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back to article Admen's suggested tweaks to Do Not Track filed straight into the bin

Web standards chiefs have snubbed an ad industry attempt to water down efforts to prevent people from being tracked across the internet. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is drawing up a specification that will set out how web browsers can instruct online advertising networks and other websites not to stalk people as they move …

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Anonymous Coward

Listening to the admen? that's like consulting criminals when drafting new laws.

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> that's like consulting criminals when drafting new laws.

Are you saying MP's aren't criminals?

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re: 'that's like consulting criminals...'

Well, that is pretty much the way we do it here. As I recall, the "Monsanto Protection Bill", as we call it here, was done that way.

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*cough*lawyers*cough*

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"Listening to the admen? that's like consulting criminals when drafting new laws."

Uh ... you just described just about every politician.

Listening to admen is like consulting the fox regarding the hen house.

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"Listening to the admen? that's like consulting criminals when drafting new laws."

They do - why do you think lobbyists are so common?

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I love W3C

I know its passé to get your websites 100% W3C complaint, but really these guys are good news to anyone who fires up a browser.

A solid set of standards that means you can actually be sure that what you are looking at is what your users/customers will be looking at.

A good feel that your complaint site will run on any browser

And on top of it, they really don't give a flying f**k who you are and who you work for, they stick to their stated aims with almost religious Fervency .

Take your ideas about hard coding some advertising bull shit into a browser and **** off admen,

Anyway,. are you that totally stupid to believe that if you had managed to get some of your stupid ideas into W3C's standards that the community would not have created a free browser which did not have this shit?

maybe you idiots should understand more about the industry you have chosen to cream some cash from.

A web browser displays HTML. HTML is not owned by anyone and its a language designed to display what the author requires.

Any browser that goes beyond that in the ways you want will be ditched in seconds.

After all, if Google, owning Chrome, don't do it, did you not ask yourselves why?

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FAIL

Re: I love W3C

Chrome has the DNT feature.

Settings... > Advanced > Tick "Send a ‘Do Not Track’ request with your browsing traffic"

Granted it could be easier to find but its there.

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Re: I love W3C

I think you are the idiot that needs to learn more. Yes a browser displays HTML, but it displays what ever HTML it is given in response to its request. The whole point of a DNT header is that you are asking someone else (nicely) to be given only what you have been asked for, and if they wouldn't mind, would they please not tell anyone else who you are and what you asked for. Oh, and even though you are accessing their information from their servers which they pay for with advertising instead of charging you directly, would they mind terribly not sending you any of that advertising that pays for their site.

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Re: I love W3C

Well we all saw what happens when you make it obvious as MS did in IE10, by asking up front on first use what you'd like it set to.

The ad men responded with; "We'll ignore DNT information from IE10.".

Now it seems that they've decided that merely forcing browser makers to bury it in the config where it can't be found by grunt users and having it defaulted to an ad-friendly "off" isn't good enough and they want it watered down even further.

There is a certain amount of irony in the fact that the group trying to scotch it apparently have MS as a member. The same MS pushing it hardest, even to the extent of running an ad campaign[1] based on its provision. I guess those "Chinese walls" are really doing their stuff, to the extent that the left hand knoweth not what the right hand doeth.

[1] More irony.

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Re: I love W3C

"The ad men responded with; "We'll ignore DNT information from IE10.".

Actually the person who said that was a lean engineer at the Apache Foundation who unilaterally put in an unapproved patch to do that right before a major release and was roundly slapped by his fellow team members. IIRC, the revert comment said something like 'don't stick your politics into the code'. The commit actually worked below the web application level interfering with the actual HTTP header information.

The ad agencies actually were fine with having it buried in the browser settings. They know there's a coming storm with privacy and the original DNT would have let them say that people were voluntarily accepting the tracking whilst knowing that hardly anyone would trek through three layers of menus to turn it off. When MS were going to enable it by default, they actually changed the spec to disallow it, but MS found a way around that by including it in the default choices on browser setup.

So I see why it seems odd that MS are on this panel. But we really don't know what their position was in the meetings. Maybe they just feel they can have more influence from inside than from out.

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Re: I love W3C

DNT doesn't say "do not advertise to me", it says "do not track me".

I've got no problem being exposed to advertising, the only thing I care about is not advertising specifically to me, based upon what I do on other parts of the internet.

TV ads don't change what ads are shown to me because I'm watching, my magazine doesn't have ads tailored to me specifically, when I go to the movies they aren't showing different trailers to each viewer, and yet TV, print and movie advertising is hugely successful.

Targeted advertisements using tracking are naff anyway - the purpose is to make you buy something that you've already looked at. Spend a few minutes browsing the "Optical express" website, and all your google contextual ads will be about laser eye surgery.

Once you've expressed an interest, they cover your eyeballs with this ad until you give in and buy it. Actually, that's not true - there's no confirmation you buy it, so you continue to get the ads.

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Re: I love W3C

Right, that's what I used to think. Until they started their HTML5 DRM nonsense.

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Re: I love W3C

Maybe MS were just trying to force things.

You know the lower life forms pushing fake pills and such will ignore it anyway. Most of the rest will do their best to weasel out of it (see their definition of DNT). They will say they didn't track you... they followed you, totally different (in the same way that an "email blast" is totally different then sending a load of spam).

You just have to see who is the first to say "hell no, we are going to do it anyway".

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What good is a header, really?

Naturally, the ad-tracking networks will be only too happy to obey a header they wish didn't exist...

"Oh, I'm sorry, we haven't updated from Apache 2.0.64, and it doesn't understand those new headers."

I don't get how this is really supposed to help; maybe we should refer to it as the "I'm really mildly upset you're tracking me" header?

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Re: What good is a header, really?

Agreed. I have for some time assumed it is pointless, ignored the setting in firefox and relied on ABP, NoScipt and the firefox setting to not allow third party cookies. It's not perfect but it's good enough for the amount of effort I'm prepared to expend.

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Devil

DNT is a mirage

We need to outlaw the unauthorized creation of personal profile databases/communications databases... or in the alternative.... face the unpleasant truth that evil people will create these databases regardless of any signal sent by a web browser if they think they can get away with it.

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Re: DNT is a mirage

Excellent plan, that alone should destroy Facebooks entire business model.

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FAIL

Re: DNT is a mirage

Personal profile databases/communications databases cover a large range of uses - not all are evil.

i.e. the Reg have one for containing our forum accounts. While this may not be the best example, the Reg aren't completely evil in spite of what maybe written in the comments sections responding to articles written by Andrew and Lewis....

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Re: DNT is a mirage

"i.e. the Reg have one for containing our forum accounts. While this may not be the best example, the Reg aren't completely evil in spite of what maybe written in the comments sections responding to articles written by Andrew and Lewis..."

You're confused about what tracking is. It's not when you sign into an account on El Reg. It's when you sign into El Reg. and read an article on 3D televisions and then you go to Facebook and the two sites share information (probably by a Third Party) and Facebook says 'I hear you like televisions, wouldn't you like to see some ads from Panasonic, now?).

It's not about signing into a site, it's about tracking between them.

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Mushroom

the Reg aren't completely evil

Some of us are. >_>

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@h4rm0ny Re: DNT is a mirage

Not disputing tracking - I was responding to the following comment:

"We need to outlaw the unauthorized creation of personal profile databases/communications databases"

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Re: DNT is a mirage @dephormation

Yes, this should be the starting point: the assumption that data about me is mine. From there, cases can be made for collection and storage of that data (and there are good reasons why I may want to allow this). However, my personal data should not be a commodity to be routinely flung around the world without any respect for it, or me, beyond "How can we try to make money from this"?

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IBM's involvement is interesting...

IBM's involvement is interesting. Apple, Mozilla, and Yahoo are obvious players, but IBM doesn't really participate in the content side of the web much, other than having a decent-sized ad budget. An infrastructure player is odd in a web standards committee dedicated to privacy controls.

If anything, you'd think they'd be opposed to DNT, since the more data is collected, the more stuff there is for IBM equipment and software to analyze.

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Anonymous Coward

Acronyms and Google

Do you mean the Digital Advertising "Alliance," which comprises a bunch of other ad business agencies?

Also, funny not to mention Google in an article about internet advertising, as they own the space, with DoubleClick and their own ad networks, and are likely the main driving force behind such industry organizations.

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: Acronyms and Google

Acronym corrected.

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Anonymous Coward

Confused. .

Is the Microsoft that is the member of the DAA the same Microsoft that is running adverts about how they respect your privacy and have turned on DNT by default?

Or is it just the usual duplicitous two faced behaviour that we've come to know and love?

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Re: Confused. .

Yes, the same Microsoft. But before getting into your rant, you may also want to consider the fact that "Do No Evil" Google are also a prominent member of the DAA as well. It's not exactly uncommon for branches of major global corporations to seemingly be taking different standpoints on issues that affect the sections of their business differently.

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I use addblock plus, Beef Taco, Better Privacy, Ghostery, No Script, and Shareme Not addons in firefox and specifically block certain things like google analytics. And they still manage to server me targetted adds.

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You are doing something wrong if you are using ABP and still seeing (targeted) ads... :-)

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I've come to the conclusion that the only way is to run in private mode almost all the time, and resetting the browser at the end of every session. This means I only get ads for financial services, which are the only things I need a regular session for.

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Anonymous Coward

Do Not Track

Does that setting also work for PRISM?

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Joke

Re: Do Not Track

I asked my local NSA agent, he assured me it does. He's from the government so he's got to be telling the truth!

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Re: Do Not Track

Well Don, I'm afraid its time to let your pet NSA agent out of the cage in your basement for a phone call....

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aaarrghh...

Picture the scenario. I just *accidentally* visited a porn website. The next evening my wife borrows my laptop and all the ads are naked women.......

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Re: aaarrghh...

Use "private" browsing, or separate secure logon accounts for yourself and spouse.

Or, buy her some lingerie just like the models are demonstrating - you were shopping for a present! If it involves something like rubber, then also buy talcum powder... then again, if you don't, then maybe you won't be obliged to rub along with it for the next eighteen months.

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Anonymous Coward

DNT needs to be declared a binding legal contract

The DNT header needs legislative backing to make it a binding legal contract: if the website responds with anything other than a 'refused' error, it should be deemed that the website's controlling owners have entered into a legal contract not to track you. They are then exposed to the risk of class-action lawsuits which should be enough of a threat to make them behave.

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WTF?

Re: DNT needs to be declared a binding legal contract

And would sir prefer the contract law to be judged by West Texas or the State of Maryland?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: DNT needs to be declared a binding legal contract

Ideally in the legislative environment of the user, but practically I'd settle for in the legislative environment of the server.

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DNT will be about as effective as the evil bit

This is all for show, no one is going to give up tracking because browsers start asking them not to, it would take worldwide government regulation before any effect was noticed.

If you don't want to be tracked you're going to need a browser that constantly lies to the servers, not one that attaches "don't track me bro" to each request.

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Re: DNT will be about as effective as the evil bit

Again with this "Worldwide Government Regulation" crap?

If you want an internet that no one else owns or controls, then you have to put up with other people using it in a way you don't like, including annoying ads, spam, kiddy porn, blasphemy, hate speak and incitement to violence.

If you want an internet that doesn't have things you don't like, then you have to put up with someone else choosing what is allowed and what is not.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: DNT will be about as effective as the evil bit

@Paul Smith

Why do you think it needs world-wide legislation? It just needs to be considered part of contract law. Barring a few war-torn places, every jurisdiction has contract law. And the world-wide standard for breaching it is called 'going to court'. In other words, surprising as it may seem, world-wide legislation does indeed exist.

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Unhappy

It will be like the cookie law...

... in that if you don't accept cookies from the site, it doesn't work properly.

In this case, I bet that ad-friendly sites will simply disable the "remember me" and "fill in my details if I'm logged in" features, claiming that the tracking is required to make them work.

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