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Bug Control

What you need to know if you use Web bugs

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This story appears in the May 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Web bugs. You can't see them, but they exist on many Webpages across the Net. The nonprofit Privacy Foundation givesthis definition: A Web bug is "a graphic on a Web page or inan e-mail message that is designed to monitor who is reading theWeb page or e-mail message. A Web bug is often invisible because[it is] typically only 1-by-1 pixel in size, with nocolor."

For Web site operators, Web bugs represent a subtle way togather data on visitors, such as the number of page visits, browserusage, effectiveness of mass e-mails and even personal information.Privacy advocates are particularly concerned about the ability ofWeb bugs to communicate with cookies and potentially link recordsof online behavior to personal profiles.

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