When the cookie crumbles
Consumers are often asked to choose between privacy and convenience.
Supermarket shoppers sign up for membership cards that, when swiped, provide automatic savings in return for recording all the holder's purchases. Electronic sensors in commuters' cars allow them to pass through tollbooths without stopping, but they also record the date and time each specific vehicle drives past. GPS devices in cell phones help towers deliver signals, but they also let the carrier know where the subscriber is at all times.
Perhaps the best illustration of the privacy-convenience trade-off is the Web browser. By now, most Internet users are familiar with the "cookie," a digital tag that allows Web sites to remember passwords, and often a little more. Cookies can be easily deleted, and all but forgotten. When the cookie crumbles | CNET News.com
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