Symantec exec warns users on cookies

Cookies to collect Internet user data are a serious invasion of privacy, Symantec CEO John Thompson, quoted by an Associated Press report, said.

The Associated Press report also said the executive likened these cookies to 'a peeping Tom.'

The head of the security software vendor said he thought cookies were essentially spyware if people are unaware that a program has been downloaded on their machine to record the sites they visit and do not know what will be done with that information, the report said.

They 'are just as much an invasion of privacy as someone peering in my bedroom window,' he said.

Thompson was in Brussels to speak to EU regulators about Internet security and data privacy issues among others, the Associated Press report said.

He would not say if he thought the European Commission should flex its muscles on making cookies an on-demand option, merely saying 'if the EU felt that was a problem, they might want to insert themselves here.'

Thompson was further quoted as saying that he would want to know what the world's largest search engine Google would do with personal information if it takes over online ad tracker DoubleClick, a deal that is already stirring up data privacy rights advocates and companies concerned about the control the deal will give Google over online advertising and the personal information it collects from searches.