Wikipedia.org defines cookies as "small pieces of text, stored on a user's computer by a web browser; and [that] contain the user's settings, shopping cart contents, or other data used by websites."
Is collecting and selling this data right? Wrong? Unfortunately, it's not a clear-cut call. Free content isn't really free. Someone is paying for it somehow. Often, advertisers are willing to step up and support news sites, blogs, and search engines. Yet, the data that is collected and shared can reveal a lot about people, threatening their privacy and anonymity. I'll admit that I'm torn. What do you think?
Interested in opting out from the initiatve that Seth describes? You can at the Network Advertising Initiative. - K