Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Privacy Advertising Government Your Rights Online

Online Ads, Privacy Remain In FTC Crosshairs 95

AC95 writes "The FTC wants to give users a browser-based tool for opting out of online behavioral tracking, a proposal that has privacy advocates cheering and online advertisers up in arms. A key issue, says FTC attorney Loretta Garrison, is that while most consumers know they're tracked online, they don't fully appreciate how much information is collected. Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, worries about knee-jerk legislation criminalizing mistakes that are an inherent part of applying any new technology."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Online Ads, Privacy Remain In FTC Crosshairs

Comments Filter:
  • Mistakes? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Serenissima ( 1210562 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @07:13PM (#33515094)
    Really Tim O'Reilly? Maybe criminalizing mistakes that affect the identity of citizens MIGHT make you more aware so those mistakes don't happen again.
  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @07:39PM (#33515248)
    Opt-out is better than nothing, but it's a pansy-assed attempt to keep industry "involved". Opt-in is really the only logical solution to privacy issues.
  • Very Muddy Waters (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Swanktastic ( 109747 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @07:44PM (#33515270)

    It's hard to be objective about whether to want to protect my privacy or not given I have zero idea of what Google's profile of me looks like. I imagine everyone has some threshold level where they say "Enough is enough, I'm not willing to sacrifice THAT info for free services." I would guess we all probably fall into two camps- either dramatically underestimating or dramatically overestimating the level of information stored in the profile. Without better specifics in the hands of the populace about the level of personal details, it doesn't seem to me that a fair level of regulation can possibly be drafted by public officials.

  • Re:blast (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @07:45PM (#33515278)
    Wrong! You are confusing just plain advertising with "behavior tracking".

    I have no problem with advertising, Google's or anyone else's. You can still visit websites that advertise. It's the TRACKING that is at issue here.

    It's not either/or. Companies can (and have for hundreds of years now) advertise without user tracking. Besides, poll after poll have shown that most people do not want "targeted" advertising anyway!
  • by lavagolemking ( 1352431 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @07:48PM (#33515300)
    Advertisers didn't like the idea of a do-not-call list to restrict telemarketers from calling/harassing consumers who didn't want to be bothered either, but people are still pretty happy with it. Now advertising companies are collecting (and even selling) a lot of personal data about consumers who don't even know such data exists, and advertisers are upset that the government might give them a way to opt out of their system. How is this any different? Also, I know this isn't how things are done in Washington, but in a democracy shouldn't the government be answering to its concerned citizens instead of just focusing on what makes things easy/profitable/convenient/one-sided for large corporations?
  • by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @08:13PM (#33515468)

    You can stop trackers if you use Firefox. I use Ghostery but you could also use No script and block everything.

    Unfortunately, people want sites to function.
    Standard practice with No Script is:

    10: Notice blocked items
    20: Click No Script icon
    30: Click "Temporarily allow all this page"
    40: If page works, GOTO 60
    50: GOTO 10
    60: Success

  • by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @08:35PM (#33515638)

    If some site wants to track me in some non-trivial way, I stop using the site.

    And when it becomes "industry standard", what then?

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire