With html 5 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 than a simple cookie ever could deliver.
cookies were designed mainly to store basic data, as to log on to Web sites without having to retype user names and passwords, or to keep track of items placed in virtual shopping carts before they are bought.
Html 5 offers more tracking opportunities because large amounts of data can be collected and stored on the user’s hard drive while online. Because of that advertisers and others could see weeks or even months of personal data including user’s location, time zone, photographs, text from blogs, shopping cart contents, e-mails and a history of the Web pages visited.
Pam Dixon, executive director World Privacy Forum, said: “HTML 5 opens Pandora’s box of tracking in the Internet.”
The additional features provided by html 5 are already being put to use by Samy Kamkar, coder of ‘Samy Worm’ who has created a (nearly) non deletable cookie, which could be a major new threat to online privacy. This ‘ubercookie’ 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.
A recent spate of class-action lawsuits have accused large media companies like the Fox Entertainment Group and NBC Universal, and technology companies like Clearspring Technologies and Quantcast, of violating users’ privacy by tracking their online activities even after they took steps to prevent that.Common browsers like Internet Explorer by Microsoft, Firefox by Mozilla, Safari by Apple and Opera, which is used mostly in Europe and Asia and on mobile devices.
Each browser has different privacy settings, but not all of them have obvious settings for removing data created by the new Web language. Even the most proficient software engineers and developers acknowledge that deleting that data is tricky and may require multiple steps.