There is an important distinction to be made here between cookies and spyware. Cookies collect information about your surfing habits only on the site of the provider of the cookie, in other words just on one site.
From our research it appears that most people are concerned that their personal information may be passed on. In this case, there is an important distinction to make between Two Types of Information which are collected:
- Personally identifiable info/ personal contact info
- Clickstream/ navigation info
Specific to concerns about cookies, the information being collected does not contain personally identifiable information. Clickstreams are used to see if people return to the same sites, and identify patterns.
When databases are combined, for example a membership & login base, with a clickstream tracking system, it is possible to combine personal information, such as an email address, with clickstreams. This is where the main cause for concern seems to lie.