Unfortunately, the next iteration of HTML code, HTML5, won’t include the most awesome peanut butter and white chocolate infused snickerdoodles. The New York Times ran an article today on the possibility of new online tracking being developed that hides multiple cookies on a user’s computer in order to thwart those tracking cookies’ discovery. You can read about the Evercookie and other supercookies here. Things do get worse though. Bruce Schneier reported awhile back on tracking without cookies here. Similar concerns were raised on CNET about browser fingerprinting here.
I have no overwhelming problem with websites that I visit making money in some way on my browsing. The services that I enjoy have to be paid for somehow. This is something that some folks forget. However, I do have problems with companies being irresponsible or exploitative. Irresponsibility may include data leaks, hacks, or selling data to less responsible companies. Exploitation may include retaining data indefinitely for undisclosed purposes, shaping browsing experiences in a way that isn’t meant to merely sell something but that fundamentally alters one’s participation online, or commoditizing one’s online experience in such a way that it significantly devalues personal identities.