General Question

selcouthstranger's avatar

Can web developers use HTML 5 to obtain your search histories (through temporary files, cookies. etc.) retroactively?

Asked by selcouthstranger (101points) October 20th, 2010

I’ve been hearing so much about HTML 5, and am wondering at what point, if it hasn’t happened already, websites will begin to obtain your search histories and then sell them to third parties. If this has been going on for a while, how long ago did it begin? In other words, will websites be able to retrieve search histories from the last few years (by being stored in hidden files that can’t necessarily be deleted, perhaps)? What can you do to protect your search history privacy on a daily basis?

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3 Answers

mrlaconic's avatar

HTML 5 has nothing to do with it. The original purpose of a cookie was to save settings etc so the next time you visited the site it could pull those files and the ability for someone to grab that file to exploit what you have been up to has been around since the inception of the internet as we know it

mirifique's avatar

@mrlaconic So, does this mean it’s inevitable that third party companies possess, and are going to sell, our lifetime internet search histories to future employers, the government, etc. as public record? Ahh!

camertron's avatar

The amount of traffic flying around on the internet is so enormous it seems unlikely a data miner would really benefit from looking at all the sites you’ve visited. It’s really hard to intercept traffic between two computers, especially when you have soooo many to do it to. There are security protocols in place to prevent such interceptions. I also don’t believe it’s possible to get your browsing history retroactively as you asked, especially if you delete your browsing history on a regular basis. Unless you give them specific access to your computer, websites can’t really access anything outside the confines of your browser anyway. Cookies are stored by the browser and certainly don’t store all your browsing history – just bits of information the website needs to give you a consistent experience.

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