Privacy tools that offer a means to prevent advertisers from tracking the activity of surfers online are largely ineffective, according to a study by computer scientists. Boffins at Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab ran a series of lab tests involving 45 participants that revealed all nine privacy tools had usability and …
Way to miss the point
Sophos equates hidden tracking activities with loyalty cards?
How do you stop web tracking? No-one really knows - you probably can't eradicate it 100% without making the web useless.
How do you stop loyalty card tracking - don't use the card - 100% effective and simple.
I think the reg should be looking for a new regular expert commenter on security issues - sophos clearly isn't taking it seriously any more.
Extremely bad example
Chester Wisniewski is entirely incorrect in his comparison.
First, a loyalty card is 'opt in'. It is not forced on you, just to enter the store.
Second, it is 'opt out' every time you make a purchase as you can opt not to use it, on a per visit basis.
As well, a loyalty card does not track where someone goes after they have used it when making a purchase.
People want the choice to decide for themselves.
Further to your extremely bad example...
A Tesco loyalty card will only really track what I purchased whilst inside the Tesco store. If we were to use the analogy with online tracking... Tesco's loyalty card would be able to report back the shops I visited after leaving Tesco, what time I went home, as well as all my leisure activities such as when I went out again for a walk in the park or to read a newspaper in the local coffee shop.
Also occassionally when I walked back into a Tescos store all the signs and price labels would convert to Swedish as it detected the last visit I made, I made enroute through a doorway located in Sweden.
I use a Tesco loyalty card registered to my mum. My mum gets the points, Tesco get some bum data: seems fair.
That doesn't work with online stalking.