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back to article Privacy advos demand 'do not track list' for websites

A coalition of US privacy organisations has demanded the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) set up a "do not track" list to allow consumers to surf the web without having their behaviour monitored, warehoused, and mined by marketeers. The groups' call for more internet privacy was part of the knuckle cracking by Washington's net …

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Anonymous Coward

Self Regulation

The IAB is right about this being the way to protect consumer privacy. All we have to do is get consumers to start regulating the amount of information they give out about themselves.

The problem with a "do not track list" is that I would need to be identified by every website I visit so that it knows if I'm on the "do not track list" or not and hence whether to feed me ads. Personally I prefer to just give them no information and block all ads.

If I talk to a company over the phone I just try to give them as much bullshit information as possible to see just what they'll type into the computer. The last guy that told me he needed to ensure their records were accurate because of the Data Protection Act (i.e. fill up all the empty fields in their marketing database) ended up putting me down as a 30 year old company director whose occupation for the last 45 years has been NASA astronaut.

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Stop

Wanting to have your cake and eat it.

If you don't like the way a site tracks your usage of the service they are providing to you, don't use that site.

I think these people need to grow up and realise that if they want free access to sites, it's going to be supported by ads. That means site owners are going to try and make as much money from ads as possible. If that is by recording how you use the site in order to provide targeted ads and make more money, that's what they're going to do. Whinging about it isn't going to change the fact that the site wouldn't be able to offer you that free service without the ads.

Yes I know this is a very simplistic view, but I think it's true.

And I'm not going to get my coat because I didn't take it off when I came in.

PS: Isn't "wanting to have your cake and eat it too" a really stupid phrase? Why would you want to have cake and NOT eat it?

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help from IAPs

This is an area where internet access providers can distinguish themselves. It's not terribly difficult to block or deliberately corrupt some forms of web tracking traffic. There are already a fair set of tools available for end-users to install, but they aren't easy to use effectively. Earthlink, AOL and other providers currently offer arguably advanced spam blocking services- it's natural for consumers to expect them to develop anti-tracking systems in the interest of gaining a competitive edge.

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Pirate

History shows otherwise

any market bound by "self-regulation" fails to effectively deter abuse. it's like having a junkie monitor and regulate his intake of narcotics, because surely he will do the right thing, won't he?...

for a good example, consider the amount of marketing mail most people in the US receive in their email and postal service mailboxes. that marketing self-regulation works about as well as one would expect, that is to say, abysmally.

yes, let's have more self-regulation on the internet, like the IAB suggests. what could go wrong?

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Stop

"Don't track my internet usage!"

Erm... they DO realise that to opt out of being tracked, they're going to need to be tracked so that they can be snipped out of logs and suchlike? Someone REALLY didn't think things through...

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Flame

Shouldn't that read...

"the interaction among consumers the publishers of pornography fuels the engine that drives the net".

since installing the 'no script' plug in and running 'little snitch' its quite disturbing to see just how much information google are collecting, I for one am more than happy that I can block their "snooping for cash"!

if there was a no-collect list I'd want to be on it! (I'm also on the TPS)

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Alert

Eating Cake

In response to: 'PS: Isn't "wanting to have your cake and eat it too" a really stupid phrase? Why would you want to have cake and NOT eat it?'

The correct phrase is 'Eat you cake and have it too.' You can't eat cake you don't have. If you've eaten your cake, you no longer 'have it'... Duh! And yes, everyone says it bas-ackwards.

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Stop

You get what you pay for

/rant mode on

The reasoning that you should have the right to use other people's websites for free and not be subject to their only means of income is alarming.

The only privacy issue on the internet is not which shopping site has placed a couple easy to remove cookies in your cache, but why we allow governments the right to vacuum our email, IM chat and other forms of personal communication.

The assumption that the "terrorists will get us" if they don't is basically an accusation that everyone is a terrorist. The reason we have procedures such as warrants for other forms of communication is that democratic governments are supposed to serve the people, not spy on them in a cowardly, paranoid manner.

No western country faces existential demise if a few terrorists kill some of us. However we seem to be under the impression that unless we allow them to take away our privacy and a few other fundamental human rights, that's exactly what will happen.

Sorry, but we've been through world wars and a decidedly unstable cold war - all of which had a very realistic potential of causing the existential demise of dozens of western democracies - but you didn't see the general population running around saying "please take away my rights or we'll all die". They had a few more important things to worry about than whether Hitler managed to get through customs using fake ID, or whether Fred from Slough was reading Karl Marx greatest hits in his local library.

So instead of fighting the good fight to stop a couple websites from making the odd buck at the expense of a few extra messages in your inbox, why not spend your energy on something that matters?

When communications finally make the jump from traditional telephone networks and postal services to the internet, we'll have given the government a free hand to monitor whatever and whomever they want. There is a very sinister element to that monitoring, and it has nothing to do with terrorism. It's time to take back that privacy and tell the next prospective government, if they want your vote they'll have to bin these cowardly laws.

It's about time some people grew some bloody backbones and were willing to face the minuscule risk of death by terrorist, in order to preserve rights that literally millions of decent people worldwide died to protect, on our behalf.

/rant mode off

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Happy

@Andy Bright, Anon

Andy: Full agreement here - nicely put.

Anon (RE: Cake): Thanks for that, I genuinely did not know that the phrase as commonly used is backwards!

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