Trade Group Rallies to Save 'Internet's 'Cookie'

LONDON (Reuters) - The "cookie", a simplistic identification tag that most Internet users unknowingly carry when surfing the Web, runs the risk of being outlawed under a proposed privacy directive from the European Commission.

The legislation has triggered concern in Europe's Internet advertising community. The Interactive Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) said British companies could lose 187 million pounds ($272.1 million) if the directive is ratified.

"Cookies have been branded as spyware tools, or some kind of subversive software," Danny Meadows-Klue, chairman of the IAB United Kingdom, told Reuters. "But it's what we use everyday."

The IAB has marshaled support from its members across Europe to launch a lobbying effort it calls "Save our Cookies."

Meadows-Klue admitted the name sounds a bit childish, but said the ramifications of the EU's directive were serious. It could result in the loss of more jobs and more businesses failing in the already-beleaguered Internet sector, he said.

Meadows-Klue said the abolition of the cookie -- an early Internet technology designed for the first Web browsers -- could have an adverse impact on e-commerce and online advertising sales, the primary revenue sources for all Internet businesses.

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