Compsci 82, Fall 2009, Cookie Assignment
for help with checking/counting cookies
You may work with one or two people for this assignment. The group
submits the main results, but to get credit each person must complete
a Blackboard survey related to
the cookie assignment. Your credit is based on two parts: completing
the survey earns you two points. Turning in the group cookie
report earns up to two points. This assignment, like others in
Compsci 82, is worth four points.
You should use Firefox for this assignment. In theory it's possible to
use Internet Explorer or Safari (or Google Chrome or Opera), but in
practice Firefox works and the other browsers may make it difficult for
you to track which sites serve which cookies. Use Firefox and in the
main menu, choose Preferences and the Privacy tab to
view and/or delete cookies. This method of deleting and viewing cookies
is straightforward and simple. Using other browsers will make it
very difficult to accurately track cookies by site.
The idea is to gather data similar to that in the table below which was
gathered for seven college/university online newspapers. For each site,
the number of cookies downloaded by visiting the site is listed as are
the domains that supply the cookies. You are to pick between two and
eight websites that have a related theme, though you can
interpret that loosely. For each website determine how many cookies are
served/saved by that site and from where the cookies originate. To do
this you'll need to delete/clear cookies between each website you visit.
Each website you visit must be a top-level site, e.g.,
or tweedle.net --- in particular please do not include sites
that have a slash-path, e.g.,
www.foo.com/coolstuff. Any (reasonable) domain is ok,
whether .com, .org, .edu, .net, .biz, and so on. You can use
country-level domains as well, e.g., .uk, .us, .tv, for example.
You (your group) will turn in a report describing the websites you
visited, why you chose them, and any conclusions you can draw from
the cookies the sites serve. The report should be at most two pages, one
is probably sufficient. Turn in the report as a PDF, instructions to
follow. You'll also need to enter the cookie data via a web form so
that data from everyone in the class can be combined easily.
The webform is here.