacy Glossary

Cookies are small data files that your browser may store on your computer at the request of a web server. Once a cookie has been stored, the information in the cookie will be sent back to the web server each time your browser requests data (e.g. web pages and multimedia files) from the server.

Typically, the server uses the stored information to track a specific visitor from request to request and to support personalized information and formats such as weather for a specific zip code, preferred type size, country specific language.

Cookies that are erased when you close your browser are called "session cookies." Cookies that last for a longer time period are called "persistent cookies." For persistent cookies, the web server specifies the cookie's expiration date.

Disable Cookies
Most browsers include tools for disabling cookies. Some, like Internet Explorer 6 and Netscape 7 allow the user to accept cookies conditionally, based on their origin.

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HTML Based Email
Many email programs are capable of interpreting HTML which, when placed in the email body, can provide the same type of formatting and automation that's commonly found on "web pages." HTML based email commonly contains pictures, multiple fonts, JavaScript programs and other "web" elements. Because HTML based email can contain images, Web Beacons can be placed in the email.

IP Addresses
Internet Protocol (IP) Addresses are numerical codes that are used to identify the unique address of each host (device) that's attached to the Internet or, in some cases, a local area network (LAN) that support the Internet Protocol. In some cases, IP addresses are assigned on a dynamic basis (each time a computer connects to the network, it is assigned a new address). IP addresses are useful for tracking annonymous activity but they can provide limited or no personal information about visitors.

JavaScript is an easy to use, feature rich language for customizing and automating presentation of information in compatible web browsers. JavaScript was originally developed by Sun Microsystems and Netscape. Currently, most browsers support JavaScript.

Referring Documents
When you follow a web link, your browser sends a request to the web server on which the desired document resides. In addition to the name of the requested document, the browser sends other information including browser type, your IP address and the location (URL) of the document from which the request was made. That document is called "the referrer." Knowledge of the referrer enables web site operators to analyze patterns of traffic both on and to their sites.

Web Beacon Guidelines
The Network Advertising Initiative has developed a set of guidelines for providing privacy to e-commerce consumers. Click here to view their press release "Web Beacon Guidelines."

Web Beacons
Web Beacons are images that are placed in HTML documents (web pages, HTML email) to facilitate user activity tracking. Web Beacons are usually used in conjunction with cookies and are often used to track visitors across multiple Internet domains. Web Beacon images are usually, but not always, small and "invisible."

Web Server Log Files
Most web servers produce "log files," time stamped lists of every request that the server receives. For each request, the log file contains anonymous information such as date and time, the IP address of the browser making the request, the document or action that's being requested, the location of the document from which the request was made and the type of browser that was being used. Log Files are usually used to assure quality of service. They also can be used in a limited way to analyze visitor activity.

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