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The Internet Privacy

New Technique for Tracking Web Site Visitors 590

Posted by timothy
from the hi-there-we-remember-you dept.
bigtallmofo writes "According to Jupiter Research, 58% of web surfers deleted cookies from their system in 2004. This has sent a loud message to marketers in regard to consumer's preference as to tracking their online activities. The marketers have responded with PIE. Persistent Identification Element (PIE) is a technology that uses Macromedia's Flash MX to track you even without using cookies. Macromedia has created a page to instruct users on how to disable this."
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New Technique for Tracking Web Site Visitors

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  • by nizo (81281) * on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:14PM (#12135107) Homepage Journal
    Applications that are created using Macromedia Flash may want to have access to the camera and/or microphone available on your computer.

    Does firefox have a plugin that reminds me to either put clothes on or turn off my camera before loading a flash plugin?

  • by y0saph (865086) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:14PM (#12135114)
    if i had a girlfriend...
  • by joeslugg (8092) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:14PM (#12135116)
    "MMMMMMMmmmmmm.... PIE..."
  • And... (Score:5, Funny)

    by hackstraw (262471) * on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:14PM (#12135120)

    I still won't load plugins into my browser, even if they offer the feature of being able to track me better.
  • by nagora (177841) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:15PM (#12135125)
    That I browse with plugins switched off unless I absolutely HAVE to use a site's Flash.

    I have the Register to thank for this as their story pages are unreadable with Flash enabled due to haveing THREE flaming animations running at a time.

    TWW

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:17PM (#12135149)
    first cookies then pies

    sheesh what's next.. cake?

    -SJ53
  • by MisterLawyer (770687) <mikelawyerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:18PM (#12135170)
    All those... Delicious... Cookies... Squandered...

    Over half of all web users' cookies? That would be enough cookies to feed the populations of Africa and India for, like, decades.

  • by tinrobot (314936) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:19PM (#12135174)
    I'm putting my system on a low carb diet.
  • PRON (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sperryfreak01 (855471) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:19PM (#12135178) Homepage
    I dont mind if people see where I have been on the net cause like most /.'ers I only go two places /. and porn sites
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:21PM (#12135206)
    Wait until you see ICE CREAM (Internet Collection Element - Cash Rules Everything Around Me) which uses sprinkles and crushed reeses pieces for tracking. Nobody seems to delete those.
  • by Letter (634816) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:23PM (#12135235)
    Dear Slashdot,

    To aid your visitor tracking, here is today's log of my Slashdot visits:

    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 13:17:56 GMT
    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 13:25:05 GMT
    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 13:44:12 GMT
    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:01:40 GMT
    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:10:33 GMT
    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:30:54 GMT
    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:33:20 GMT
    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:33:20 GMT
    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:33:21 GMT
    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:33:22 GMT
    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:33:22 GMT
    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:33:23 GMT
    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:33:24 GMT
    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 14:33:25 GMT <-- "first post"
    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 15:01:50 GMT
    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 16:20:17 GMT
    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 16:35:21 GMT
    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 16:50:55 GMT
    Mon, 04 Apr 2005 17:16:09 GMT

    Log on,
    Letter

  • by feloneous cat (564318) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:26PM (#12135277)
    ... I'm on dialup.

    99% of the time I bail before Flash has time to load .
  • by mopslik (688435) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:27PM (#12135279)

    ... put clothes on or turn off my camera before loading a flash plugin?

    Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of the "flash" plugin?

  • by RealAlaskan (576404) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:30PM (#12135312) Homepage Journal
    I have learned that sites which use flash are sights I don't need to see.

    I have uninstalled flash. When I see the little ``puzzle piece'', I know that I've found a site that isn't worth visiting, so Flash is a great time saver for me.

  • by fm6 (162816) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:32PM (#12135338) Homepage Journal
    Somehow I doubt that 58% of users are actively going into their browser settings and deleting cookies themselves.
    Pretty much my own reaction.
    This is most likely users are reinstalling their operating systems [link to microsoft.com]...
    You wish! Linux still has a pretty tiny market share.
    ... or using some spyware removing software that is removing their cookies.
    Ah! Here we come to the heart of the matter. TFA goes on to say,
    The report found that as many as 39% of online users may be deleting cookies from their primary computer monthly, undermining the usefulness of cookie-based measurement and leaving many site operators flying blind.
    Notice that "deleting cookies" not "deleting all cookies". Most web users couldn't live without cookies, since a lot of web sites (including Slashdot) use them for automatic login. But nowadays, most people run spyware scanners, which usually include cookies from the more obnoxious advertising sites in the signature database.

    In that context, the "39% of users" and "once a month" actually sounds very conservative. I wonder where they got their figures?

    The irony is that deleting cookies after the fact is not a very good privacy measure -- the people who planted them have already had a good chance to track your usage. It's much more effective to set your browser not to provide cookie information except to the originating site.

    In other words, the whole cookie issue is just plain bogus.

  • by aardwolf204 (630780) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:33PM (#12135349)
    "By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself. No, no, no it's just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day, they'll take root - I don't know. You try, you do what you can. Kill yourself. Seriously though, if you are, do. Aaah, no really, there's no rationalisation for what you do and you are Satan's little helpers, Okay - kill yourself - seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good, seriously.

    No this is not a joke, you're going, "there's going to be a joke coming," there's no fucking joke coming. You are Satan's spawn filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked and you are fucking us. Kill yourself. It's the only way to save your fucking soul, kill yourself. Planting seeds. I know all the marketing people are going, "he's doing a joke"... there's no joke here whatsoever. Suck a tail-pipe, fucking hang yourself, borrow a gun from a friend - I don't care how you do it. Rid the world of your evil fucking machinations. I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now too, "Oh, you know what Bill's doing, he's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market, he's very smart." Oh man, I am not doing that. You fucking evil scumbags! "Ooh, you know what Bill's doing now, he's going for the righteous indignation dollar. That's a big dollar. A lot of people are feeling that indignation. We've done research - huge market. He's doing a good thing." Godammit, I'm not doing that, you scum-bags! Quit putting a godamm dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet!

    "Ooh, the anger dollar. Huge. Huge in times of recession. Giant market, Bill's very bright to do that." God, I'm just caught in a fucking web! "Ooh the trapped dollar, big dollar, huge dollar. Good market - look at our research. We see that many people feel trapped. If we play to that and then separate them into the trapped dollar..." How do you live like that? And I bet you sleep like fucking babies at night, don't you?"
  • by maximus_greece (834236) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:35PM (#12135369)
    have to delete cookies from old porn sites to make space so that i could visit new porn sites.
  • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:38PM (#12135407) Homepage Journal

    Does firefox have a plugin that reminds me to either put clothes on or turn off my camera before loading a flash plugin?

    Hey, if someone wants to go to all that effort to see me naked, it's fine with me. Just so we're clear that I will *not* be paying for any therapy that may be required afterward.

  • by mangu (126918) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:39PM (#12135424)
    1) Create a "How do do your own breast examination" website using Macromedia Flash

    2) Create paid-subscription-only amateur pics website

    3) The best thing is you don't need a "???" step to profit. And the incoming part is tax-free, because the organization you create to teach teen girls to do their breast self-examination is not for profit...
  • by nizo (81281) * on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:41PM (#12135439) Homepage Journal
    Ahh I always wondered what people were complaining about here (I always browse slashdot in low graphical mode, which is ironic considering my current signature).
  • by dos_dude (521098) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:41PM (#12135442) Homepage

    sheesh what's next.. cake?

    Possible. But I'll be my money on FUDge.

  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:45PM (#12135494)
    I love targetted advertising, especially if it is aimed in the opposite direction from me.

    I wish I all advertising was "targetted" so I could promptly register myself as a 113 year old hermaphrodite with no money. Ethnic group? Hittite. Hobbies? Collecting dried cicadas. If you can ever find a dried cicada commercial site, feel free to place an ad link to it on any page I visit. Convicted felon, too, with no voting rights (to avoid political spam as well). Then I could sit back and watch all the spam and popups roll in: all 0 of them.

  • by nazzdeq (654790) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:51PM (#12135563)
    You doubt 58% are actively deleting cookies, but you think the same 58% are doing OS reinstalls? Dude...
  • by eomnimedia (444806) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:58PM (#12135640)
    Since you brought it up...

    "When you die, if you get a choice between going to regular heaven or pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if it's not, mmmmmmm, boy!" -- J. Handey
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:59PM (#12135650)
    I consider Flash dangerous, and I don't execute dangerous code unless I REALLY trust the place I'm getting it.

    wait wait wait...so you would execute dangerous code if trust the source?
  • by FLEB (312391) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:15PM (#12135830) Homepage Journal
    Client-authorized knowledge extraction?

    Cookies become CAKE if you turn on the proper security levels and warning options. Since it is dependent upon the user's settings, it is considered to be CUP-CAKE (Custom User Permissions based Client-Authorized Knowledge Extraction). However, it seems that PIE is not required to be CAKE, since there is no technical requirement to warn the user.
  • by jinzumkei (802273) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:28PM (#12135969)
    nope because the second they find out you read slashdot, they will know you are a 42 year-old virgin living in your mom's basement and you'll be inundated with Star Trek and nachos ads.
  • Thanks (Score:4, Funny)

    by AtariAmarok (451306) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:42PM (#12136118)
    "nope because the second they find out you read slashdot, they will know you are a 42 year-old virgin living in your mom's basement and you'll be inundated with Star Trek and nachos ads"

    Thanks. You're a real pal. Now I know why every single page I visit contains either a flash ad with William Shatner waving Doritos, or from a company with a service that stops basement floods.

  • by StalinsNotDead (764374) * <umbaga&gmail,com> on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:51PM (#12136204) Journal
    Hobbies? Collecting dried cicadas

    Cicada Mania be just whta you need. [cicadamania.net]
  • by drooling-dog (189103) on Monday April 04, 2005 @03:21PM (#12136508)
    I hate advertising and spyware as much as the next guy

    Well, I'm the next guy, and it's pretty clear to me that you don't. Deleting cookies and avoiding ads has become kind of a sport for me. I clear 'em out as soon as I'm done with a site or very shortly thereafter; it takes about 2 seconds. You've got my (dynamic) IP address, and that's all you're going to get.

  • by AndroidCat (229562) on Monday April 04, 2005 @04:01PM (#12136938) Homepage
    DoubleClick .. they own all those domains at 127.0.0.1 right? Normally they're at 0.0.0.0 to save the lookup, but I've been playing with local servers on port 80 to give cute cat pictures or other information like fortune cookies. It certainly improves the look of some banner-heavy sites! (And I have a sound effect for each hit, so I know when it's banner-heavy or has 1x1 trackers.)

How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else. -- R. Buckminster Fuller

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