Why Does NPR.org Use Cookies?

As you may know, tracking cookies are small bits of text stored on a user's computer that enable companies to collect information while helping users navigate more easily when they return to a Web site.

But a recent NPR story on online privacy prompted this comment from listener Michael Robinson of Knoxville, Tenn.:

"How very ironic that Martin Kaste's story about online privacy is posted on NPR's website which is embedded with seven tracking cookies from marketing and behavioral targeting companies: doubleclick.com, questionmarket.com, insightexpressai.com, yimg.com (yahoobuzz), 2mdn.net, googleadservices.com, and of course facebookconnect.com."

Kinsey Wilson, senior vice president for digital media at NPR, tells NPR's Melissa Block that NPR.org uses cookies to improve the site's usability. For example, if a user logs in to leave a comment, the cookie will remember the login information.

NPR.org's use of cookies is transparent, Wilson says, and protects the anonymity of the user.

NPR explains its privacy policy on its Web site, Wilson says.

"Different users are going to have a different threshold for what information they want stored about their behavior on the Internet. For some, it's convenience; for others they see it as an intrusion," Wilson says. "We try to be clear about that. And at the end of the day, the user can turn off cookies completely and not use them, if that's their preference."

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