I just read a recent EFF article about Google’s Cookie Monster and it talks about a recent announcement from google where they say that they’re changing something about the cookie they set.

Up until now, they’ve had it set to not expire until 2038, which a lot of privacy minded people think is excessive.  Now they’re going to change it so that it expires in two years.

There *IS* a catch though.  While the cookie will expire in two years, every time you load a google page the thing is going to be renewed, meaning that the two year clock will start again. 

Fortunately there are ways to get around that.  You can set your browser to accept all cookies but only keep them until you close the browser.  This makes those auto-renewing cookies into session cookies that expire and get deleted when you close the browser.

Better yet, you can also set your browser to delete all cookies every time you close it, thus cutting out a lot of potential tracking.  What I do is set Firefox to ask me every time a site wants to set a cookie, I get the chance to select allow, allow for session or deny for every cookie a site tries to set.  There is also a checkbox that allows that answer to be used for all cookies from that site.  What I end up doing is choosing allow for session for most cookies and clicking deny for cookies whose name or url indicate it’s for advertising and not some function of the site.  Once you answer for a particular cookie, that setting is stored and you don’t have to answer again for that cookie.

If you delete cookies every time you close the browser or use the above method to turn most cookies into ‘session cookies’ that the browser will accept and then delete when you exit.  Session cookies mean that a site won’t be able to use cookies to track you because it will have to set new cookies all the time that will be auto-deleted when you close the web browser.  This also keeps search engines from connecting queries from one session with something you’re looking for in another session.

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