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Privacy United States Your Rights Online

FTC Wants Browsers To Block Online Tracking 205

Posted by samzenpus
from the poof-just-like-that-he's-gone dept.
storagedude writes "The FTC wants a do-not-track mechanism that would allow Web users to opt out of online behavioral tracking, similar to the national do-not-call registry. The agency's preferred method for accomplishing this would be a browser-based tool that would give users the option of blocking data collection across the Web. The only problem is that the agency may not have the authority to require this, thanks to concerted lobbying efforts by the advertising industry. The first step may just be voluntary measures, to be released this fall."
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FTC Wants Browsers To Block Online Tracking

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  • why Opt-out? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by advocate_one (662832) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:23AM (#33066110)
    why not Opt-in and disabled by default and any website owner that tries to track without explicit consent (ie. an opt-in) gets done for hacking...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Thanshin (1188877)

      Why Opt-in?

      Why not disabled by default and not activable?

      What's the tremendous benefit we'd be losing?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by iammani (1392285)
        Free websites?
        • Re:why Opt-out? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Thanshin (1188877) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:42AM (#33066212)

          So now it's impossible to advertise without tracking?

          (fricking /. time limit! I can perfectly write a meaningful response in 5 seconds.)

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by fyrewulff (702920)

            It's possible, it's just not a good use of money to just stick ads whereever.

            Do you think they just stick billboards up next to a highway because they like to? Those ads you see on highway billboards were bought because the company that paid for them had data on the local population, like income level/political leaning/religion/language and so on.

            If you can't tell a company who is coming to your site, they're less likely to buy ads if they do at all.

            Definitely need some controls over tracking, though.

            • Re:why Opt-out? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by icebraining (1313345) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @07:39AM (#33067056) Homepage

              Tracking isn't studying data from your website accesses, it's forming profiles of a specific user over multiple websites, by "planting" a cookie or other means of identification.

              The analogy would be the advertisements companies putting a RFID tag in your car, that would be detected by each billboard you happened to pass by. Would you be OK with that level of location tracking? I wouldn't.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Blakey Rat (99501)

                The analogy would be the advertisements companies putting a RFID tag in your car, that would be detected by each billboard you happened to pass by. Would you be OK with that level of location tracking?

                Yes.

                That's not to say I'd let them just put the thing in my car without compensating me in some way. But that's not what you asked.

                I wouldn't.

                Turns out the world doesn't revolve around you.

                Since advertising is inevitable on the web, if you want sites to continue to provide (otherwise) free content, than I'm al

                • I'm not "afraid" of anything. I don't have any big secrets to hide, and I couldn't care less if $random_person knows my browser history.

                  It's the gradual move to a society where privacy is regarded as a bad thing, when in fact it's one of the most important. There was a line in a US Privacy Study that said:

                  The real danger is the gradual erosion of individual liberties through automation, integration, and interconnection of many small, separate record-keeping systems, each of which alone may seem innocuous, e

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            (fricking /. time limit! I can perfectly write a meaningful response in 5 seconds.)

            I find that annoying, too, but I understand its purpose -- defeating spambots. I find that hitting "preview" first gives a long enough delay.

          • "So now it's impossible to advertise without tracking?"

            Exactly. Just put the ads up, and I'll ignore them like I do anyways. Adblock Plus kills most of them, the few I see are meaningless clutter that is easy to ignore.

            "(fricking /. time limit! I can perfectly write a meaningful response in 5 seconds.)"

            Try typing with your toes. ;^) If you get to speedy with your toes, well, you can try hunt and peck with your pecker! THAT would slow you down!

        • Re:why Opt-out? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by asukasoryu (1804858) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @08:36AM (#33067518)
          What does tracking have to do with ad-supported websites? Advertisers should be able to develop advertisements based on the website content. No user tracking required.
      • by wvmarle (1070040) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:36AM (#33066182)

        There will be incalculable economic losses and numerous people losing their jobs over that of course. After all the whole advertising business will go totally down the drain if you build in such functionality. I mean think of the children and so. This is is also totally anti-capitalist. You really should listen to your local politicians and advertising lobbyists better for failing to see the obvious.

    • Re:why Opt-out? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by selven (1556643) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:32AM (#33066420)

      So that we can still get valuable information from people who really don't care about that particular aspect of their privacy but are too lazy to check the box. It's the same logic as opt-out organ donation, which seems to be very successful [ft.com].

    • by troll -1 (956834)
      Because I don't want the government in my browser.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DDLKermit007 (911046) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:37AM (#33066194)
    I thought this was called disable cookies, and delete all browsing data upon exit? This isn't even an issue. Do that, and they can track you about as well as what phone prompts you chose when you call support.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by nextekcarl (1402899) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:47AM (#33066232)

      That's what I thought, too, but google Quantcast and zombie cookies and you'll find out that isn't necessarily true.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by KibibyteBrain (1455987) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:23AM (#33066386)
      Flash cookies FTL! And when that starts to fail more, advertisers can always rely on server-side stateful tracking using whatever identifying tokens they can get(ip address, user agent, etc) to track users. The only real way to stop tracking is to compel the trackers to stop trying. Even elaborate measures like TOR can and have failed to completely prevent tracking.
      • by mdm-adph (1030332)

        BetterPrivacy [https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/6623/] helps with the Flash cookies, at least. Server-side stuff we're just going to have to live with, because even if they pass a law, there's no way to prove anyone's tracking you that way.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nmg196 (184961) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:27AM (#33066402)

      Because if you disable cookies - you cannot log in to any website. Hardly practical.

      • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

        by the_womble (580291) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @08:17AM (#33067336) Homepage Journal

        You enable cookies only for sites you want to log in to.

        To complete you privacy you have Flash off by default and you set a minimal UA string.

        The last two currently require plugins, but if browsers had built in click to run for plugins and sent minimal UA strings (just browser and version) be default the problem would largely be solved.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Throwing advertising magazines into the trash is not a method of opting out.

      This is about telling the publisher that you are not interested in such material. Disabling/deleting {images, cookies, history} is not the same thing.

      TFS suggests signaling the publisher and requiring the publisher to react based on it.

      One technical method of implementing this would be an additional HTTP-Request Header, like Accept-Language, or to reuse the now-abandoned Charge-To field.

    • by DrXym (126579)
      Nobody bothers to delete their flash shared objects. Almost nobody even knows they exist. Even if you deleted your cookies it would be trivial for a small flash app to restore them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:47AM (#33066226)

    There's already an opt-out option:

    https://www.torproject.org/ [torproject.org]

    Visit https://bridges.torproject.org/ [torproject.org] to grab some bridge IPs and
    add this to your torrc file:

    UseBridges 1
    paste the bridges you obtained from the url above here starting
    with the word bridge and following with the IP, one on each line,
    like so:

    Bridge 1.2.3.4
    Bridge 5.6.7.8

    Need help with Tor? Speak to the developers (and users) directly:
    irc.oftc.net #tor

    Or join the Tor mailing list: click the first url above, click
    Docs at the top of the page, scroll down for the mailing list
    information.

    If this is true:

    "The FTC wants a do-not-track mechanism that would allow Web users to
    opt out of online behavioral tracking, similar to the national do-not-call
    registry." they could encourage the use of Tor on their website, possibly
    running some tor nodes themselves to aid the Tor network.

  • by VincenzoRomano (881055) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:49AM (#33066238) Homepage Journal
    It'd be nice to have incognito mode as default.
  • Firefox extension? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wvmarle (1070040) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:50AM (#33066248)

    There must be a FF extension that can do just that by now. I can't imagine that there are no paranoid nerds that haven't thought of this.

    And if there is no FF extension then the required functionality is probably impossible to do browser-side.

    Actually I am wondering how they track behaviour, and what a browser can do to prevent it. I can think of a few bits:

    - Cookies. The obvious one. Third-party cookies especially. Can be blocked in FF and other browsers for more than a decade already.

    - Referrer tags in URLs. Sometimes useful - especially for sites to see where visitors originate - but also for the end user. E.g. after a Google search you go to some web page that then highlights your search terms. Seems trivial to block in your browser as your browser puts the referrer tag in the http request.

    - IP address. Naturally public information. Can not be blocked, ever. Merely obfuscated by using tor or so.

    - Browser ID. Can easily be faked. But is usually constant for a user, allowing them to be traced anyway using this and the IP address. Also between cooperating web sites. And of course third-party ad providers who in turn can follow IP addresses over their customer's web sites. Those third parties can be (partly) blocked by e.g. AdBlock Plus, only partly as the visited web site can still give your info (IP address, page visited) to the ad company, even when the actual ads are blocked.

    That's all that I can think of at the moment, there may be more ways to follow a user. But I don't see much that can be done on the browser-side to stop more tracking.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      And if there is no FF extension then the required functionality is probably impossible to do browser-side.

      ...

      That's all that I can think of at the moment, there may be more ways to follow a user. But I don't see much that can be done on the browser-side to stop more tracking.

      You missed the point. The summary is suggesting a server-side solution, i.e. signaling the website to bugger off.

      • by S.O.B. (136083)

        I think you missed the 2nd of 3 sentences in the summary (emphasis added by me):

        The agency's preferred method for accomplishing this would be a browser-based tool that would give users the option of blocking data collection across the Web.

        A browser-based solution would by definition not be a server-side solution.

        I know it's too much to expect people to read the articles here but if you can't even make it though 3 sentences of summary why even bother.

        • You know you could have pointed that out just as easily without the smarmy comments about RTFS.

          Anyway I read it as the browser signalling the server to not track the user. As in the
          browser makes the request (as browsers tend to do) and the server is responsible for honoring
          the request and doing it's part to turn off tracking (e.g. not logging the header data sent by
          the browser).

          So just like most useful functionality on the web it would be a combination of browser and
          server. That said my feeling is that this

          • by S.O.B. (136083)

            There was nothing in the summary that even remotely suggested the solution you envisioned.

            The phrase "blocking data collection" to me suggests preventing the server from doing something rather than cooperating with the server and expecting it to honour your request. Considering the industry we are talking about expecting it to honour anything is a naive at best.

            And I'm sorry if you found my comment smarmy...I was going for sarcastic.

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        I just re-read the summary, and it is at best ambiguous about where to block, what to block, and how to block. It is talking about a browser-based tool, while of course the actual tracking is done on the other end of the connection.

        Having something browser-side to thoroughly block tracking would be much more useful as it is very easy to move servers into another jurisdiction. Or to use a third-party tracking service that is located in another country. Having a browser ask politely to not track that user ma

    • by nsrbrake (233425)

      For cookies there's lots of options. I'm sure there's more, but that's a quick list off the top of my head.

      Ghostery - identifies and allows you to block the 3rd parties (web bugs) that are hidden on the current page you're visiting. Web bugs include ad networks, behavioral data collectors and web analytics providers.

      BetterPrivacy - "super-cookie safeguard" Permanently opt-out cookies to stop behavioral advertising by 100+ different advertising networks, including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, all members of the

  • Why????? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Barraketh (630764) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:51AM (#33066252)
    Why are our elected officials spending any time on this? Is there *any* evidence that the data collected has ever been misused in any way? The online advertising industry is based on selectively targetting users with advertisements, and so far I see no compelling reasons for the government to interfere. Before the government starts regulating an industry, shouldn't there be evidence that the industry is in fact in need of regulating? Disclaimer: I work in an advertising company developing the conversion rate models
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by asukasoryu (1804858)

      Is there *any* evidence that the data collected has ever been misused in any way?

      I don't particularly care if the data is misused because I don't agree with the method of data collection to begin with. I don't need people tracking my actions to see how to advertise to me. Advertisements are annoying. Advertisers should be tracking products or sales, not individuals.

      Before the government starts regulating an industry, shouldn't there be evidence that the industry is in fact in need of regulating?

      I support the FTC being proactive and considering preventative action. Should we wait for a crime to be committed before we make it illegal?

      Disclaimer: I work in an advertising company

      I'm sorry. I'll pray for you.

      • by Blakey Rat (99501)

        I don't particularly care if the data is misused because I don't agree with the method of data collection to begin with. I don't need people tracking my actions to see how to advertise to me.

        Then turn fucking cookies off, like you've been able to for a decade.

        Advertisers should be tracking products or sales, not individuals.

        How could they do one without the other?

        I support the FTC being proactive and considering preventative action. Should we wait for a crime to be committed before we make it illegal?

        Yes, b

        • Then turn fucking cookies off, like you've been able to for a decade.

          My cookies are off. I still don't want advertisers stalking me. I shouldn't have to be on the defensive.

          How could they do one without the other?

          You can sell a product without collecting any information about the purchaser. Every company knows how many units they're moving. Why do they need purchaser details? They can continue to use surveys to get details that people voluntarily offer. Advertising is a tool, not a right.

          you're simply assuming that because you don't like it, nobody else does either.

          You're assuming what I assume. I just stated I don't like it. I could care less what everyone else thinks.

    • Why are our elected officials spending any time on this?

      Since when is the FTC composed of elected officials?

       

  • how do you identify. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by will_die (586523) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:53AM (#33066264) Homepage
    And how to you identify theses?
    We run just a few sites and they are allow users to change how info is displayed and then track the user and make sure those changes are available across all sites. Would we qualify even if all of that is for internal and a few external users?
    For do not call that was easy, you make a commercial cold call you qualify, if this was that easy then someone would of already addeded it or a plug in would be available.
  • by nmg196 (184961) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:36AM (#33066448)

    Here's how this will go...

    1. Online behavioural tracking and 3rd party cookies outlawed
    2. Adverts shown to us are now even less relevant / interesting than they were before.
    3. We all click on far fewer adverts as a result.
    4. Websites make far less money from their advertising
    5. Vast majority of free websites go bankrupt or become subscription only so we stop using them.
    6. The concept of the 'free' (as in beer) Internet is lost in history.

    It's a LOSE - LOSE situation. When will people realise that well targetted and appropriate adverts are good for everyone?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by internewt (640704)

      Here's how this will go...

      [snip sky caving in scenario]

      It's a LOSE - LOSE situation. When will people realise that well targetted and appropriate adverts are good for everyone?

      Hahaha, funny fucker.

      Oh, you're serious.

      Advertising costs companies money, so if a product is advertised it has more costs associated with it than an unadvertised product. Therefore the advertised product it is a worse deal for me. So I do not want to see the adverts.

      Adverts are maybe good for the businesses behind them, but I don't give a flying fuck about them. Adverts are definitely not in my interest, nor yours. And for you to think so.... well, I think you have been watching too much commercial TV or w

      • You would have to be a moron with almost no exposure to a) family b) friends c) colleagues d) search engines, wikipedia, etc. in order to think that ads are an important source of information or that they add value to the consumer experience.

        Therefore, I don't get why individualized targeting is good for me unless I'm interested in buying lots of overpriced and ill-conceived products/services. And I don't get why advertising and ad-financed sites need the targeting either: Advertising did just fine as a bus

  • and assorted free market fundamentalists:

    you need government regulations. you want to pay taxes for the legions of government bureaucrats toiling away somewhere interfering with business

    because without such regulation business will trample your rights

    you heard me correctly: the government protects your rights and corporations trample them. i'm sorry of this idea contrasts with certain brands of low brain wattage propaganda about the government trampling your rights: if the paranoid schizophrenic fantasies of certain right wing zealots ever come to fruition, those abuses will not happen at the hands of washington dc, they will happen at the hands of large corporate entities

    • by spirality (188417)

      Of course, the next story in the news feed is a bit about how the FBI will be tracking you online. Heh... so much for government protecting me. So much for that Fourth Amendment.

      Point is: big government, big labor, and big business collude to destroy your rights.

      • absolutely (Score:4, Insightful)

        by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:22AM (#33069584) Homepage Journal

        since the dawn of time, the rights of the INDIVIDUAL are pitted against the rights of the GROUP

        pretty much the entire history of mankind is a narrative about this essential struggle

        so some ancient greeks, a few others, and finally some american colonists said "hey, this abuse by the group sucks, but we still have to coordinate our activities if we are to survive as a strong entity able to fend off such abuse by large injust groups. so how do we do that? maybe this democracy thing, hmmm..."

        and so began a silly experiment called democracy, which has always been messy, always imperfect, but still better than lying down and accepting horrible abuse at the hands of a group

        so what i am saying is: yes, the government abused your rights, is abusing your rights, and will always abuse your rights. i understand and agree with that assessment completely, and offer no lala land tales about the wonderful joys of big government: i am not an idiot. but at least, in a democracy, in theory IT IS ACCOUNTABLE TO YOU and you have CIVIL AND LEGAL AVENUES FOR RECOURSE. you don't have to pick up a gun or throw a molotov cocktail to address your grievances. you can stand on a soap box or start a blog or a lawsuit instead. and if enough people agree with you, you begin to see satisfactory justice for your abuse, without violence

        what about corporations? who or what are they accountable to? answer: profit, greed, make more bucks AT ANY COST. a corporation will clearly trample your rights in order to get more profit. a government will also trample your rights for various random goals. but only one of those entities allows you to say "this is not fair!" and if enough of your fellow citizens agree with you, the abuse is addressed, reversed, and not allowed

        see my point?

        because democracy is imperfect is no reason to accept something clearly worse. because the government nibbles your toes is no reason to accept or see as superior a world in which corporations gnaw your fingers off

        • by spirality (188417)

          Getting people to agree with you is not a measure of right.

          This country was great because it was NOT a democracy, but rather a Constitutional republic, which recognized certain spheres of power.

          A democratic element was a necessary part of this structure, but it was just one of many.

          The national government had its place. The state governments theirs. The individual theirs.

          Corporations (read economic power), especially post industrial revolution, is difficult to grapple with, indeed.

          However, what needs to be

          • to explain away the democratic element as ineffectual?

            when the democratic element is the one extraordinary gem of your government which makes it so much better and superior (as a function of social stability and everything else that is important in the american experiment)

            do not be dismissive or contemptuous of the idea that people should or could be allowed to govern themselves. it is the most important attribute of the american government and one you should trumpet and champion, not perform an autopsy on

            • by spirality (188417)

              Democracy needs to be tempered with a due respect for the rule of law. That's all. For instance the 17th Amendment was a bad idea.

              • which is something that is very frightening

                however, we're this close to becoming a corporatocracy, and miles away from mob rule

                priorities, please: i'm not going to worry that much about being bitten by a snake when there's a herd of buffalo bearing down on me

    • you heard me correctly: the government protects your rights and corporations trample them.

      Hearing, but disagreeing:

      First, corporations are appendages of government. Think about it - they don't exist without the force of government to create and back them. So you arguments against corporations are arguments against government protection of corporate actors, who could not get away with their actions but for corporate protection.

      Second, a corporation never put anybody in a rape cage for ingesting the wrong t

      • #1: yes, it would be lovely if corporations were merely appendages of the government. unfortunately the truth is that our government is somewhat of an appendage of corporations

        #2: corporations would trample on your rights with blackwater style private military forces and private prison systems in a heart beat, and some people in this country are working hard to make sure they can (whether they realize it or not). i'm not talking about science fiction, i'm talking about historical american fact:

        http://en.wik [wikipedia.org]

        • #1: yes, it would be lovely if corporations were merely appendages of the government. unfortunately the truth is that our government is somewhat of an appendage of corporations

          I'm not sure the semantics matter, but you've got a causality problem there. Corporations don't exist without government. It's all the government, and you won't get any arguments from me about regulatory capture or oligarchy, but let's remember from whence the use of violence arises.

          #2: corporations would trample on your rights with

          • what is more likely to happen:

            1. someone is going to get the government to revoke the corporate charters of bp or blackwater

            2. bp or balckwater will create legislation suitable to their agenda and trampling on individual's rights

            you tell me, #1 or #2

            "you've got a causality problem there"

            no sir, you have a causality problem

            the puppet is our government, the puppeteer are corporations. i really don't udnerstand why you can't see that

            • 2. bp or balckwater will create legislation suitable to their agenda and trampling on individual's rights

              Right, so how do we solve the problem - Get rid of BP and Blackwater? That seems to be essentially impossible. Get rid of the current government? It's been done before.

              Even if you got rid of BP and Blackwater, given our current government, other corporations would just take their place. I submit, and I think our only point of disagreement, that the conditions that allow them to exist as they do now

    • by SheeEttin (899897)

      if the paranoid schizophrenic fantasies of certain right wing zealots ever come to fruition, those abuses will not happen at the hands of washington dc, they will happen at the hands of large corporate entities

      Judging by our last Republican president, it looks like it'll happen at the hands of both.
      Of course, what with Obama renewing (parts of) the Patriot Act, it seems the Democrats aren't doing any better...

    • by Burz (138833)

      you heard me correctly: the government protects your rights and corporations trample them.

      Government is put in place to protect our rights. But whether government prefers to protect our rights, or protect/promote the interests of corporate aristocrats is another matter that depends on the political culture.

      And our political culture is still dominated by the effects of market fundamentalism. Most people still believe that government is necessarily evil, so they keep electing people with strong inclinations to use the government for evil.

  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @05:43AM (#33066480) Homepage
    The problem is how to decide who can & who does not consent to tracking. What they suggest is something

    similar to the Do-Not-Call registry

    — which means that you need to identify exactly who you are so that the web site knows not to track you. Most trackers currently do not know who you are, just that you have visited some set of web sites. <irony>That will, of course, not be abused by anyone.</irony>

    So their suggested cure is worse than the current disease.

    Having a database of users is also heavily bureauocratic & sooner of later that list will get stolen.

    A much simpler mechanism is to have a new HTTP header, eg Tracking with values of yes or no. True anonymity, not hard for the browser vendors to implement, light weight.

    OK: it will be ignored, but so could the Do-Not-Call registry. Enforcement was always going to be the issue, does the FTC realise that the first letter of www stands for World, ie it has no legal right to control all of it ?

  • Ghostery FF Add-on (Score:2, Informative)

    by EmagGeek (574360)

    Ghostery blocks all that tracking crap...

  • There are ads on the internet? Seriously, when did this happen?

    The best targeted ads are useless if no one sees them. Firefox could include Adblock Plus functionality by default (with easylist enabled) and we'd have an instant restructuring of the entire online advertisement model. Sites that would throw up a pay-wall aren't worth my time anyway, good riddance to bad rubbish.

    • I am curious though - if a web site can't charge for their effort; and advertising is useless -- how do they fund themselves? (Personally, I'm a fan of paywalls as long as there's no advertising on the site.)
  • Is to have the FTC and FCC start gaining real statutory powers to mandate product design. It's one thing like with the FCC to have a program that requires that wireless devices follow certain guidelines to keep from interfering with one another or emergency responders, but this? No way. This sort of mandate would only be the beginning of the federal government telling software developers how to do their job in ways that are dubiously related to the common good.

  • ...to require this."

    I sure as hell hope not. All we need is a Federal agency regulating browser design.

  • The necessary technological change is about as likely. Given the prevalence of "web bugs", the one-pixel transparent images used to track web use by downloading images from a third party web server, and the third party management of cookies used to share data, and all the other technologies, there's no "browser setting" that will fix it all. Even insisting that all web content come from the same hostname when viewing a page breaks down when that server can simply proxy the requests for content to a third pa

  • How would the web know who you are? To implement this would there be some grand unified sign on to get on the web? The government would never abuse that. Yeah no I'll pass.
  • There used to be a "Doubleclick" opt-out cookie that they honored. I wonder if it still works since the Google takeover?
  • The summary is misleading, it says, " The only problem is that the agency may not have the authority to require this, thanks to concerted lobbying efforts by the advertising industry." The structure of this sentence implies that the FTC would naturally have this authority but "concerted lobbying efforts" got Congress to pass a law removing that authority. In fact, what happened was that someone tried to put this into a bill that it didn't belong in (the "financial reform" bill) and lobbyists managed to get
  • One solution I've used for ages is Privoxy. You have a local (if you like) proxy which filters out a ton of this crap, regardless of which browser or plugins you use. There is simple integration with any specific rules you would like to add. More interesting is how much of the tracking crap is out there. Just turn on some basic logging, and see all the cruft that is not getting requested on your behalf.

    Don't get me wrong, I like the browser tools too, and use them, but like the visibility and control I get

  • A major function of the Federal Trade Commission is to keep advertisers honest. The current list of active scams includes bogus contests, work-at-home schemes, free credit reports, investment opportunities, credit repair, and vacation prizes. Old scams die out; the "free cable box" scam seems to have expired, and the used car business seems to have settled down to boredom. New scams are invented to replace them. Pre-paid phone cards with bogus fees are big right now. So the FTC has to change the rules k

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling

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