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A small identifier file placed on a user's computer by a Web site, which logs information about the user and their previous/current visits for the use of the site next time the user makes contact. The Web site owners claim that this is beneficial to the user, allowing faster access, and 'personalisation' of the site for that user.

Growing numbers of users are less than entirely happy with the idea of a remote machine placing spurious files on their system, which may contain personal information including user IDs and passwords - especially when a credit card has been used for purchasing goods or services on-line. There is no obvious benefit to the user - the speed gains are marginal at best, and some users are now setting their browsers to reject Cookies, or deleting any received during the day, at close of business. For more information, visit www.cookiecentral.com/

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