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Google/Facebook: Do-Not-Track Threatens CA Economy 363

Posted by Soulskill
from the subsidize-the-data-farmers dept.
theodp writes "Google and Facebook are warning legislators of dire consequences if California passes a 'do-not-track' bill. The proposed law would require companies doing online business in the Golden State to offer an 'opt-out' privacy mechanism for consumers. Senate Bill 761 'would create an unnecessary, unenforceable and unconstitutional regulatory burden on Internet commerce,' reads the sky-is-falling protest letter bearing the stamp-of-disapproval from Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Amex, Acxiom, Experian, Allstate, Time-Warner, MPAA, ESA and others. 'The measure would negatively affect consumers who have come to expect rich content and free services through the Internet, and would make them more vulnerable to security threats.'"
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Google/Facebook: Do-Not-Track Threatens CA Economy

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  • MPAA and Google (Score:4, Insightful)

    by x*yy*x (2058140) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:01PM (#36057054)
    Would you really want MPAA to get limitless power to track your every movement? What next, install tracking equipment and video cameras in your home so can MPAA can make sure you aren't making backups own your movies? After all, that would be really good for MPAA and barring such would "unnecessarily burden MPAA and movie studios business".

    It's actually an interesting thing among slashthink. This is one thing Microsoft is doing right. You don't see Microsoft among the privacy invasive companies like MPAA, Time-Warner, Google, Facebook, ESA etc.. That's because they don't want to track your every movement. Microsoft sells you software. You buy it, they're happy, and you don't lose your privacy. Still most here think MS is evil and Google is some kind of white knight. Well, a few quotes [businessinsider.com].. Eric Schmidt: "We try very hard to look like we're out of control. But in fact the company is very measured. And that's part of our secret.". And Schmidt [slashdot.org]: "If I look at enough of your messaging and your location, and use artificial intelligence, we can predict where you are going to go ... show us 14 photos of yourself and we can identify who you are.", and again [gawker.com], "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
    • Re:MPAA and Google (Score:4, Informative)

      by ThunderBird89 (1293256) <(zalanmeggyesi) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:33PM (#36057304)

      Microsoft sells you software. You buy it, they're happy, and you don't lose your privacy.

      I would argue with that, based on the amount of calling home Windows does, as well as the number of security holes in Windows enabling a breach of privacy...

    • Re:MPAA and Google (Score:5, Insightful)

      by starfishsystems (834319) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @01:05PM (#36057550) Homepage
      Microsoft sells you software. You buy it, they're happy, and you don't lose your privacy.

      Well, not really. First of all, you buy it and you do lose your privacy. Microsoft has been caught playing all kinds of tricks over the network. And it was among the first to try it. Others followed its example. A more accurate characterization is that if it can get away with it, it will.

      But that's only one, rather generic, thing to worry about. What makes Microsoft special is its efforts to monetize DRM. This is something it has been building towards for over a decade now. It's naïve to think that software buyers are Microsoft's only customer. In fact you do see Microsoft hanging out with the likes of MPAA and Time-Warner. You're just not invited to the table.
    • "Microsoft sells you software. You buy it, they're happy,"

      OBVIOUSLY, you haven't read a EULA from Microsoft in the past - ohhhh - 30 years. YOU BUY NOTHING!!! You don't even lease or rent it. You merely pay for their permission to use it. And, if you change your hardware, you're supposed to pay them again, for more permission. Change your legal name, pay again. Change your underwear, pay again. Why do you think Microsoft geeks spend so much time in their mama's basements? They can't afford to change

    • by miltonw (892065)
      This is, basically, the same old problem: How do you protect people from their own stupidity?

      People give out too much information just because some site asks for it, then they object when the inevitable result happens. Or they publish information on Facebook or Twitter and are surprised that shows up elsewhere. So some politician thinks they can buy votes by "passing a law".

      But people don't change and still do stupid stuff with unfortunate consequences and politicians promise to "fix it" with yet
      • You can't address "the source of the problem" without a benevolent eye toward human vulnerabilities. We do volunteer information frivolously "just because some site asks for it" -- in return for a minimal value. That does not make us stupid. That is human nature. Human weakness. The average human does not, and cannot, look ahead that far.

        When businesses capitalize on human nature, human weakness, that's not OK. It's unethical. Our society is afraid to use the statistics of human behavior to say, "bus

    • Re:MPAA and Google (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Doctor_Jest (688315) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @02:18PM (#36057996)

      You're half right. Microsoft is notorious for the very thing you claim they don't do. They are in bed with the MPAA/RIAA, and a copy of Windows phones home more times than a kid at his first day of summer camp. Google isn't a white knight because they're a corporation in it for the profit. All corporations are evil. They do not care about us, nor do they care who they exploit to get more money.

        The quote "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place" reminds me of the position people take regarding privacy and over-reaching government snooping that violates the 4th Amendment. "If you're not doing anything illegal, you should have nothing to hide." And like that statement... It's not about what you do, it's about the power I have over my own life. I shouldn't be at the mercy of tracking software and invasive snooping simply because I'm online. It'd be like every time you went to Wal Mart someone who worked for them or one of the products in the store would follow you around, recording everything you did. What the "do not track" option does is as simple as saying "let me shop in peace." You will know what I buy when I check out or when I make a transaction. Seeing what I pick up and put back on the shelf is really of no concern. Stop selling it to marketeers and attempting to put me in a box that says "likes pie and Febreeze. Let's market Febreeze tasting pie to him!"

    • It's actually an interesting thing among slashthink. This is one thing Microsoft is doing right. You don't see Microsoft among the privacy invasive companies like MPAA, Time-Warner, Google, Facebook, ESA etc.. That's because they don't want to track your every movement. Microsoft sells you software. You buy it, they're happy, and you don't lose your privacy. Still most here think MS is evil and Google is some kind of white knight.

      What an odd, incorrect conclusion that is! First, Microsoft has filed for MULTIPLE patents (covered right here on /. multiple times) to allow them to track their users' every move for not just their Live! product line, but for Office as well. Second, Microsoft's "Help Microsoft improve _____ (insert name of software her)" program does EXACTLY that - tracks your every move - and they sell the information to their "Business Partners" (or so their ToS and EULA claim). You can find the "Help Microsoft..." thing

  • MPAA with them? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by conark (871314) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:04PM (#36057080)
    That's not a good name to have associated with the rest. So much for Google not being evil. Maybe they should change their slogan to "Don't be unprofitable."
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      Well, a corporation's primary allegiance is to its shareholders,not to any random consumer, and their first task is to turn a profit, not to be the Goodie Good Guys.

      • Well, a corporation's primary allegiance is to its shareholders,not to any random consumer, and their first task is to turn a profit, not to be the Goodie Good Guys.

        That's fine - as long as you argue the same perspective when we're discussing Apple, Microsoft, or even Sony.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:06PM (#36057098)

    Lesson two: If it looks like there is a free lunch, think again. You're losing something worth more than cash up front.

    • Worm on a hook.
      Cat crap in the garden.
      Roadkill which attracts a crow which gets smooshed which attracts another animal which...
      Day old bread from the bakery.
      Roommates' food so long as you only take one bite from many different meals, don't finish any off, and don't open any packages.

      Okay, I'll admit some of them have a catch.

  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:08PM (#36057118) Homepage

    The Californian economy is based on this stuff.

    On the other hand, it seems strange that the new American economy is based entirely on

    -hustling stuff via spam^H^H^H^Hemail marketing
    -getting people to click on ads while penalizing sites that ask people to click on ads
    -movies
    -figuring out who you are/what you've bought so you can buy more of it.
    -knowing who your friends are so you can be peer-pressured into buying more stuff.

    It just seems that after you've figured out the basics of food production, housing, metals/commodities, transportation, there's nothing left except for group-brainstorming ethereal "value-adds" like the above.

    • by NixieBunny (859050) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:28PM (#36057258) Homepage
      Amen. The notion that everyone is chasing each other's clicks to the bank is mystifying to me. Who's producing actual stuff?

      The worst sites for me are the sites that have millions of electronic component part numbers listed on thousands of pages, but that don't sell any of these parts. WTF???!!!??

      Of course, I'm looking for actual parts because I produce actual stuff to sell.
    • by Lysol (11150)

      I agree with your first part - basically that the American internet social economy is based of the things you've listed. It is sad how many engineers are working at places like FB where the goal is not to make something transformative, but to, yes, sell you ads. What a waste..

      Your last part I don't agree with. There are plenty of human transformative technologies and theories to work out outside of the things you mentioned. Just even the small task (speaking in galactic terms) of getting a permanent base/ci

    • Uh, excuse me? We still produce a shitload of products here: cars, airplanes, helicoptors, agricultural products, oil, drugs, chemicals, etc. All the stuff you mentioned doesn't even compare with what I just listed.

    • by Khyber (864651)

      "The Californian economy is based on this stuff."

      Bullshit. The CA economy is based primarily from Agriculture and Technology. We were #4 economy in the world BEFORE all of this bullshit. These companies are the reason we're at #8 and FALLING.

      I'll go right out and say it - GOOGLE, YAHOO, THE MPAA, ARE ALL DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR ECONOMY DROPPING LIKE A ROCK.

      The housing bubble was only a blip compared to the damage all of these other companies are currently doing.

      Any patriotic American would be getting g

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:11PM (#36057136)

    Facebook already has an opt-out privacy mechanism called no using it.

    • by Barrinmw (1791848)
      yeah, and everyone can have a right to privacy...as long as they never leave their homes.
      • by Luckyo (1726890)

        This is like arguing that there's no need for traffic rules, because you don't have to ever get out of your home.

    • by Kymermosst (33885)

      That would also require you to not use any site that has Facebook integration. Just because you don't have a FB account doesn't mean they aren't tracking you.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        The OP was joking, but I definitely agree with you there. It's troubling to me that I have to install addons in order to opt out of being tracked by businesses with whom I have no business. I've gotten to the point that I just blacklist ad firm cookies because they don't care whether or not I consent to be tracked.

        Unfortunately, web sites are not required to make it clear with whom they share my information or who actually owns all that javascript that they seem to think is essential to browsing the site.

    • Facebook already has an opt-out privacy mechanism called no using it.

      Incorrect.

      Please do realize that "not using" Facebook, means not allowing your browser to connect to Facebook... Even if you never directly go to facebook.com, if you see a website with a "like" button, you are using Facebook! How do you think the like buttons know how many (or that none of) "your friends like this"?

      Since HTML web pages, for better or worse, allow multi-server content, any page can request that an image, script or other resource be pulled in from Facebook. The request for the resour

  • by Allicorn (175921) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:13PM (#36057156) Homepage

    I don't recall agreeing to the change from "Netizen" to "Consumer"...

    • Re:Consumers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:24PM (#36057222)
      Welcome to the 21st century; living under that rock must have really been tough. These days, the Internet is not about netizens politely sharing information and having vigorous discussions, it is an adversarial game designed to extract the maximum amount of money from you.
    • Re:Consumers (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Luckyo (1726890) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @01:34PM (#36057728)

      The change is from "Netizen" to "Product". You're not the consumer - companies your info is sold to are. You are the product being consumed.

  • Well, okay (Score:5, Funny)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:16PM (#36057170)

    Google may have said that - but I'm sure they said it in an un-evil voice.

    • I watch the TED and Google Talks youtube channels, where I see idealistic Google employees all of the time giving sanctimonious talks about mixing higher ideals with business.

      If they want to continue to be taken seriously they need to clean up some of Google's business practices and apologize for some of the company's more egregious ethical transgressions like suppressing information about Tianamen Square on the Chinese version of Google.

  • Translation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ljw1004 (764174) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:20PM (#36057202)

    Translation: "Our business model is founded on doing stuff to consumers that they don't want. Please let us continue doing it."

    • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:31PM (#36057284)
      I have said it elsewhere, but...the Internet has now become an adversarial game. "Consumers" do things that corporations like Google do not want either -- "consumers" make use of websites and run up bandwidth, power, and personnel fees, and try to do so without paying anything for it. The corporations thus try to force consumers to provide them with revenue, and have turned to things like tracking your use of the Internet and selling that data to marketers.

      The solution will not be found in the law; it will be found be returning to a peer-to-peer Internet and leaving this "consumers getting services from corporations" model behind us. Sadly, a peer-to-peer Internet would require users who took the time to actually learn about their computers, which I doubt we will actually see any time soon.
  • Silly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:25PM (#36057234)

    'Opt-out' is kind of pointless anyway because it will require a cookie to say you've opted out, which can be used to track you. The only law which would make sense is requiring people to opt-in to being tracked.

    • by cronco (1435465)
      Why would it require a cookie for that? Wouldn't the "do-not-track" header be enough for that?
    • by Fastolfe (1470)

      How would a cookie "opted_out=true" be used to track you, unless you were the only one that opted out?

    • They could just make the site work without cookies. If the user's browser has cookies disabled, that's an "opt-out". If the browser has cookies enabled, that's an "opt-in". That works especially well since all of the top browsers let people have separate cookie settings for each website.
  • by spopepro (1302967) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:25PM (#36057236)
    I found it interesting who was on the list and who wasn't.
    -Experian is but Fair Issac (who has a couple of offices near here) isn't.
    -Amex is but Visa, one of the Bay Area's largest employers, isn't.
    -Many insurance companies. I know past behavior is important to these companies, but web tracking? I don't know enough to see why this is worth fighting for on their end.
    -California Assoc. of Licensed Investigators. Probably the only honest ones on the list. "We want to be able to track you, because, um, we track people. That's what we do."

    So I wonder if some of the companies that aren't on here don't care, weren't asked, or actively don't want to be on a list with PR nightmares like the MPAA.
    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:35PM (#36057316)

      Many insurance companies. I know past behavior is important to these companies, but web tracking? I don't know enough to see why this is worth fighting for on their end.

      Well, if you are someone who happens to frequent forums where people discuss depression and suicidal thoughts, you are probably not the person that the insurance company wants to offer a life insurance policy to; they might not advertise as heavily to you as to other people.

      California Assoc. of Licensed Investigators. Probably the only honest ones on the list. "We want to be able to track you, because, um, we track people. That's what we do."

      Congratulations on having written a comment that will be added to my personal "list of favorite /. comments."

    • by mkiwi (585287)

      Noticeably absent from the list is Apple. Queue the flame war.

  • by rmdyer (267137) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:35PM (#36057312)

    Does it not occur to some internet companies that I may actually be alright with um, oh I don't know, PAYING THEM for the services they offer, instead of being tracked and advertised to? Or are they too afraid of making money the traditional tried and true way of customers paying for their "apparently" superior offerings.
    I mean if the only way a company can make money is by tracking and advertising to people then what business does a company like that have being on the stock market? Apparently they've just admitted in this "protest letter" that they really have no products or services that are worth being "sold".

    • by BrianRoach (614397) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:47PM (#36057402)

      What you're likely to see if this comes to pass is that people who "opt out" are then bitching that they now have to actually, you know, PAY for things like email, search, social networks, etc, just like in the good 'ol days when GEnie, compuserve, AOL, Prodigy, and your local ISP were charging by the hour for access.

    • by cdrguru (88047) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @01:01PM (#36057530) Homepage

      Pay for something on the Internet? How quaint. Nonsense. People have grown up with the idea that the Internet is free and they aren't about to start paying now. No matter what.

      We've spent the last 15 years figuring out ways to get money from people without their knowledge or consent. Google has become very, very good at it. There is no way we are going to return to a model where people willing pay money for services that were previously free. Not going to happen.

    • by Kenja (541830)
      You are unclear on what the service is. The service is information about you. You are the product. The customer is advertisers and other leeches.
    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      I think this falls under what I call "the Cable TV Conundrum".

      When Cable TV came out, one of the big selling points was "no commercials!" How did that work out for us? It started out that way, sure, but pretty soon they cable companies learned they could charge us for the stations and run commercials, basically double-dipping.

      The same thing happens with websites. Show ads to free users? Sure. Show ads to pay users? Why the hell not. Even with stuff like tracking, it makes sense to track your paid users abov

  • Since when did it say "We the companies?". Wait, never mind. People have been handing over the power to companies for glass beads and nice promises since many years.

  • Is that a joke? How is the state government requiring businesses licensed in the state to do something like this unconstitutional?

    • The state is limited by the STATE constitution, the federal gov by the federal constitution.
      • by Raffaello (230287)

        To be more precise, the usual argument made is that enacting such a law would constitute a barrier to interstate trade, and the US Constitution gives sole power to regulate interstate trade to the Federal Government.

        IOW, such a law would likely be constitutional, but it may well require Congress and the President to enact it, not the California legislature and Governor Brown.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      It gets a bit iffy when states regulate businesses that do business in multiple states. There is a body of precedence to cover much of it, but the courts still haven't caught up with more recent innovations that have come from the internet so I'd expect it to be a while to firmly establish what the rules are and how the various constitutions apply.

  • Wait what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by future assassin (639396) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:39PM (#36057344) Homepage

    'The measure would negatively affect consumers who have come to expect rich content and free services through the Internet

    Lets forget about free services, why do you need to store my info if I pay for your rich content service. I'm more then happy to enter my CC details every time I need to renew your service.

    would make them more vulnerable to security threats.

    Sony? If my personal info is not stored anywhere how am I at risk to security threats?

    • Re:Wait what? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:54PM (#36057458)

      Lets forget about free services, why do you need to store my info if I pay for your rich content service.

      Probably because your information is worth more than what you are willing to pay for the service.

    • by am 2k (217885)

      If my personal info is not stored anywhere how am I at risk to security threats?

      Well, if you consider the transport connection more insecure than the server (so I'm not talking about Sony here), that's actually true. If your connection is potentially compromised, it's better to not transmit the cc details for every sale.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      I'm always shocked by the sites I pay for in one way or another that have advertisers as well. Seems to me that if the business is selling things to me and I'm paying, that I shouldn't also have to put up with advertisements for other sites, worst ones are the ones with tracking and no ads, and no particular explanation or apology for it.

  • If, indeed, these consumers "have come to expect rich content and free services through the Internet", then they won't likely opt-out, will they. And, "would make them more vulnerable to security threats"? Really? By keeping their location private? What a load of crap.

    Usually, it's legislation that tends toward treating citizens as if they're too stupid to think for themselves. In this case, it's private industry asking the government to do so.
    • It's clearly fud but my guess is that they're claiming that having your personal data on your hard drive is less safe than on the cloud and, for the average computer user, they may well be correct.

      • It's clearly fud but my guess is that they're claiming that having your personal data on your hard drive is less safe than on the cloud and, for the average computer user, they may well be correct.

        The problem is that in most cases it's stored on both.

    • Well, if you opt out of tracking then how are you going to use an site without sending your access credentials across the net every time you load a page?

      • by ichthus (72442)
        Your question doesn't make any sense. Access credentials have to be sent, regardless of whether your location data is available -- and regardless of who's transmitting it.

        Also, I trust myself to keep my data safe far more than any cloud or online database (see Sony online [pcworld.com].)
      • Well, if you opt out of tracking then how are you going to use an site without sending your access credentials across the net every time you load a page?

        Sending access credentials should not be something that compromises your security. You know, like how I can send my SSH public key to dozens of different systems and not have to worry?

        • That requires establishing a linkage on the host between the public key and your identity. Zut alors! Your are now being tracked.

  • it is opt out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:42PM (#36057362) Homepage Journal
    This means that a person cannot be tracked without their knowledge. These types of bills always destroy disreputable or legacy firns, but legitimate firms always finds a way to survive. In the case of Google and Facebook, they will merely have to gind an incentive to encourage people to not opt out. Both firms already do this. This why Google is succesful. While many end users have no problem turning off all the cookies for Yahoo and 2o7, because they provide no services that require cookies, I suspect the majority of people who use google and facebook have active cookies for these sites.

    I have said many bad things about Google, and now I add to that Google is officially a bloated and lazy firm, not capable of meaningful innovation. If it were it would not be pulling the 'lost jobs' argument. Such an argument is only made of irrelevant companies such as US auto makers and book publishers.

    Google, and to a lesser extent, facbook has made huge sums of money through consumer ignorance. What this is going to require that they share a bit more of those proceeds with the end user. Yes it will effect profits, and conceivably it will effect proficts enough that they will get out of the business, or leave california. Perhaps they can move to a desperate state like mississippi, and perhaps enough employee will follow. The reality is that California knows it has something that exists in few other places, and can enforce a code of conduct on the companies there. Othwise everyone would move 400 miles east to Nevada.

    • Remember that this is California we're talking about - the state where everything is known to cause cancer, thanks to badly thought out feel-good legislation. I wouldn't put it past them to come up with a law that's essentially impossible to comply with whilst still actuallly running a useful website.

  • by NecroPuppy (222648) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:47PM (#36057400) Homepage

    They had me nodding through that statement... The arguments being at least semi-reasonable. Right up until the last bit.

    How does an opt-out system make things -less- secure?

    Massive amount of obvious (but believable) self-interest, spoiled by trying to put a security spin on it that is total BS.

  • Here's the thing with all of these sites. The 'free' content was originally provided with an 'understanding' that it would be supported by advertising revenue. Fine. I'll put up with banner ads and the occasional pop-up. But when these sites began selling my personal information, what they have done is to unilaterally modify the terms of this contract. Not only have they done so, but they are doing it with data that I may have entered before that ever announced (or possibly even envisioned) such a new busin

    • by cdrguru (88047)

      Well, you started the escalation with ad blockers. And not clicking on ads. When the ad revenue dropped somewhere around 2000 everyone had to come up with a solution that didn't involve making people pay. Everyone over the age of 14 had already learned at home and school "all about the Internet" and how everything was free because it was ad supported.

      So with the pretty much global crash of ad revenue what alternatives were there? Government support for web sites?

      Google was built on the idea of collectin

  • heh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by uberjack (1311219) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @12:51PM (#36057438)
    So much for "Don't be evil"?
  • I mean, seriously. There is no mechanism by which Do Not Track can actually be made to work as it is currently being proposed. This is more important than whether you think it's a good idea.

    If you want to be able to opt out of being tracked, you need to built it in to browser behavior and/or web protocols themselves. You can't simply ASK sites not to track you and expect anything to happen, nor can you rely on a law to do this for you.

  • The measure would negatively affect consumers who have come to expect rich content and free services through the Internet,

    Personally it freaks me out whenever I go on a random site and it shows me my own facebook profile picture along with a message such as "Be the first of your friends to recommend this article!!"

    I'm still caving to peer pressure and keeping a FB profile, but I resent it always more and more. One thing is for sure - that's one company I'm not investing in any time soon.

    • Re:Rich content (Score:5, Interesting)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @01:20PM (#36057650)

      that's one company I'm not investing in any time soon.

      ...on the other hand, if you are an investor, Facebook is a godsend. Imagine asking Facebook this question: How many American users are posting messages that indicate they are out of work? The answer would be a far more accurate depiction of the number of unemployed Americans than any measurement based on official unemployment claims, and the answer would come sooner than official estimates. In a way, Facebook has so much information about so many people that you could probably make some accurate predictions about where the economy is going just by asking Facebook to answer the right questions, and adjust your investments accordingly.

  • Dear Larry, Sergey, Eric, Mark, Jerry, and friends:

    If the brightest idea all your super-smart people can come up with is to interpose yourselves into every interaction a human being is involved in on the internet, then we don't need your kind of economic engine. Be glad all that's being suggested is that people be able to opt out. Consider these alternatives before you start crying into your gold plated mugs of artisenal beer:

    a) In order to maintain a level of equality we implant a camera, call it a "third-

  • I didn't read the letter, but I did read the article. Google & Facebook's claims about *how* the proposed law was not described clearly.

    What was clear, sort of, is how both organizations would lose information that has been used in the past to play dirty tricks on consumers. For example, location, date and time information. In the past, Amazon has charged different prices for the same product based on a customers location.

    These two orgs should have been the last to write such a letter. Google and

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @02:08PM (#36057924) Homepage

    The usual slimeballs are behind this:

    • 24/7 Real Media
    • ValueClick
    • AOL
    • Amway
    • MPAA
    • Direct Marketing Association
    • Network Advertising Initiative

    If all those organizations went bust, the world would be a better place. Applying some pain to all of them is a good first step.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Posting anonymously to protect, um, something. But one more slimeball to add to your list is The Bernard Hodes Group, who aggressively use multiple means of tracking people who are applying for jobs--by selling analytics to large employers--to gain value for themselves. What that value is, I do not know for sure, but having worked with them on behalf of shared customers, and having forced them to accept zero PII on any transactions under my control, and seeing their reaction to that I'm 100% sure that a s

As in certain cults it is possible to kill a process if you know its true name. -- Ken Thompson and Dennis M. Ritchie

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