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A Setback for ISP Web Tracking 32

angelheaded tips a Wired story about the resignation of Bob Dykes, CEO of net eavesdropping firm NebuAd. NebuAd has encountered financial troubles lately as the privacy controversy surrounding the company's tracking methods has driven communications companies away. Over in the UK, Phorm responded to the NebuAd news by affirming that it is making progress with its advertising methods. From The Register: "In response to the outcry over our revealing its two secret trials, BT said in April it would re-engineer the planned deployment so traffic to and from customers who do not want their web use profiled for marketing purposes would not come into contact with the Phorm system. The original blueprint meant that a opt-out cookie would tell the technology to simply ignore refuseniks' browsing as it passed through. It's thought the change has proved tricky. Phorm did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the alleged technical problems, but [BT's chief press officer Adam Liversage] said: 'We have been working on some things with Phorm.'"
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A Setback for ISP Web Tracking

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  • Re:Why... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by schnikies79 ( 788746 ) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @12:33PM (#24901387)

    Since most websites are free, how else do you expect them to make a profit, or even break even?

  • by schwaang ( 667808 ) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @12:34PM (#24901395)

    This needs to be so clearly illegal that no American ISP would have thought about trying it to begin with.

  • Re:Why... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Adambomb ( 118938 ) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @12:44PM (#24901463) Journal

    Actually, I think thats more of a problem of scale. The larger user base you have, the less consumers think of contributing in the name of good will as "ahh they're doing alright" (and in some cases, that'd be valid to say).

    I'm not saying that such a business model would not be profitable, i'm just saying most businesses see it as a diminishing returns kind of model. It will get them to a certain point of profitability but then probably stay there, which is not the kind of thing shareholders want to hear. For someone making a living while producing what they like, this is great. Hell, you could even run a nice private business that way and people would love it so long as you juggled properly. When the words "publicly traded" get into the picture wont be hearing the words "eh, we're comfortable with this level of profit. Lets stick with this".

    Of course this is not an excuse; It's simply a reason, but I do think it is why we do not see this kind of model being used in more large scale groups.

  • A cookie? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CSMatt ( 1175471 ) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @01:17PM (#24901709)

    Based on what I've read, cookies are one of the main ways a Web site tracks its users. So then why should I trust these "opt-out" cookies from companies like DoubleClick and NebuAd to not track me, as opposed to just blocking their cookies from ever getting to my machine in the first place?

  • by Teun ( 17872 ) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @02:07PM (#24902235) Homepage
    Why such a negative header?

    For the majority of net users this should be a very positive incident and the title should/could have reflected this, it's by all measure a Setback for Snoopers.

  • by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @03:51PM (#24903463)

    We also have some pretty strong data protection and privacy laws.

    As long as they cooperate with law enforcement monitoring desires

    Law enforcement already have the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and don't need or want Phorm - in fact if you read the linked article, it would most likely be RIPA that would be used against Phorm in this case.

    You forget one thing - the last thing most intelligence gathering agencies want is someone else muscling in on their turf.

  • by harrie_o ( 1350423 ) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @11:41PM (#24907439)
    Time for HTTPS:// everywhere.

    Back on July 9, Obama followed Pelosi's lead and legalized spying on Americans (which Bush had been doing since shortly after 9-11.

    They aren't parking a van outside your house, folks, they are recording EVERYONE's web traffic and keeping it ... forever???? Maybe.

    The Narus suite of deep packet inspection spy gear (covert spying in Iraq ... oh my!) is now legal for telecom (thanks Obama) to use inside the USA so politicians need cover by making sure you think everyone else wants to SPY to know what you are up to, too. Great political cover. We attack the Phorms and NebuAds and ignore the ENABLERs Pelosi & the republi-Crats she leads.

    The game is called SELLING ADs. You know the do-not-call list? We need a do-not-spy list.

    This is called HTTPS:// which makes it VERY CPU INTENSIVE for spy gear to decipher all our ramblings. Know it. Use it. Implement it so your web sites don't get tampered with on their way to the customer's browser.

    Keep the NebuAds and Phorms of the world from recording your business is your own damn business and we need to use the tools and our heads.

    If we wise up, the gov't will force us to give them (GOV'T, CIA, FBI) our encrpytion keys but that is the equivalent of a search warrant and we can keep changing them to keep them on their toes ... at least then we know they are watching us (and likely not ALL of us LIKE THEY ARE DOING RIGHT NOW).

    Don't stay un-encrypted at the web server level or the browser we need to stop the SPYING now.

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.