Worries over internet privacy have spurred lawsuits, conspiracy theories and consumer anxiety as marketers and others invent new ways to track computer users on the internet. But the alarmists have not seen anything yet.
In the next few years, a powerful new suite of capabilities will become available to web developers that could give marketers and advertisers access to many more details about computer users' online activities. Nearly everyone who uses the internet will face the privacy risks that come with those capabilities, which are an integral part of the web language that will soon power the internet: HTML 5.
The new web code, the fifth version of Hypertext Markup Language used to create web pages, is already in limited use, and it promises to usher in a new era of internet browsing within the next few years. It will make it easier for users to view multimedia content without downloading extra software; check email offline; or find a favourite restaurant or shop on a smart phone.
Most users will clearly welcome the additional features that come with the new web language."It's going to change everything about the internet and the way we use it today," said James Cox, 27, a freelance consultant and software developer at Smokeclouds, a New York City start-up company. "It's not just HTML 5. It's the new Web." But others, while also enthusiastic about the changes, are more cautious.
Most web users are familiar with cookies, which make it possible, for example, to log on to websites without having to retype user names and passwords, or to keep track of items placed in virtual shopping carts before they are bought.
The new web language and its additional features present more tracking opportunities because the technology uses a process in which large amounts of data can be collected and stored on the user's hard drive while online. Because of that process, advertisers and others could, experts say, see weeks or even months of personal data. That could include a user's location, time zone, photographs, text from blogs, shopping cart contents, emails and a history of the web pages visited.
The new web language "gives trackers one more bucket to put tracking information into," said Hakon Wium Lie, the chief technology officer at Opera, a browser company.
Or as Pam Dixon, the executive director of the World Privacy Forum in California, said: "HTML 5 opens Pandora's box of tracking in the internet."The additional capabilities provided by the new web language are already being put to use by a California programmer who has created what, at first glance, could be a major new threat to online privacy.
Samy Kamkar, a California programmer best known in some circles for creating a virus called the "Samy Worm," which took down MySpace.com in 2005, has created a cookie that is not easily deleted, even by experts – something he calls an Evercookie.
Some observers call it a "supercookie" because it stores information in at least 10 places on a computer, far more than usually found. It combines traditional tracking tools with new features that come with the new web language. In creating the cookie, Kamkar has drawn comments from bloggers across the internet whose descriptions of it range from "extremely persistent" to "horrific."Kamkar, however, said he did not create it to violate anyone's privacy. He was curious about how advertisers tracked him on the internet. After cataloging what he found on his computer, he made the Evercookie to demonstrate just how thoroughly people's computers could be infiltrated by the latest internet technology.
"I think it's OK for them to say we want to provide better service," Kamkar said of advertisers who placed tracking cookies on his computer. "However, I should also be able to opt out because it is my computer."Kamkar, whose 2005 virus circumvented browser safeguards and added more than a million "friends" to his MySpace page in less than 20 hours, said he had no plans to profit from the Evercookie and did not intend to sell it to advertisers.
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|Amol Bhure (ultra l33t) was born in Maharashtra, Seventh July Of Nineteen Hundred Nineteen Ninety A.D. He's currently pursuing his B.E in Bangalore. A cyber Security Professional, Hacker, Designer, Programmer. Keen interest in hacking and network security and he developed several techniques of defending and defacing websites. He's of the opinion that people should learn this art to prevent any cyber attacks. Currently Amol works as a member of 'Null International', Bangalore chapter as a network security guy. Apart from this, he has done internships at YAHOO! India, AMAZON India, etc. He has also attended various International conferences like NullCon GOA, c0c0n, ClubHack, Defcon , SecurityByte, ICFoCS, OWASP, etc.. He is certified with RHCE, LPT, CEH v7, SCJP, AFCEH. In programming he knows stuffs on C, C++, C# , JAVA (SCJP), .NET , and PHP. Additionally he knows few hardware languages like HDL, VHDL, Verilog, Embedded Micro controller Programming. He has been featured on google hall of fame. Amol was named a "India's top 10 hacker" by google. "World's top 50 hacking blog" by google.|