ephraim writes "According to
The Privacy Foundation,
Microsoft Word documents have a 'feature' which allows the documents' creators to place web bugs within the documents that inform the author whenever somebody has opened the document via a web server's logging facilities. This 'feature' can also be used to set and view cookies on the reader's copy of Internet Explorer. The story can be found
While this might be useful for tracking the distribution of confidential documents, it also raises serious red flags about privacy since most people probably aren't expecting their copy of MSWord to announce their reading habits every time they use it."
Props to their CTO
Richard M. Smith
Here is what Microsoft had to say about it (emphasis added)...
Vendor Contact and Response
Microsoft was contacted about this issue on 8/4/00, and again on
8/25/00. They confirmed that Microsoft Word will access the Internet
in order to fetch Web images that are linked to in a Word document.
They went on to say that Word uses Internet Explorer to fetch images
and therefore standard Web browser cookies can be both read and set
from inside a Word document. However, the company claims that Word
Regarding the potential use of Web bugs to track Word documents,
Microsoft said that there is no evidence that such activities are