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back to article BBC seen to yield over website snooping

The BBC has dropped a controversial tracking system from its UK website after privacy activists complained that it was reporting personal information including their post codes to a US company. Until recently, the BBC was sending copies of cookies dropped on bbc.co.uk visitors to Visual Sciences, a web analytics operation bought …

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Silver badge
Unhappy

I am getting concerned....

....when I click to go to websites that the number of other urls that flash up in quick succession down the botton right of the browser frame, ok some are ad links but some......well I'm not so sure.

Its also slowing browsing having to wait for some of those linking URLs to catch up. Its like you click on one link but have to wait for 15 parasite links to join in too.

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Data Pimping

All the rage these days, I hear all the Publicly funded companies are doing it.

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Stop

@jason

As said on the register a few times: Firefox, no script and cookie buddy is the way to go then.

I let theregister.co.uk give me a cookie and run scripts, but google-analytics.com, googlesyndication.com, quantserv.com and doubleclick.net (all of which are loaded on this page) can all kiss me bum. Actually with noscript they aren't doing that either.

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Flame

The tail wags the dog... again!

What idiotic policy or initiative at the BBC is not justified either by the supposed "needs" of BBC Worldwide or by the commercial demands of the Nathan Barley clone army (all the independent production companies sucking at the teat, thanks to their connections at the Beeb). Can't make programmes freely available: it would "undermine DVD sales". Can't make content available outside Britain: it would "undermine DVD sales amongst foreign people". Can't make programmes available outside a stupidly limited viewing window which pretends that the Internet is just another form of television or radio channel: "No! Think of the rights holders!" (Where the Beeb have, of course, negotiated a cushy licence with Nathan and pals instead of a proper one, so that "the rights holders" would have to be paid over and over for stuff the Beeb have commissioned with their, or rather your, hard cash.)

And in the meantime, everyone has to pony up whatever the licence fee is these days. Still, that's modern Britain for you: the man in the street has to bail out The Man and his chums. Oh, and enjoy the market distortion in various parts of the media where BBC Worldwide not only get to push subsidised products, but they also pull in advertising revenue, and you get to pay again for the product if you're mad enough. It's like a perpetual reverse bail-out of the publishing business.

So, instead of a telling off and a fine (paid by the taxpayer, of course), let's see some heads roll at BBC Worldwide for this little data whoring exercise.

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at least use a british company

If we're going to be spied on, personally I'd prefer it to be done by a british company, rather than being sent willy-nilly to a country with, shall we say, a somewhat totalitarian attitude towards internet data.

At least that way if we ever want to see what's being recorded about us, it's only necessary to hang around a "left luggage" office,, for the CDs to be handed in.

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USA data protection - Huh!

''because Omniture is based in the US it satisfied EU data protection requirements.''

Rubbish - the USA data protection laws are feeble -- I would not be surprised if the CIA/... were quietly snitching a copy as part of ''terrorist prevention''.

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Anonymous Coward

Opera user script

The first thing I did when I saw what they were doing with expernal links was write a user script for Opera that changed the URLs back to direct links to the relevant websites. Between that and wiping all cookies on exit and cCleaner wiping all Flash data on boot-up, I don't think they'll have learnt a lot about me. I like my privacy, that's one reaon why I use Opera.

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Phorming an opinion

I hope BT and the absurd Kent Ertegrul are reading this...

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Anonymous Coward

Postcode in the weather forcast

HAH! I KNEW IT!

That's why I never put in my actual post code but the name of a city not too far away. HA HA, stick that in your pipe and smoke it auntie beeb, some of your data items you are selling are slightly off by a few miles.

Reg needs a tinfoil hat icon.

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Alert

WTF! BBC shafts the publiic once again!

Would this explain why, recently, on some, er..., sites for the post-watershed generation, I have recently seen adverts to "meet girls in <insert your local town name here>" ? Could the BBC's illegal use of my IP address, coupled with my postcode, be alerting these dodgy companies to my physical whereabouts?

Bastards! All of them. The IPC included. What did they think they were doing trying to defend this obscene practice? Bet we won't see this on the 6 o'clock news.

And that ...2O7... IP address just adds to the idea that Omniture are a bunch of dodgy bandits.

I don't know why I'm posting anonymously. The cat seems to be out of the f***ing bag now anyway :'(

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What about the information

What about the information they already hold, is the BBC leaving it with them or is it being deleted?

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Anonymous Coward

Half-postcode

I figured out long ago that just giving the first half of my postcode (eg. AB1) was good enough for the weather forecasts (and takes half as long to type), yet gave away rather less 'personally identifiable' information.

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Anonymous Coward

Time for a Reg article about IP location?

Previous posts seem to think it's all down to the BBC determining where a particular IP address is (probably) located, but this is surely a well-known geolocation mechanism, often using the blocks of IP addresses handed out to ISPs? And on the well-known British cable network, your full address also includes the four-character name of the UBR to which your particular piece of coax and fibre is connected. If it's STAV then that means you are probably located in Gloucester or Cheltenham.

There can occasionally be some major errors in telling where you are by these methods, hence the BBC iPlayer FAQ "Why am I told I'm outside the UK"?

http://iplayerhelp.external.bbc.co.uk/help/about_iplayer/newly_outside_uk

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BBC= Ministry of Disinformation?

I know I'm old fashioned but...........

Why is it OK to have foul language but a sacking offense to say Golliwog??

Spellchecker thinks that should be changed to Polliwog. Is that acceptable?

By the way, I totally agree with Jeremy Clarkson in Australia.

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Linux

PeerGuardian

Easy, use PeerGuardian to block them all

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@WTF! ...

> Could the BBC's illegal use of my IP address, coupled with my postcode, be alerting these dodgy companies to my physical whereabouts

Nah, sites like http://whatismyipaddress.com are quite capable of returning a reasonably accurate, sometimes scarily accurate (and occasionally totally wrong) location from a given IP address.

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mhj

@AC 14:22

No, those ads use your IP that they get, BBC is nothing to do with it. The mechanism they use to do this is not entirely accurate, which can lead to some strange locations that are nowhere near you.

Obviously, I only know this from researching how online advertising works...

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Thumb Down

So that's the REAL reason ...

for the unnecessary "this page needs javascript" which plagues just about every BBC page these days?

Its high time that web sites were obliged by law to serve up all pages using just plain HTML, no scripts and no flash.

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The Best Bits are Censored

BBC = Blaggers' Blagueurs Claque

While you're digesting that, here is a licky Wiki morsel from the Omniture entry: "It is possible to opt-out of the Omniture data-collection system, but this requires acceptance of a persistent web-browser cookie, which, if removed, will require the user to repeat the opt-out procedure." Well what do we know? The same so-called opt-out method that Phorm is built on.

As seriously, it has been suggested that the real reason for the BBC's failure to perceive a humanitarian disaster in Gaza was connected with US investors in BBC Worldwide - investors who called the shots in more ways than one.

In view of that, the possibility to be considered is not how the BBC operates BBC Worldwide, but whether BBC Worldwide in fact controls the BBC. And if so what has ze nu labor to say about it?

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Anonymous Coward

the solution is ..

> Its also slowing browsing having to wait for some of those linking URLs to catch up, Jason

The solution is: install Privoxy, use a customize hosts file and use Firefox with noscript, or use TOR until the security services assimilate it ..

http://www.privoxy.org/

http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm

www.mozilla.com/firefox/

noscript.net/

www.torproject.org/

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n
Black Helicopters

bbc = uk gov = torturers = cia

I smelt a big rat when they wanted postcodes for their useless weather forecasts.

Is the weather different over my street as opposed to the street next to it?

So, to the guy in the next town who now has 3 vans with blacked out windows parked outside his house every day i say...

...Sorry fella !!

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the solution is ..

block them in your router

here are my top of the nosey gits

DOUBLECLICK-NET 70698

GOOGLE 59549

BBC 10130

MCI Communications 8315

Akamai Technologies 7692

MCI ISG/IP Network Security 4906

GOOGLE-2 3506

UUNET 2113

Verlag Heinz Heise GmbH amp CoKG Hannover 1892

Amazoncom Inc 1850

Yahoo-EU-NET 1823

yes it depends on your browsing habits, just an illustration

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Unhappy

Hide IP

With the increasing totalitarian state that you have in the UK I use a IP hide system. These Gestapo raised, KGB supporters are now in all your walks of life. They monitor your phones, your cars, your emails, where you are walking, and I bet the toilets that are like a large coke can have a camera in them to make sure you are doing a poo not having a hand shandy.

In the UK now the state can and is able to identify who you are what you are doing etc virtually all the time. It is now time everybody wore a beard, long hair, a reflective jacket over blue jeans with a heavy brown shoe on. They could then arrest everybody, put the politicians etc inside a prison and declare it freedom and lock everybody else out in the new (outside) prison. Really I am getting more and more pissed off. Interestingly, the big companies ripping the small people off, BT Vodaphone hotel groups, car tax agencies and so on do not get knicked, just joe soap for minor infractions to enable another swingeing chance to tax.

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Anonymous Coward

Omniture and the Guardian tech blog ..

The guardian tech blog seems to also use Omniture but don't want to talk about it ..

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/askjack/2009/jan/08/phorm-privacy

https://nodpi.org/forum/index.php?action=printpage;topic=681.0

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Gates Horns

Breach of Data Protection Act

Im pretty sure that this must be a breach of the DPA 1998 and wonder in the impotent ICO will actually do anything.

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Alien

The bbc is not special...

..anyone noticed this site iteself calls out to Google's DoubleClick....

If every site delivered everything in plain HTML and weren't able to collect data about how users are using the site (the point of Omniture) how poor would all our collective web experiences be.

Stop the paranoia and the bunker mentality, your oyster card says more about you then a visit to the BBC's homepage. Get some perspective folks!

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Black Helicopters

They always seem to get it wrong

Today I saw 'Beefy from New York would love to get naughty' next to a pic of a fit burd but I live nowhere near, not even the right country or side of the Atlantic. Is this cos of Firefox?

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Anonymous Coward

Another solution is......

..... read BBC news stories and watch videos that don't interest you, just to soil the data.

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Happy

yeh

open multiple tabs most of which you ain't interested in

ps - naughty, very naughty Beeb

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So do we need to do anything

Do we need to do anything to protect ourselves from this organisation that we pay for??

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Flame

BBC

They're really, really getting on my nerves at the moment and this certainly doesn't help.

I'm as cross as a one-eyed scottish golliwog.

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Black Helicopters

I am not really here

*nix*

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Digital Britain?

I've read the digital Britain report end to end and it looks to me like a chance for these sort of data collection points to be introduced via the big shake up they want.

Personally when they turn off the analogue I'll be disconnecting my aerial and watching more online content. I don't like being forced to endure the extra hassle/expense of digital tv, and from what I've seen at friends/family homes every time a petrol car goes past on a damp/wet day the images freeze - so what happened to the 'less interference' label from the hype?

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Thumb Up

Signal strength

Digital stuff does need a good signal strength otherwise freezes, blips and pops abound.

Better connectors with higher spec cabling along with better aerials all help

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If . . .

. . . the data is in any way "processed" outside the UK, then they would need the users permission.

The company in question would only be acceptable to be used if they had signed up to the US Safe Harbor programme (laughably easy, it's self-certification).

Otherwise Jack-boot Jacqui should have a word.

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Black Helicopters

Geo IP UK

So basically they have stopped giving info of UK visitors to the USA 3rd party, but still give everyone elses'

Back to Satellite TV and SW Radio for me. Then no-one knows where you are.

I wondered why they wanted my home town.

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Anonymous Coward

DPA

Doesn't this violate our own British Data Protection Act?

This is absolutely disgusting of the BBC to do this without our knowledge or consent.

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Anonymous Coward

I wonder why

they use akamai .net

(note the space before the dot), is it to confuse filters?

If you block the akami range 81.152.160.0/24 the page does not display.

Who are akamai.net?

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ffs

@ "Its high time that web sites were obliged by law to serve up all pages using just plain HTML, no scripts and no flash."

great idea. also lets sack all us web designers and just go back to the days of geeks designing (not designers)

ffs you all want to go back to the dark ages? no JS? so all websites will be crap now then? go back to the days where all websites look like they were designed by a 5-year old?

stop all streaming movies too as they come from flash video now.

plenty of us dont abuse JS/flash when designing. you are basically asking us all to stop using ajax and go back to clicking submit to do anything on a page.

their should be a law that stops ANY data baing sent to ANYONE witout an implicit ok from the user. ANY sites found to be flaunting this should have their domain names taken from them and have a serious fine.

the fact that a few idiots are doing things they shouldnt isnt a good enough reason to kill the internet.

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