back to article Advertisers want exemption from web privacy rules that, you know, enforce privacy

Amid the final rulemaking before the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is scheduled to take effect next year, five ad industry groups have asked California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to remove a requirement that businesses honor the privacy choices internet users make through browser settings, extensions, or other …

  1. Phil Endecott Silver badge

    How are the plans for an alternative funding model for the internet coming along?

    1. whitepines Silver badge

      Last I checked they're already here now that EME was accepted and enabled by default by all major browsers. Including Mozilla's flagship browser.

      Pay per view is a flick of the switch away. How's the alternate Internet coming along?

    2. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      Not needed. Web ads were quite successful when they didn't track you. That was the period of time when the internet went from luxury to necessity. If it worked once, it can work again.

      1. HildyJ Silver badge
        Pint

        Absolutely. There is already a standard, internet approved flag which all browsers can send and most ad firms ignore: "Do Not Track". Users can turn it on or off and it is easily understandable. Just enforce it. Say 5 years in the pen for all members of the board and 10 for the President, CEO, CFO, CIO, and CTO.

        1. vtcodger Silver badge

          Inadequate

          Users can turn it on or off and it is easily understandable.

          Sounds to me like a clear violation of Advertiser Rights. Clearly, such a dramatic override of advertiser intent should only be permitted by means of a properly registered letter to the advertiser accompanied by a notarized opt-out form and a certified copy of the user's birth certificate as well as legally valid copies of any relevant powers of attorney. A simple browser setting could be faked by the Iranians!!!

          1. Rich 11 Silver badge

            Re: Inadequate

            Damn those sneaky Iranians, pushing me ads for 60% off a Californian self-help guru's set of motivational life-changing DVDs!

        2. Warm Braw Silver badge

          Do Not Track

          You don't need a flag to record absence of consent. Unless I've positively acknowledged a request to share information (and that acknowledgment might be stored in a cookie, for example) noone has any business processing my personal information at all. I'm rather tired of websites that are constantly asking me for granular permission to share data with several hundred unknown 3rd parties on every visit because I delete all their unwanted cookies afterwards. Meaningful consent does not include an obligation to store a record of your lack of your own consent on your own computer for the benefit of the advertiser. No cookie, no consent. Simple.

          1. GnuTzu Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            DMCA Precedent

            That's been my argument. They are free to refuse to serve content if they want to require tracking. But, creating laws to force us to be their willing slaves--no deal.

            And, given that industry already has the DMCA, that sets a precedent. If they can lock us up when we circumvent their controls, then we should be able to lock them up when they circumvent our controls (super cookies, etc.).

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            It isn't quite that simple unfortunately - there are many situations when you probably want a second party (that you have explicitly provided information to) to share that information with a third party. For example when purchasing a product online the retailer needs to share your personal information with their courier, and payment processor, they may also legally be required to share it with credit reference agencies, age/address verification services etc (depending on the nature of the product). The hard part of the law is defining the scope that you have implicitly provided consent for when you make a purchase, without providing you with a list of 30 organisations all involved in the provision of that service and asking you to approve each one.

            The law definitely could be better, GDPR is a step in the right direction, but I can see why its hard for lawmakers to come up with something that works.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      It's not our responsibility to fix the business model of places. If we think they are violating our rights, we can take them to task for it. If we think they are doing something that we don't want to be legal, we can change the law to make it illegal. It does not matter if their refusal to do something we're willing to accept causes problems for them.

      There are plenty of ways to make money online without resorting to data harvesting with dubious levels of user consent. The simplest though not the most effective is to put up a page asking for money. You can step this up by making that page nonoptional if you want to use the site. Or you can run ads that are about the content being shown or from advertisers willing to send out their message without knowing everything there is to know about the readers. Or there is that coin-mining code, although that may be detected as malware. Or trying to get your readers to buy something else once they're attracted enough to you. All of these have been tried, and all work.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Ads CAN be used WIITHOUT being EVIL

      *ahem*

      It is not the presence of advertising that is the problem.

      It is the TRACKING and IRRITATION and TARGETING that is the problem!

      (from the article)

      "These intermediaries, such as browser and operating systems, can impede consumers' ability to exercise choices via the internet that may block digital technologies (e.g. cookies, JavaScripts, and device identifiers) that consumers can rely on to communicate their opt out preferences,"

      THIS ALONE tells us what these ANTI-PRIVACY advertisers are up to: They want to (LITERALLY) restrict THE OS and THE BROWSER from using ANY technology that MIGHT interfere with what THEY are up to! They *ASSUME* "opt out" as the ONLY CHOICE!

      Obviously *NOT* an option, to go THEIR route. And, HOW are you going to STOP an OS from blocking their CRAP? HOW are you going to STOP a BROWSER (or plugin) from BLOCKING THEIR CRAP? Because, you *KNOW* there are SOFTWARE AUTHORS (like me) who would GLADLY VIOLATE THEIR "laws" and MAKE SURE YOU *CAN* block them! Because, I would be doing it, too.

      And since it ONLY affects California, I could *MOVE* *TO* *TEXAS* and PUBLISH IT THERE.

      These ANTI-PRIVACY advertising IDIOTS are behaving like a STREET HUSTLER playing 3 Card Monty, with the SHILL standing there so unhappy that he keeps losing, while 2 or 3 onlookers can see where the king is, and then one of the onlookers wants to try, and it's like "how about $50", and next thing you know, the hustler and the shill are GONE, you're out $50, and you're like "whu...?"

      icon, because, FACEPALM you'd ever suggest something about 'alternate internet funding' like there's ONLY a choice between INVASIVE ANTI-PRIVACY ADVERTISING and NO INTARWEB REVENUE AT ALL.

  2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. MiguelC Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Dear advertisers...

      Hmm, I see.

      Now if you'd only tell us how you really feel about it, please?

  3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Doomed

    Ad men have no clue why people are fed up with their slurping ways. This is the fundamental problem; their stupidity. And their stupidity and arrogance will only result in legislation that will make the GPDR look weak by comparison.

    1. IGotOut

      Re: Doomed

      This is the US, money will change hands and you'll end up with a very watered down version of what it wanted. Think GPDR Vs Cookie consent.

    2. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      Re: Doomed

      Somewhere in an advertiser boardroom ...

      CEO: "Smithers! People are using ad-blockers because our ads track people and are annoying. What do we do?"

      Smithers: "Well, sir, we could also make them even more annoying and try to shame people into turning off ad-blockers."

      CEO: "Smithers, you're a genius!"

      -- The advertisers never ever address our concerns, they just double down and try to shame us.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Doomed

        Shame me? For blocking ads? Y,s,r, that'll happen.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Doomed

      I have often wondered about marketing/ad people - do they do the same as the rest of us, block pop-ups, filter out spam, delete cookies etc etc etc, or do they sit there going "Give me more adverts, give me personalised viagra ads!" (Reminded me - doesn't one of Googles' founders has his house blurred out on Google Maps?)

      I can imagine that a few hundred years ago that marketing people were the sort of person that would be carrying bibles and spreading the word of the lord to various natives.....

  4. Chronos Silver badge
    Holmes

    "These intermediaries, such as browser and operating systems, can impede consumers' ability to exercise choices via the internet that may block digital technologies (e.g. cookies, JavaScripts, and device identifiers) that consumers can rely on to communicate their opt out preferences,"

    Icon. These "intermediaries" are communicating a preference on behalf of the consumers who opt to use them. The message is clear: Begone, foul creatures.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "their opt out preferences"

      The problem is all in the "opt-out" model. It should be opt-in only. So if you don't see a cookie or any other data allowing you to see I've opted-in, it's obvious I don't want you to meddle with me at all.

  5. ThatOne Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Just how stupid do they think we are?

    User-set privacy controls harm privacy, Yes, and war is peace, we heard. OMG.

    They definitely won't be satisfied before everyone is tied in front of some ad-spewing screen 24/7 with eyes pried open by metal hooks. Anything less is apparently unacceptable to them.

    1. Alumoi

      Re: Just how stupid do they think we are?

      Chill out, dude, Idiocracy was just a movie!

      1. Retired Ninja

        Re: Just how stupid do they think we are?

        You spelt “documentary” wrong...

  6. ThatOne Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Exemptions - never knew it was so easy

    I expect all kind of criminal undertakings out there will soon demand an exemption from the relevant parts of the penal code?

    You know, to enforce the security and well-being of the victims.

  7. Claverhouse Silver badge

    Fuck them.

    1. Circadian

      @Claverhouse

      No, no, no - depending on the genders, they may breed. Sodomise them. With a rusty axe.

  8. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    Lawmakers meet technology

    OK, assuming this law passes in California, I want a couple of technological solutions to enforce it:

    1. A browser extension or plugin that will send a request to delete all my data whenever I leave a site or close a tab. I have such a plugin that deletes cookies, so it must be possible. Wait, does an appropriate standard exist for data deletion requests and is it mandatory under the law? Ah... So the only way to delete the data will be through s link under 137 clicks? Or registered mail only?

    2. A proxy in CA that will make all my browsing appear as if I resided in that enlightened state that has that brilliant law on its books. That could even be an excellent business opportunity to someone in, say, Mountain View, by the way. They could even make it free and monetize by collecting huge amounts of data on their out-of-state customers and selling them to advertisers (and to every bidder, not just the highest one), all without falling afoul of the law. The GDPR-mandated consent may be buried in paragraph 405k of the TOS, per SOP, no sweat. Such a business would be able to corner the market if advertisers wouldn't be able to do the same thing directly. Wait, is that the real reason for this law, and may that be the real "intermediary" the advertising associations are in arms against? For fear of being fleeced, not fear of consumers not buying enough advertised goods?

    Cynical, moi?

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Lawmakers meet technology

      I already have a server in L.A. You can get them for as cheap as $5 a month http://vultr.com/

  9. Black Betty

    Why advertise the place I've just been?

    What exactly is the point or use of serving up to me an ad for a site I've just visited? Been there, seen what they had to offer and moved on. Offer me something new that I HAVEN'T seen yet.

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Re: Why advertise the place I've just been?

      Well, if you could just turn off those pesky blockers we could view all your purchasing history, check your holiday photos and hotel/flight bookings and we could then offer new ideas. It is not our fault you get repeat data if you will not let us check what you have already done

      Ooops, sorry, was just drafting something for a friend in Advertising who needed to sell his manager a brilliant idea so he could make enough to leave the industry.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why advertise the place I've just been?

        Not sure that I have much sympathy for your friend, even though he has seen the errors of his ways.

        But misreading your post - can't he just sell his manager? As in organ donation?

  10. idoxde

    We all have dreams

    "Advertisers want exemption from web privacy rules"

    ...and I want 50 milliion dollars in my brand new Swiss bank account, a Malibu mansion and a Testarossa in the garage. Give it to me. Give it to me now!

    1. Chronos Silver badge

      Re: We all have dreams

      There's something funny about old supercars that people think were good but were actually shockingly awful. The Countach is becoming the generally accepted benchmark of the breed, especially if you put that silly spoiler on it.

      It's a bit like advertising. They try to make you buy something you don't need with money you haven't got that won't do what they want you to think it will do. In that respect, the Testarossa is a very good example.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: We all have dreams

        > won't do what they want you to think it will do

        Oh, I think it will do just fine -- Show off to the Joneses. For that's the only reason you'd buy such a car: You definitely wouldn't chose it for commute, shopping (or whatever else people commonly use their cars for), it's just a huge mechanical peacock's tail signaling you have too much money and too little taste.

        1. Chronos Silver badge

          Re: We all have dreams

          Very diplomatically put and right on the nail.

  11. Franco Silver badge

    Hardly surprising, given that that ad men seem to think ad blocking is a form of theft ignoring their own consumption of data without permission.

    Ads are annoying online, albeit a necessary evil in some cases to keep sites going, but given the data slurping and potential malware coming from them what the hell do the ad slingers expect?

  12. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Ads... I love ads!!!

    I love ads. I love them most when AdBlock, uBlock, Privacy Badger, Ghostery and PiHole flag up how many they have blocked during a session. It's almost as much fun as when a site tells me that I'm using an ad blocker and that I should disable to gain the "best user experience", but then I slowly and deliberately click "no, continue with ad blocker" instead.

    I makes me feel as though I've made a useful contribution to humanity.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Ads... I love ads!!!

      I don't mind advertisements on sites with content I value, provided they're not obtrusive (not animated, etc). I'm not particularly worried about hostile content in advertisements because I have script blocking in place, so the risk from third-party advertisements for decently-run sites isn't significantly greater than for the web at large.

      I accept advertisements in print publications because they support the production of the content I value. Same thing for sites.

      But I still run an ad blocker - I just unblock sites that I feel offer sufficient quality material to deserve it, and where I'm not subsidizing the site in other ways (e.g. by purchasing something from the organization that owns it, or by paid subscription).

      Advertising is a legitimate revenue model. Often I prefer paid subscription where it's available, and a micropayment per-view (or per-day, etc) model might be a useful alternative for some sites. But I don't think advertising is inherently immoral or repugnant.

  13. iron Silver badge
    Big Brother

    I recently applied for a developer job at an ad agency. As part of the interview process they asked me to do a coding challenge that was something they had recently worked on themselves. That challenge was to work out a way to bypass Apple's tracking prevention mechanisms in the latest versions of iOS. I declined for ethical reasons and excused myself from the rest of the process on the basis that even if they never asked me to write such code the dev next to me might be writing it so I couldn't work there. This was not some huge Don Draper agency in London or New York, this was a small agency in Scotland. The whole industry is despicable and not to be trusted.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      "Everyone generalizes from one example. I know I do." (Steven Brust)

      1. Two Lips
        Thumb Down

        Prove it.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. xanadu42

    So, in the not-too-distant-future, it may be illegal for citizens of the USA to delete Cookies from their computing devices?

    Glad I am not a citizen of the USA...

    1. Mike 16 Silver badge

      not a citizen of the USA...

      Didn't you get the memo? U.S. law is applicable _everywhere_ (well, except certain government offices and the residences of various "friends" of course). If you disagree, we have some well-publicized Seals to make you see the error of your ways.

  16. Oengus Silver badge
    Mushroom

    I don't want

    I don't want a 'Do Not Sell My Personal Information' link, I want a 'Do Not Collect My Personal Information' link.

    When will these big data miners (and that is what the advertising companies are in reality) learn that most people don't want their data being sold to god only knows who without their permission.

    1. DCdave
      Coat

      Re: I don't want

      "When will these big data miners (and that is what the advertising companies are in reality) learn that most people don't want their data being sold to god only knows who without their permission."

      Well, they already know, hence their attempts to circumvent anything that stops them continuing to do it. As cynical as a thief stealing Christmas presents from under the tree, saying "they were just there, I have to make a living. Lawmakers, protect me whilst I'm doing this."

  17. td0s

    I tried their opt out tool

    It fails spectacularly in Firefox because of the privacy settings 4/180 - seems ironic to me. I'm certainly not turning any Firefox browser protections off to chance it with their opt-out tool.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...bans any degr[a]dation of service if the user opts to retain their privacy"

    Does this mean it would be forbidden to deny me access as long as I refuse to click on "Accept"?

    Right now, I have to give up on quite a few websites because of that happening, GDPR apparently notwithstanding.

  19. Roland6 Silver badge

    The CCPA, which takes effect in January, 2020, will provide Californians with greater legal privacy protections than anywhere else in the US (though still short of Europe's GDPR), putting pressure on federal lawmakers who are trying to formulate consistent privacy rules for the entire country.

    The simplest solution is for US citizens to lobby federal lawmakers to adopt GDPR and bring US protection into line with the EU. This would have a benefit of aligning data protection and so improve opportunities for transatlantic data hosting...

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      > for US citizens to lobby federal lawmakers

      That's the catch: You need money to lobby, so only very rich people and commercial entities can afford to buy laws.

      Besides, something like that would almost certainly become a partisan issue, resulting in an eternal stalemate full of big, angry declarations and personal attacks, but little else. Standard US politics.

  20. RLWatkins

    Five, was it? Five huge associations serving the propaganda business?

    We have an American Medical Association. We have an American Bar Association. We have *five* huge associations serving the interests of the advertising business? Five?

    And they're telling legislators that their interests are more important than those of their constituents?

    Try to recall, amidst all the hoopla surrounding the irreproducability of psychological experiments, the one which everyone has been able to reproduce time and again: showing that if one lies to people often enough then even the fairly intelligent ones start to treat those lies as facts.

    This is how propa... erm, advertising works.

    And we have a veritable army of people defending the rights of those who do this

    And they're telling legislators that their need to invade our privacy so they can do so more effectively is more important than their constituents desire to curtail this practice?

    Wow. Hell is full, etc.

    Oh, by the way, advertising is a *business*, not an industry. Industries *make* things. Industries make *things*. Let's give people dictionaries this holiday season.

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