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Chapter 7. Understanding the Online Envi... > Web Bugs: Nasty Little Critters?

Web Bugs: Nasty Little Critters?

Web bugs are not the same as software bugs, which cause your programs to perform badly or crash. These are bugs in the sense of surveillance and monitoring tools. Unfortunately, monitoring on the Web does not stop with cookies. Several companies and advertising agencies use Web bugs to track and log the time and page a user has visited. Not only that, but by spreading Web bugs out over various pages and sites, a company can trace your movements across the Web. You can find further details about Web bugs from the man who has raised widespread public awareness about the phenomena, Richard Smith, at http://www.privacyfoundation.org/resources/Webbug.asp.

Smith has also made a Web bug detector available free of charge. It is called Bugnosis, and you can get it from www.bugnosis.org. However, it is available only as a plug-in for Internet Explorer at the moment and works only with Web surfing. But there are plans to make it available for e-mail Web bug detection, too.


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