An independent EU advisory body is worried about what it describes as an "illusory" method employed by online behavioural advertising (OBA) when seeking consent to track individual users on the interwebs. The Article 29 Data Protection Working Party outlined its concerns in a letter to the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the …
EU outlaws winters to reduce CO_2 emissions. Apparently winters go on regardless.
Wake me up when this becomes relevant to the real world.
A speciously false comparison there.
Winter is an unstoppable force of nature. Cookies are not, they are the result of deliberate decisions by humans to set up their computer systems to operate in certain ways.
whatever happened with the "cookie exchange" idea...?
This was some years back, I know... but, when the whole issue of third-party cookies and tracking first emerged into the 'Net mass-consciousness, some folks proposed the idea of "cookie exchange" sites where users could upload their third-party cookies and exchange them for cookies from other users in far-flung places, in order to "pollute" ad servers' databases and decrease their value to marketdroids.
I suppose that now -- what with browsers like Firefox able to use add-ons like TrackMeNot along with in-built cookie controls -- this idea might not be so current, but, still... might users exchanging cookies among each other be one effective strategy against ad servers' tracking and other nasty behavior?
And if we work hard enough...
...we can render ALL advertising on the internet worthless! No more will we be harassed by... uhh... sites like this one... and other ones... maybe a few other ones... well... *looks around* DOWN WITH PAYWALLS! FIGHT EVIL CORPORATIONS WHO WANT YOU TO PAY FOR PIXELS!
Tracking != Advertising
The latter can succeed perfectly well without the former, despite what some incredibly greedy and short-sighted advertising companies would have you believe.
Paywalls are not the same as advertising
Let's not confuse paywalls, which take money from you, the reader, to provide content, with advertising, which takes money from advertisers*, to provide you with content free of charge.
Both may be considered evil in this era of freetards, but in reality content takes time and effort to create, and if we want people to continue to invest in its creation we shouldn't deny them sustenace.
* "from advertisers" - which ultimately means from you, dear readers, assuming you buy some of what they are advertising. Which is why they're keen to target the adverts to your interests. Is this evil? or just trying to make things work efficiently?
And no, I have no connection with anyone relevant.
@AC 28th August 21:38
"Which is why they're keen to target the adverts to your interests. Is this evil?"
The advertising industry has a lot to answer for. Now if advertising were merely about letting me know which products exist and where to buy them for how much, I would have no problems whatsoever with this.
But that's not what advertising companies are about. What they are about is psychological manipulation, about using psychology and mental science to bypass your conscious decision-making mechanisms and make you "want" to buy the product. It's about getting inside your head so they can exploit your weaknesses to generate more sales. And if you think you're smarter than these people who spend their lives working out ways of manipulating you, you're deluding yourself. We all like to think we're immune to such manipulation, but I can tell you, from having dealt with such people professionally, that we're not.
This, I have a very big fucking problem with. I do not want some trained psychological manipulators building intimate profiles of my interests, habits and personality traits in order to manipulate me into buying something I might not otherwise normally want to buy. To me, that IS evil. When the advertising industry and the legislators who should be regulating them recognise this and do something about it, I might change my mind about being tracked online. But as long as these bastards are bent on manipulating me - AND attacking me and spitting in my face by trying to bypass my cookie settings with respawning cookies and whatnot - I will fight back with everything I have. And that starts with AdBlock, NoScript and CookieMonster and goes on to include supporting stricter controls and legislation on how they can and cannot use my private information.
Re: @AC 28th August 21:38
"But that's not what advertising companies are about. What they are about is psychological manipulation, ... This, I have a very big fucking problem with."
Advertising, online, and anywhere else, has always been more than just product awareness.
The point I (as the AC you replied to) was making was that advertising funds the free information on the Internet, and if we want it to remain free, we need to accept the advertising, albeit with sensible privacy protections.
If we don't want advertising, we'll need to pay for the content some other way.
Looking at the privacy issue a bit closer, it's clear some advertisers are indeed overstepping the mark a bit as they determine where the acceptability line should be drawn. And they've made some silly (and stupid) decisions.
One useful approach might be to allow lots of correlation of interests, for targetting, but to draw the line at personal identification. (So they know lots about someone, just not who it is) Given how you clearly need to identify yourself when purchasing something, that implies the safest way would be if the advertising was managed by a third party, who never gets involved with the purchases.
Ironically, given recent political sentiment, this suggests third-party cookies may be better than standard site cookies, at least from a privacy perspective.
Symptoms and Causes
Symptoms: proliferations of tracking cookies.
Cause: creation of communications surveillance databases by the marketing industry.
The solution is not ill conceived rules about cookies.
The solution needs to address the cause... preventing the marketing industry creating covert, involuntary, and sinister databases of personal communications data.
Until they do that, rules about cookies are as irrlevant as rules about the shape of bananas.
And that's why we need IP address classified as personally identifiable information.
... because then they'll be able to arrest you and seize your PC when your dynamic IP is reassigned to someone else.
Especially if/when IPv6 becomes prevalent (and, hence, the use of IPv4 dynamic address pools wane).
I smell Phorn's "Everyone whose not opted out is opted in" routine.
No doubt there are many who would be happy to have their behaviour tracked online if there was some sort of reward for them to do it.
But that proposal gives *nothing* for your co-operation. In fact it doesn't really *ask* for your co-operation
you get the content of the internet in return for the cookies since advertising is the revenue model to cover running costs of plenty of websites.
I use ABP so call me a hypocrite.
A poor argument. You can advertise without cookies. What you can't do is target those ads based on knowledge of the recipient's browsing history. Worse (for you), *no* advertiser could target their ads in this way until (in historical terms) very recently, so you are never going to persuade me that ads need cookies.
Does that spoil your business model? Sorry about that. Perhaps you should get a new business model that doesn't offend society's long established ideas about privacy. (And when I say "long-established", I'm remembering that those idiots who framed the US constitution reckoned it was important enough to retrofit "privacy" as their very first bug-fix.)
There is no right to privacy...
in the US constitution. I would think the term "first bug-fix" would refer to the first amendment but that amendment gives the right to what is practically the opposite of a right to privacy (unless you argue privacy of beliefs which isn't relevant here). The third amendment is somewhat related to privacy and the ninth amendment say not all rights are listed in the Constitution but there is no right to privacy.
Not saying this opt-in nonsense should be ok though.
Re: There is no right to privacy
The first ten amendments were issued together and I've never seen it suggested that anything should be read into the order. I was thinking of the fourth item on the list, which clearly prohibits fishing expeditions. (Behavioural advertising is a perfect example of a fishing expedition because the information collected is useless at the time it is collected and only becomes useful when it is compared with other data that was previously believed to be unrelated.)
I'll grant that in this example it is only the state that is constrained, but that's an implementation artefect. It is presumed that most misdemeanours can be constrained by ordinary laws, possibly after the first offence that persuades people that it shouldn't be allowed, but mis-demeanours by agents of the law itself have to be pro-actively obstructed. Good minimalist design therefore results in a "constitution" that says very little about ordinary people.
Qui tacet consentiret
Didn't work for Sir Thomas More either, Sad that regulation's so "soft touch" these days.
I really detest the way transparency is constantly pimped as the new panacea for all ills these days - the masters of soft touch, Ofcom, are especially fond of substituting it for useful action, and the IAB seem keen on brandishing it like a garlic rosary and crucifix rolled into one. I'd personally prefer that the law prevented these bastards involuntarily rogering me at all, rather than settling for letting me see how they're going to do it. It just doesn't work, particularly if you have no way of sanctioning them other than to go out of your way and say "no". And they'll honour that?? Yeah sure...
@ Qui tacet consentiret
... whatever that means.
I agree. "Transparency" is regarded as the answer to everything. Behind it is the assumption that once the public can see something bad they will outraged and then (by some unexplained mechanism) it will therefore stop.
Trouble is, it does not stop, there is no such mechanism, and the public (Joe Sixpack at least) are not outraged (or only momentarily) because they are tied up in their own issues.
Like people illegally parking in my high street and holding up all the traffic - it could hardly be more "transparent" yet it still goes on.
But you forgot to mention the other great "weapon" in the armoury of any authority - "monitoring". If something bad does develop (handouts to bankers, obstructive parking, vandals setting fire to forests) the usual response of the police, government, ombudsmen is to say that they "are monitoring" the situation.
"Transparency", "Monitoring" - both have the virtue from the authority's point of view of requiring no effort or money, yet apparently leaving Joe Sixpack and likeminded people satisfied that "something is being done".
Researched it for you
Silence is the weakest form of consensus
Qui tacet consentire videtur, ubi loqui debuit ac potuit
"Thus, silence gives consent; he ought to have spoken when he was able to"
English is such an imprecise language
No wonder French was the language of diplomacy.
"good practice aimed at enhancing transparency and consumer control".
"good practice aimed at enhancing transparency and control of the consumer ".
"good practice aimed at enhancing transparency and control by the consumer " ?
Re: English is such an imprecise language
You don't want French. You want brackets and/or operator precedence. There must be at least a dozen ways of parsing that quote.
Not the most precise interpretation of what industry is doing
So the article is correct, that the IAB program applies to a very small portion of online ad activities, but it does a poor job of explaining what those are. The icon program applies only to Online Behavioral Advertising, which is the technique of collecting data across unrelated sites over time to build advertising profiles. It does not cover, or indeed offer either notice or choice for any other use of data other than a very tightly defined OBA. Things like ad reporting, even where they invoke true identity of who saw the ad, are not covered.
Additionally it should be noted that the criticism of "3rd parties" is a bit misleading. We may need a new term for players like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Yahoo!, Twitter and others with whom we share very personal information in a first party context, but who now also increasingly see us in 3rd party contexts where we don't necessarily expect to be recognized.