It looks like every single day we find out how wrong George Orwell was, in that things are much much worse than he envisioned. New info from the files leaked by Edward Snowden shows that the NSA used cookies from Google and others to spy on systems.
Cookies are tiny bits of data stored by your browser to make your life a little easier. It’s what keeps you logged on on certain sites and what companies use for targeting advertising. But it seems like the NSA has found another use for them, by piggybacking on them such as Google’s “PREF” cookie, which is downloaded by the browser when it accesses any of Google’s services.
Through the use of such cookies the NSA could spy on a user’s activity online and even go as far as injecting code and infecting the person’s device which would give them further access to the person’s digital life and communication.
According to the Washington Post cookie information can be obtained legally by the NSA through a court order and companies are obliged by law to provide the agency with all of their data.
Many privacy groups have argued for a long time that being able to opt out of being tracked commercially by companies such as Google, should be an integral part of the web, but so far these efforts have come up short.