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EU Privacy Your Rights Online

New EU Net Rules Set To Make Cookies Crumble 290

Posted by samzenpus
from the covering-your-tracks dept.
NickstaDB writes "From the BBC article: 'From 25 May, European laws dictate that "explicit consent" must be gathered from web users who are being tracked via text files called "cookies." These files are widely used to help users navigate faster around sites they visit regularly. Businesses are being urged to sort out how they get consent so they can keep on using cookies.'"
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New EU Net Rules Set To Make Cookies Crumble

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  • by mclearn (86140) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @01:30AM (#35439576) Homepage
    Cookies have legitimate uses that have nothing to do with "tracking". Perhaps the issue comes with trying to interpret the specific language used rather that knee-jerk "everyone must opt-in". If your cookies are not used to track -- if you do not use, for example, Google analytics -- then you are not in violation. The article basically states this.
  • Re:Wrong Solution (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 10, 2011 @01:48AM (#35439656)

    Some cookies are used to remember login details, others are used to track your behaviour. You can't tell your browser to allow one type and block the other because your browser can't tell which one is which. That's what this law is about.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 10, 2011 @01:48AM (#35439658)

    The sole purpose of the EU is to make things harder for people, and enrich/empower the bureaucrats and politicians involved in the circus. It has ever been thus witih governments.

  • Re:Thanks EU (Score:3, Informative)

    by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @02:26AM (#35439800) Homepage Journal
    HAPPY FUN GRAMMAR NAZI ADVENTURE: "Jurisdiction [thefreedictionary.com]", not "Jurisprudence [thefreedictionary.com]". Remember, a dictionary page per day keeps the lurking trolls at bay!
  • by cbope (130292) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @02:27AM (#35439802)

    Sorry, you are looking at it from the wrong direction. The difference between the US and the EU is that the EU (or by extension the state governments that form it) are protecting their citizens from violations of privacy by corporations. You see, over here, we actually care about privacy and our governments do actually help to protect it. Done properly and where needed, regulation is a Good Thing(tm). Corporate Fascism hasn't yet fully taken over here in the EU as it has in the US.

    All you have to do is look at areas such as telecommunications: The EU's mobile phone operators and ISP's provide FAR better service, better prices and a LOT more competition in this area than in the US. I live in a small country of only 5.2 million, and I can choose from literally dozens of mobile phone operators and I have multiple ISP's to choose from with very competitive offerings. I can shop for the best price and/or service. I am not limited to one or two major monopolistic operators or ISP's like in some parts of the US.

    Just like the 2-party political system, which is a joke, you guys over in the States need to get over your long-held belief that regulation is bad. Regulation in the EU generally *protects* the consumer and their privacy and prevents monopolistic business practices. In the US, practically everyone believes in the invisible hand of the free market. The problem is the invisible hand is stealing from consumers pockets and stuffing the pockets of corporations. The invisible hand is NOT working in YOUR favor, it's working in favor of the corporations.

    Now before a troll comes along and says I do not know what I am talking about, I am an American living abroad in the EU, for more than 10 years. I have lived and worked in both places and I have worked for both American and EU based companies. I can assure you, the EU way really is better and I cannot really consider living and working in the US anymore. It is a major downgrade on practically every metric.

    Back to the original topic: tracking cookies. This regulation is in response to companies who abuse users by tracking them using cookies. This is unwanted behavior. Cookies were not originally intended for this use and since companies have been abusing cookies (and by extension the consumers/users), it calls for regulation since companies in the free market cannot be held responsible for acting responsibly. Companies will only do what they can to increase profits and/or market share unless forced to do something else. Regulating cookies for tracking behavior is needed and I do not have a problem with this. It protects me as a consumer since it is widely known to be abused. This is precisely why regulation is sometimes needed.

    You may be willing to allow corporations to perform uncontrolled data mining of your online habits but I prefer to have control over that information since the information is open to abuse. There is no legitimate justification for corporations to collect this information other than to use it for their benefit. They are certainly not collecting it to help you as a consumer.

  • Re:Thanks EU (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bobakitoo (1814374) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @03:18AM (#35440024)

    What if multiple people share the same computer?

    The kids get to see pornography advertisments because you browser for porn last night. Fun for the whole family!

  • Re:Compromise. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 10, 2011 @03:21AM (#35440040)

    Already exists in Firefox ! Accept cookies from sites ... Keep until: I close Firefox

  • Re:Thanks EU (Score:5, Informative)

    by Snowblindeye (1085701) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @04:03AM (#35440250)

    IPv6 will give almost everybody practically static addresses, the ultimate undeleteable cookie. So the EU regulation will be futile very soon.

    That problem has been solved by RFC 4941, otherwise known as the Privacy Extensions [ietf.org]. Most OSes support it, though I believe some don't enable it by default. IIRC the iPhone is one of the devices that doesn't support it, but that should be fixable once IPv6 becomes more widespread.

  • Re:Wrong Solution (Score:4, Informative)

    by Nursie (632944) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @04:15AM (#35440306)

    Find a FF extension called "Cookie Monster" and then revel in th granular control you have once again :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 10, 2011 @04:55AM (#35440524)

    How do you track consent in the first place, without cookies?

    A user giving consent (or not) means that you've got to have a unique way of identifying that user. In the stateless HTTP protocol this means that you've got to have some state preserved. You can either do that with very fancy URLs (but then back buttons, bookmarks, browser history and such will not work properly) or with cookies.

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