Baking Cookies

January 14, 2002
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Channel One execs are in the kitchen and they are whipping up a batch of strange cookies to force down the throats of unsuspecting children.

Sounds gruesome, but it all in a regular day of work at Channel One.

Channel One is baking “cookies” for our children. Not the kind you eat, rather the kind that spy on you.

Cookies are files that web sites send out to reside on your computer. They serve several purposes. For marketers like Channel One News, cookies help make them money.

This morning, when Obligation visited the official Channel One web site (www.channelone.com) we did something different. We turned off the feature on our computer that allows cookies to be placed on our hard drive without permission.

Here is what happened:

Typed in “http://www.channelone.com”

A cookie from Doubleclick.com attempts to be placed on our computer. (This is a company that aids advertisers in targeting ads.) We declined the cookie.

Next, we are warned that About.com, Channel One’s sister company that was heavily into hardcore pornography, wanted to put a file on our hard drive. This cookie said it would expire after 3 months! That means it would stay on our computer until April 2002. We declined.

Then another About.com cookie attempted to be placed. We declined.

Finally, the Channel One.com screen shows up but it ain’t over yet.

We are instantly notified that Channelone.com wants to place a file on our computer. We declined.

Then two more About.com cookies try to download and we stopped them.

After all the cookies, a child is confronted with two things they weren’t expecting: A pop-up survey from Channel One that wants to know if they saw the in-school show today. This is a sneaky way to get marketing information from a child visitor. Then the child sees a pop-up ad for an expensive electronic device called a Cybiko. The ad promises a chance at a “Free MP3 Player.” Only after getting through this does a child see the actual unobstructed Channel One site.

Privacy advocates will have a field day with Channel One. Educators should see this as yet another reason to pull the plug on Channel One. C1’s poorly written “Privacy Policy” never mentions “cookies” and only refers to “involuntary” collection of information in a few sentences.

Children deserve to be treated better than this.

 

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