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Do Not Track Ineffective and Dangerous, Says Researcher 207

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-intentions dept.
Seeteufel writes "Nadim Kobeissi, security researcher, describes the Do Not Track standard of the W3C as dangerous. 'In fact, Google's search engine, as well as Microsoft's (Bing), both ignore the Do Not Track header even though both companies helped implement this feature into their web browsers. Yahoo Search also ignored Do Not Track requests. Some websites will politely inform you, however, of the fact that your Do Not Track request has been ignored, and explain that this has been done in order to preserve their advertising revenue. But not all websites, by a long shot, do this.' The revelations come as Congress and European legislators consider to tighten privacy standards amid massive advertiser lobbying. 'Do not track' received strong support from the European Commission."
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Do Not Track Ineffective and Dangerous, Says Researcher

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  • Legislation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by anthony_greer (2623521) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @08:56PM (#42890571)

    The days of the wild west on the net are gone...If the big boys in the industry cant get their shit together soon, we will get legislation, and that will be bad for everyone!

    Just once I wish these companies could see that it is in the best interest of everyone to keep the government out and work together to reach a policy that will be adopted as a general standard without a law mandating it...

  • Poisoning the well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by morcego (260031) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:02PM (#42890637)

    For a long time, advertisement didn't bother me. I refused to use ad blocking addons, and considered ads just part of a trade. Sites give me content, I look at the ads.

    Then came pop-ups. Pop-unders. Flash adds. Ads with music. Ads that would make my cockatiel go into convulsion, and start to drool and chase the neighbor's cat. And I have to tell you, my neighbor really loves her cat. And being chased by a drooling cockatiel will really humiliate a cat, and all dogs will start making fun of it. Not an idea situation.

    So, back to the issue at hand. What MOST sites did was poison the well: no one can drink front it. It got so bad that I eventually had to start using ad blocking addons.

    Now people want to implement VOLUNTARY sensitive advertisement and privacy practices. Obviously, they are trying to convince people we no longer need our ad blocking addons. By saying they will do something that is exactly the opposite of what they have done so far, ostensibly.

    Sure, some sites will do the would Do Not Track dance. But those are the same sites that already respect our privacy and my neighbor's cat. Exactly the ones that don't need it.

    The ones that need it the most, will just ignore it.

    Fun, isn't it?

    Fuck Do No Track. I will keep my Javascript and Ad blocking addons.

  • by Andy Prough (2730467) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:04PM (#42890671)
    They still act like there are just 3 network TV stations, and that if they write a witty line in an ad, 50 million people will see it and go buy their crap. Like "Think Mink", or "Got Milk?". They still think they can bombard the public's eyeballs with ads and force us to robotically buy whatever they are selling. "Do Not Track" isn't even a speed-bump for these geniuses.
  • Re:meanwhile... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:06PM (#42890683)

    Someone will say, "I shouldn't have to do that!", and they're right, they shouldn't. But the simple reality is that you do have to do all that, and some others in that ilk (only whitelist javascripts you trust). It's your computer which loads those trackers. You are free to tell it not to do that, but don't fool yourself into thinking businesses built around tracking your every move will ever have your best interests at heart.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:06PM (#42890685)

    The poster asserts that DNT is a (not very good) technical solution to a technical problem, and proposes other technical solutions.

    The problem is that DNT is neither a technical solution, nor is it trying to solve a technical problem.

    DNT is the first step in a legal solution to a social problem.

    You may argue whether legal or technical solutions (or both, or neither) are more effective against this social problem. However, put DNT into the right bucket first!

  • by bmo (77928) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:18PM (#42890791)

    Then came pop-ups. Pop-unders. Flash adds. Ads with music. Ads that would make my cockatiel go into convulsion, and start to drool and chase the neighbor's cat. And I have to tell you, my neighbor really loves her cat. And being chased by a drooling cockatiel will really humiliate a cat, and all dogs will start making fun of it. Not an idea situation.

    What you left out of that extensive list was malware served up through ad networks. It's not enough to go to "trusted sites" but you have to trust their ad servers too. On one site I still frequent, there was an ad serving up malware for an exploit in Windows. They have since clamped down on who their ad server is, but after that people installed adblock plus as a security measure.

    --
    BMO

  • by ark1 (873448) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:21PM (#42890817)
    They use it as yet another indicator of your personality to better target ads.
  • No kidding (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:24PM (#42890843)

    Advertisers need to STFU as they are the reason all this happened. Most people really don't mind non-invasive ads that much. They'll let them happen and likely not even complain. However the advertisers seem to think that more obnoxious, more invasive, etc is the way to get attention. Eventually, it pushes people over the edge and they will block it.

    Happened to me. I was fine with ads, I understand the need. However I really hated popups. No problem, popup blocker. Then game the fucking flash ads, ok fine so a flash blocker with click to pay for the stuff I want. Then, HTML 5 ads that take over a page. Ok, fuck you, all ads are blocked, I've had enough.

    Happens with more people I know too. They'll ask me if there's a way to deal with it and I'll point them to Adblock.

    Advertisers really need to understand that if you don't want your market to go away, you have to stop being dicks about it. Keep the ads low key and not fraudulent, and people will probably be ok with it by and large. Some won't, but most won't mind, at least not enough to do something. However the more invasive you are, the more people will block it out.

  • Re:Legislation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:26PM (#42890859)

    It's 2013. Anyone who still thinks "vote with your wallet" works is a fucking idiot.

    "Vote with the ballot box" is and will always be the fairest way: one person, one vote.

    "Vote with your wallet" is similar but with the number of votes you get weighted by the size of your wallet.

    DNT fails because large corporations are a bunch of lying, two-faced bastards. Abandoning DNT is no more sensible than repealing any law or policy "because rich people don't feel like following it".

    Regulation works, except when regulatory capture happens. And regulatory capture happens when regulation is weak.

    It's time to end Free Market As Religion. The balance that was social democracy represented the pinnacle of human civilisation, and it's time that America moved forwards to pre-Reaganite progress, and Europe to pre-Thatcherite progress.

  • Re:Legislation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:38PM (#42890973)

    "As you can tell by the total absence of murder now that murder is illegal."
    "As you can tell by the total absence of rape now that rape is illegal."
    "As you can tell by the total absence of theft now that theft is illegal."

    See, that sophomoric black-and-white "X is not 100% effective therefore it is 0% effective" argument is shit. And it always will be shit.

    As for spam:
    1) There would be way more spam if spam were entirely legal;
    2) Anyway, spam is very poorly regulated, thanks partly to regulatory capture: i) there are too many exceptions; ii) the deterrents are weak; and iii) enforcement of anti-spam legislation is lackadaisical.

    You start chasing down all major spammers with jailtime and a 0% tolerance policy and watch the amount of spam plummet.

Programmers do it bit by bit.

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