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Adobe Is Helping Some 60 Companies Track People Across Devices (neowin.net) 66

Neowin reports of Adobe's recent announcement of its new Marketing Cloud Device Co-op initiative: The announcement of the new solution for tracking customers across devices was made at the Adobe Summit this week in Las Vegas to a digital marketing conference. According to an Adobe blog post released earlier this month citing Forrester, consumers are increasingly accessing multiple devices before making a purchase decision -- an average of 5.5 connected devices per person. This behavior creates a challenge for retailers, who cannot easily target people in their marketing campaigns, ultimately depending on Facebook or Google to track people instead of devices. Both Facebook and Google are able to do this job because of the massive amount of users logged into their ecosystems regularly, so most retailers have been opting to use those platforms as a way to reach potential customers. But Adobe's approach is to provide a platform agnostic solution acting as a glue between the world's biggest brands' own data management platforms.

In order for Device Co-op to work, each company that has joined the initiative will provide Adobe with "cryptographically hashed login IDs" and HTTP header data, which Adobe claims will completely hide the customer's identity. This data will be used to create groups of devices used by the same person or household, which will then be made available to all the members of the initiative so they can target people on different devices, instead of creating one customer profile per device, as can be seen from the example given in the image above. Until now, some 60 companies have joined the Adobe initiative, including brands such as Subway, Sprint, NFL, Lenovo, Intel, Barnes & Noble, and Subaru. Also, preliminary measurements made by Adobe indicate that Device Co-op could link up to 1.2 billion devices worldwide, based on the amount of accesses seen by current members. But it is important to note that the initiative is currently collecting data of U.S. and Canada users only.
Adobe is claiming the initiative will not disclose a user's identity to its members, including any personal data, but, given the recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, many will be skeptical of those claims. Thankfully, Adobe is allowing users to completely opt out all of their devices from the services via this website.
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Adobe Is Helping Some 60 Companies Track People Across Devices

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Maybe these companies should start actually providing a service or product that people will want to buy instead of wasting money on this crap. It's a shame that companies make more money on what they can sell about you than what they sell you.

    We DON'T WANT TO BE TARGETED!!!!!!

  • Marketing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Friday March 30, 2018 @09:07PM (#56356687) Homepage Journal
    When are people going to realize that online marketing and advertising is a joke? The "targeted" ads I see are for things I have already bought.
    • Hyper targeted ads suck. I search for some tool and now all I see is those ads? It was a cursory search.

      I've bought many more things from ads that target a demographic where I visit online. Camping ads on a camping forum. Tech ads on Slashdot, etc.

    • I wish they had a way to figure out that I had already bought something and stop spamming me with ads. I've been hounded by ads for months after buying something.

  • Opt out? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theweatherelectric ( 2007596 ) on Friday March 30, 2018 @09:13PM (#56356713)

    Thankfully, Adobe is allowing users to completely opt out all of their devices from the services

    Why not opt in? If the service is valuable to me I'd want to opt in, wouldn't I?

    • Re:Opt out? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Friday March 30, 2018 @09:30PM (#56356779)

      Thankfully, Adobe is allowing users to completely opt out all of their devices from the services

      Why not opt in? If the service is valuable to me I'd want to opt in, wouldn't I?

      Oh come on, you know the answer. The service is extremely valuable, just not to you.

      But again, don't fool yourself. It's not smoke and mirrors to the average consumer, who will think this is fabulous. It's just that you are not the average consumer.

      Inside, most Facebook users *know* nothing is for free and Facebook is making money on them and their "demographic". They just don't really care.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Facebook users think its benign right until it's not.

        For my wife, the day a violent ex of her friend turned up at her door to threaten her (warning her not to let his ex GF stay) was the day she realized that FB is giving friends of friends access to her posts.

        One of Facebooks 'sharing, connecting' tweeks done with a dodgy privacy policy change. She was unaware of, until she wised up, then she ditch FB.

        After that, she deleted it all and simply moved to a non-FB messaging platform. Since FB isn't the only so

    • You can only opt out of having your devices linked as belonging to the same target.

      From Adobe's "About the Device Co-op" page:

      Disconnecting devices from one another doesn’t opt out of all behavioral data collection on that device — we make best efforts to opt out of collection where possible. Disconnecting a device guarantees it won’t be linked with any other devices, while individually it may still be tracking behavioral data. To opt out of behavioral data collection, visit the privacy policies of sites you visit and apps you use.

      • Was looking at this. The page to Opt Out must identify you first with my adblocker / tracker blocker saying don't go here. This is from a company Adobe bought - the idea is to use things like IP addresses etc. to start linking (machines, phones ?) to a user. It's quite underhanded and nasty and perfect for Adobe to fall into.

        Seeing Intel and Lenovo (ThinkPad and Moto smartphone owner) in the list. Presumably they'd be coordinating by giving CPU id for Intel and whatever Lenovo can be paid for. This
  • Use a device to search for the reviews.
    Use a different device to search for the best price.
    Buy on a very different device.

    Use a few different computers to spread out shopping. Make ads and tracking difficult.
    • As long as you don't read email (esp. gmail) on the device you shop with, and use that same email addy to get order confirmation on the device you buy with?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    By not developing proper alternatives to Adobe products. Many enterprises and video sites are still using flash and the gimp still can’t even draw a circle properly. By supporting Adobe’s monopoly you brought it on yourselves.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      By not developing proper alternatives to Adobe products. Many enterprises and video sites are still using flash and the gimp still can’t even draw a circle properly. By supporting Adobe’s monopoly you brought it on yourselves.

      an excellent point..

  • That is the only way to stop them.

    If enough people don't boycott, it just means they dont care.

  • Let them track my bot...see how great and awesome I am :P
  • Learned my lesson years ago, so unless they do a drive by download I'm good.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Installing software is so old school. A few years ago you had to deal with tracking scripts on websites. Now you have to deal with the primary sites selling/buying the site's profile of you to data collectors like Adobe. Avoiding Adobe doesn't nothing to stop this. The only way to avoid this type of stalking is to never visit those sites, but not a single one advertises to who they sell your data to and you can't check to see if they sell your data without first visiting the site. So fuck you says the

  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Friday March 30, 2018 @10:35PM (#56357001)

    In addition to the stupidity of all those people out there who don't know and don't care about the danger this initiative represents, there is a fair measure of stupidity in big corporations signing up for Adobe to be their sole source for all that data.

    Just for a moment, let's adopt the worldview of power-hungry despotic corporations and the marketards that serve them. In the first place, how much less valuable is the anonymized data than the data that is traceable to specific, named people? I'd say it's a LOT less valuable, probably from the standpoint of fleecing their marks, and almost certainly from the standpoint of power over their customers.

    In the second place, putting all your eggs in one basket is one thing, but putting them all in somebody else's basket is quite another. Do they really want to hand over data collection to a company that can just turn off the tap at will? Is it a good idea to have a monoculture of privacy-invading tech that potentially provides a single point of failure vulnerable to browser extensions, specialized third-party services, and plain old hackers?

  • and all the other ad networks do? Congrats adobe, you're building tech from the 90s. Somehow that's fitting...
  • by sandbagger ( 654585 ) on Friday March 30, 2018 @11:15PM (#56357149)

    https://helpx.adobe.com/analyt... [adobe.com]

    Add those to your host files.

  • The problem... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thePsychologist ( 1062886 ) on Saturday March 31, 2018 @12:04AM (#56357243) Journal

    The problem with anonymized data is that it's not really anonymous.

    All you need are multiple datasets to figure out who is who. For example, Google buys another dataset from Adobe. Even though no names are in it, they can use patterns in it checked against their own non-anonymous data to figure out who you are.

    Anonymized data is just a nice term used to fool the masses.

    • Exactly. This is also why whether or not you give anyone a clear indication of which devices are yours, they can still connect them up. Ditto with different profiles or email addresses that you browse with and past ones that you no longer have. If the data sample is big enough, your patterns are as good as fingerprints - even better because they tell far more about you.
    • by nwf ( 25607 )

      I think it's worse than that. If the participating companies know who you are, they can then get related "anonymized" data from Adobe, but they still know who you are since you are logged in. Adobe may not know who you are, but everyone else will eventually. Sure the IDs are hashed, but they participating companies are the ones doing the hashing. They can just hash your login later to see what else it matches.

  • Help... create an ecosystem we can trust. plz
  • and they want to sell it... :(
  • with that new network of satellites hes putting up there... give us something extraordinary plz.
  • Violates GDPR (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Uldis Segliņš ( 4468089 ) on Saturday March 31, 2018 @01:03AM (#56357415)
    This violates GDPR. Any information is personal as soon as you can associate it with any other information about me, which distinguishes it as mine. So as soon as they know - this is the same user as that, they have my private information, regardless of name, birthdate presence. And more, as soon as I click on one such ads and buy some horse raddish, they combine some very personal identity info. When I buy something, I do not want them know of all my devices. I can only accept opt in, without bedsheets of smalfonted jura lingo. So, Adobe, you gonna get some lawsuits coming. Up to 5% of annual turnaround fines. Can't wait.
  • The more advertisers try to target me the more vehement I get about ignoring ads. I don't read them, I don't watch them, I generally ignore them. Unless they are some kind of ad that is either difficult or impossible to ignore, then I get good and mad and make a point to remember the ad. Well, actually, I remember precisely two details: who the ad was for, and how incredibly angry their attempts to influence me made me, and to make sure never to buy their products, patronize their services, etc. (I am k
  • I've been using Adobe products since 1995. As their products got more and more bloated I grew disenchanted. Then they switched to a subscription model because people wouldn't upgrade their software often enough for Adobe's liking, and I got pissed. Moved to using Affinity products and haven't looked back. Now Adobe wants to be a marketing company as well? It's like you're trying to make me hate you more. It's too bad... Adobe used to be cool software tools, now they're just tools.

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