International Automotive Technicians? Network

How to "Enable" Cookies in Your Browser

iATN requires cookies be enabled to enter the members-only area of our site.

Cookies are currently DISABLED in your web browser, or you have Internet security software that is preventing them from reaching us. Please read the following instructions to enable them.


iATN Cookie FAQ

To test whether your browser settings are currently set to allow cookies on iATN, press the "Test Cookies" button below. You should see your browser's cookie status above this paragraph. (Note: you must have JavaScript enabled for this test to work. You can read how to enable JavaScript.)

The following instructions explain how to enable cookies for the web browser you are currently using. If the test above still does not show that you have cookies enabled after completing the steps below, you may have Internet security software that is preventing your cookies from working. Please read our internet security software page for information on configuring some popular applications to work with iATN.

 

Enabling Cookies in Your Browser


iATN Cookie FAQ

What are cookies? Cookies are just bits of text that web sites pass to your browser to store, either in memory until you close your browser (session cookies), or for a specified length of time on your hard drive. Cookie text is so tiny, you could have thousands of them stored, and it would still take up FAR less than even a single megabyte! Your browser already uses many, many, many times more space to cache recent webpages and images, so you do not need to be afraid of cookies wasting disk space or memory. As an example, we estimate iATN's cookies to use less than 500 bytes ... that's about 2000 times less than even a single megabyte! The most common cookies we use take up even less space, about 100 bytes.

Once cookies are stored (in memory or on disk), they are returned to the website that originally stored them whenever you request other documents from that site. This allows the website to "recognize" you based on information you've previously provided. For example, they might store your user ID for the website, your viewing preferences, items in your shopping cart, etc. They are useful because there is no other fool-proof way for a website to immediately recognize your browser when you return later, due to the way the web works.

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Why are you requiring cookies? We have used cookies on iATN for a long time to make the site more useful and to improve the experience of our members. Roughly 95% of the members that use our website accept cookies from us. The primary reason we are moving to require cookies is because our new login system requires them. Cookies also enable us to prevent abuse of our sponsor-only features, and will make maintaining the site and adding new features much easier.

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What if I don't want cookies stored on my computer? Feel free to only enable "session" cookies, this is the least that is required in order to use iATN's website, and the cookies will only exist in your browser's memory until you close the browser. Nothing would be stored permanently on your hard drive. (Again, we would like to reiterate that cookies take up such a tiny amount of disk space that they will have no effect on the amount of free disk space you have.)

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Are cookies safe? Yes. Cookies are literally just bits of text. They are not executed, and thus cannot carry viruses. The default of all web browsers and most internet security programs is to allow cookies to be used. This is because they pose no legitimate security risk, and only the slightest privacy risk. (We will expand on the privacy issues below.) Just like anything else on the internet, if your software is flawed, security could be breached. However, cookies themselves are not any sort of security threat, and there are no known problems with the way modern browsers implement cookies. What is more, you only need to enable "session" cookies for iATN to work (see next question).

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Will cookies invade my privacy? The primary thing we'd like to make clear about cookies is that they can only contain information that you have already provided! They cannot be used by websites to somehow grab information from your system that you have not already shared. If you have not shared your email address or name with a website, enabling cookies is NOT going to give them this information.

Cookies simply provide a way for a website to "remember" information you've provided.

The biggest issue with cookies and privacy is related to "third-party" cookies. These are often used by advertising companies to track which ads you have viewed, and most modern browsers allow you to block third-party cookies. You can block third-party cookies without causing any problems for sites like iATN that require cookies.

Third-party cookies have given all cookies a bad name, and for those that are interested in the details and differences between the two, please read this item.

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My browser isn't blocking cookies, but your page still shows they are disabled. What gives? If you have made sure your browser is not blocking cookies (at least first-party, session cookies), yet this page still tells you they are disabled, please press the "Test Cookies" button at the top of this page one more time to confirm. If it still shows "DISABLED," you may have software installed that is blocking cookies, or your internet provider or company may be blocking cookies at their firewall.

If you have network security software installed, we have some pages that may help you configure them to allow cookies. You can read these pages here.

If you have made sure your browser and your internet security software are not blocking cookies, your service provider or company firewall may be blocking them. This is rare, as cookies are used by many sites in many useful ways, but it happens on occasion. Please read more on this here.

Do cookies cause spam or pop-up ads? Short answer: No. Since we still hear from people who swear that turning cookies on resulted in more spam or pop-up ads, we will go into more detail.

The only way the amount of spam you receive will increase is if more spammers obtain your email address, or the existing spammers that already have your address decide to send more spam. Neither of these things is affected by turning cookies on or off in your browser. Cookies do not reveal your email address to a website -- only you can do that.

Pop-up ads are also not related to cookies. In fact, enabling cookies is likely to decrease the amount of pop-ups you see, because many sites will use cookies to store the fact that you've already seen their pop-up in a certain timeframe. If you have cookies disabled, they don't know if you've seen it, and are more likely to show it to you. The rest of the sites using pop-up ads don't care one way or the other, and will show you pop-up ads no matter what. If you want to stop pop-up ads, switch to a browser that blocks them (like Mozilla), or install a tool that blocks them (e.g. Google's Toolbar).

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What if my provider blocks cookies? Cookies have gotten a bum rap, partly because many don't understand how they work, and partly due to the way some advertisers use third-party cookies (detailed below). Since early browsers could not block third-party cookies, some organizations took the extremely conservative stance to block ALL cookies. This happens most often in large corporations, school campuses, libraries, etc.

Times have changed -- browsers provide great control over what kinds of cookies you want to accept, and blocking them completely at a central location should be phased out, in our opinion.

We understand that it may seem as though you can do nothing about the policies of those in charge of your internet connectivity, but you may be surprised at what can happen if you explain to them that you need cookies to be able to get your work done.

We ask you to please try to contact those in charge. Try to locate the email address of your system or network administrator (support@yourdomain is a good starting point). Explain that you are trying to use iatn.net, that we require cookies, and you can even point them to this Cookie FAQ. Many network administrators turn on cookie blocking and will leave it on until they receive complaints.

You may also ask them to make concessions, such as allowing cookies from iatn.net, or allowing session cookies (which are the least we require for things to work).

Many, many, many legitimate companies make use of cookies to improve your experience and provide a high level of service on the web, including: Amazon.com, American Express, CNN, ESPN, FedEx, Google, iATN, etc. In fact, it is hard to find any company that is not using cookies in benign ways.

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What if my provider won't unblock cookies? Unfortunately, the changes we are making to our members-only area are necessary upgrades, and they require cookies to function. While this will not prevent you from continuing to receive iATN TechMail and offering help to your fellow iATN members, you will not be able to access the members-only area of the network until you can obtain an internet connection that allows you to use cookies.

Although we know that 95% of our members are cookie-enabled, we don't know how many out of the remaining 5% are going to be unable to allow cookies due to reasons beyond their control. We would like to hear from you if you fall into this category. Please send us an email at , and let us know what organization you are with that is blocking cookies. If you could also provide us with an email address to reach this organization, we may be able to discuss the problem with them directly. (Obviously we cannot promise anything, but we would like to try and help whenever possible.)

We do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and want you to know that we would not be taking these steps if we did not think they were absolutely necessary.

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More Details About Cookies

What is the difference between first-party and third-party cookies?

Whenever you receive something from a website (such as a web page or an image), it contains a "header" that describes the item you are receiving. This header can include a cookie. This is how cookies are sent and received.

For example, if you request a webpage from cnn.com, you know you are getting that page from cnn.com, and any cookie included in that page's header is considered a first-party cookie. Since only cnn.com will ever see this cookie, it is completely harmless. It cannot be used to track you beyond cnn.com, since no other website can retrieve this particular cookie.

However, when you get that cnn.com page, your browser may also retrieve a banner ad image, let's say it is from doubleclick.com (a well-known internet advertising company). This image can also include a header that contains a cookie. This cookie comes from doubleclick.com, and is considered to be a third-party cookie because it does not originate from the website you are viewing.

It is perfectly fine to block third-party cookies. Unlike first-party cookies, they serve you no useful purpose. It is conceivable that third-party cookies could pose a privacy invasion, if two things were to happen: (1) You provide information to an unscrupulous website which then divulges your information to an unscrupulous internet advertiser, AND (2) you do not block third-party cookies, allowing the advertising firm to track you on any site that uses their services.

In summary: if you only allow first-party cookies, there can be no invasion of privacy. Even allowing third-party cookies does not necessarily mean your privacy can be invaded, as many things have to fall in place for that to happen.

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