Google is going to put a stop to spyware!
While I sincerely applaud Google for lending their brand name to helping quell the spyware/badware problem, I quickly reviewed their draft software guidelines for any mention of browser cookies. I didn’t find any, but I did find this:
3.2 Disclosure and Consent for Collection and Transmission of Personally Identifiable Information. If an application collects or transmits personally identifiable information to anyone but the end user, or if an application collects or transmits information that could contain personally identifiable information (e.g., Internet usage or keystroke logging), then prior to the first occurrence of any such collection or transmission, the application must:
first, fully, accurately, clearly and conspicuously disclose:the type of information collected (e.g., the user’s phone number),
the method of collection (e.g., by registration, etc.), and
[then, obtain the end user’s affirmative consent to such collection and/or transmission.]
While on it’s surface this section does not appear to apply to browser cookies, the example of “Internet usage” makes me wonder. Since the fundamental use of browser cookies in web analytics applications is to facilitate the stitching together of sessions to better describe the visitors usage of the web site, measuring “Internet usage” may fall within a reasonable interpretation of this statement.
I just wrote to the StopBadware.ORG folks (an impressive list of advisors, to be sure) asking them for their opinion on cookies. I’ll let you know what I find out!