* Posts by Wonkydonkey

9 posts • joined 20 Aug 2010

Want to avoid another cookie law mess? Talk to EU bods next time


Re: Cookies aren’t evil, but marketing companies certainly are

I’m not sure why you would think that I’m paranoid. In my current role I could be doing all this stuff now. It happens and it happens today. I’m not talking about the future, this is now.

I frequently get companies trying to get me to take their products which will enable me to link all the online data to the offline data. Technically it’s pretty trivial to do, you just need a lot of storage space, which is now dirt cheap. There are even solutions that display a different phone number to each visitor so you can link the calls back to the browsing data as well. Decent size companies with good marketing and IT departments are doing this today. I would hope they aren’t all flogging the data on, but most companies will monetise whatever they can and If that’s your data so be it. If you ever forgot to untick the “pass your data on to carefully selected partners” then your data has been sold on.

If you don’t think sites place cookies that aren’t really theirs as first party then check out a few website and see how many are placing the google analytics cookies as first party. You will be surprised.

The law does have exemptions for cookies which are strictly necessary for the operation of the website (e.g. check out cookies, baskets etc). But no marketing company was prepared to have a website that ran smoothly and gave the user the option not to be tracked and monetised. They all went down the road of “this law is stupid” click here to accept all cookies or our site won’t work.

I agree with you the law should be trying to stop people pretending cookies are 1st party when they aren’t. But its already been spun as a “silly” law and now this isn’t even being looked at.


Re: Cookies aren’t evil, but marketing companies certainly are

The marketing companies have already spun it…

This law was never supposed to be a “cookie law”, it was a privacy law. It was supposed to classify cookies into those you want (login, username, check out) and those that are offensively obtrusive (tracking, changing pricing etc).

Sites were supposed to inform you about all the cookies and then you could refuse the evil ones but let the site remember your login etc.

Marketeers span it all into “cookies are great” and all cookies are equal. Even those sites that now comply with the law only give you the option to accept all or none of the cookies. Whereas what you really want is to say, I’d quite like to be able to use the check out, but I don’t want you to track me or sell my data.

By howling about how silly the law is all you are doing is playing into the marketeers hands. What you should be doing is saying the law isn’t specific enough and howling about what unscrupulous people are doing with your personally identifiable information. Selling it on to even less scrupulous people, that’s what!

What we need is for the ICO to grow a pair and find some sites that are selling data on and smack them with a big fine.

The law might be a bit daft but the idea was a noble one.


Cookies aren’t evil, but marketing companies certainly are

I work in marketing and spend a lot of time analysing data that is only possible to collect by letting people believe that cookies are good.

With the cookies you allow on your machines I can track every move you make on our site including how you got here.

But it’s OK it’s all anonymised aggregated data right?

Not anymore. A lot of companies are now hosting their own web analytics data, similar to what google analytics hosts. And whilst all they have to begin with is an anonymous cookie ID as soon as you sign up for an email or request a catalogue or god forbid buy anything then they can pretty easily link that bit of personally identifiable data to your cookie id and all the previously anonymous browsing data becomes YOUR browsing history.

Still not bothered?

What about when I segment the customers into good customers like you and the lookie loo’s. While the lookie loo’s get a nice offer, 20% off maybe, to get them to buy. But you, I know who you are and I know you buy a lot, so you, you get nothing. Maybe I even give you higher prices…

Upset yet?

But wait, we’re not done. I can make even more money from you by joining forces with some other data aggregator, by putting their cookies on my site and letting them have all your data, and I can even give them your real name and address as well, then they can see you browsing habits across all the other sites that partner with them. And they’ll love me, because I’ve just turned all that anonymous data they used to have, from 10 other sites that you never identified yourself to, into data about YOU.

So while my site might use cookies in an unobtrusive way to enhance your browsing experience, how can you be sure I’m not selling everything I know about you on to others?

So you’ll just block third party cookies right?

Tough luck, all these cookies are first party cookies as MY web server places them. You can’t block them without breaking the rest of the site and making it unusable.

Aren’t cookies great and isn’t this law silly.

P.S. Where I currently work we’re really nice and we would never do any of this!


BT gets 14 days to block Newzbin2


Interesting to watch

I wonder how long it will take Newsbin2 to become newsbin3? Will that be different enough to not be covered by the same court order? How about binnewz4?

If I understand correctly they also have a tor version of the site and an application available for download, are either of these being blocked? Can they? Are they covered by the same court order?

What about the firefox plugin? Fire something? Can't remember what it's called, but will that get round what BT do?

Not sure I rate BT's chances of this that highly...

I also wonder how fast the other ISP's will follow...


Amazon’s shares slashed as profits drop 73%


not sure apple do cheap...

However, if apple did bring out a cheap version of the ipad, and it was still good enough to be better that the fire, then they will almost certainly sell a lot less of the more expensive ipads as people switch the cheaper one. This will probably lead to less profit for Apple.

Apple do high margin low volume, amazon do it the other way round. I don't imagine either will move towards the other.


EU law not tough enough for online piracy, says Brussels


Careful choice of words

"infringements of copyright and related rights in the form of illegal up-loading and disseminating protected content."

I find it interesting that he specifically said uploading as opposed to downloading.

Is that some sort of indication that people who only download pirated content are in the clear and that downloading it is not actually illegal? Does anyone know if a download only accusation has been tested through the courts yet?

I'm not saying that makes it right or OK to do it, just asking for a purely legal perspective.


Apple unwraps app store for proper computers


Is 30% really that high?

What is the cost of the other ways of selling my software? At least this way i don't have to worry about setting up a payment / refund / delivery mechanism or any associated bandwidth issues if my software becomes really popular.

Anyone know what cut steam takes to sell games?


Warner Bros flogs Nikita on iTunes


Cost too High?

Surely it can't just be me that thinks that £2.49 is ridiculously expensive for one episode of a tv programme?

This is something that is available essentially for free on TV (Ok I know we pay a license fee and maybe something to sky or cable but that's hardly optional) so how can they justify that cost for downloading it?

Music is a totally different proposition and any tracks i buy at 79p will be listened to many many times, but a tv episode is a throw away thing. Most people will only ever watch it once. Even when I've bought a TV series on DVD it's only because I missed it and even that only gets watched once.

So £2.49 for a single viewing of 40 mins of TV? not a chance.

Are any of you actually willing to pay that?

Especially when you compare the cost to iplayer / hulu.

And at this price it's not really a scalable proposition either. Lets say there are 10 different series that I like to watch, I'm hardly likely to pay £25 a week to get them all.

Great idea but silly price.


It's time to presume the web is guilty

Big Brother

Slippery slope to total lock down

Whitelists are a lovely idea, but if whitelists ever become the norm, how long will it be before said whitelists are forced on us users. I can see the isps jumping on it as soon as they think they can get away with it. Join BT and you'll get a lovely white internet, none of that black internet where all the nasty stuff lurks. And once the isps start using whitelists you can bet that the only people with any real level of control over what counts as white will be the biggest companies (MPAA RIAA) and governments.

The article states everyone should still have access to the raw internet, yeah right, I can just see the powers that be leaving us with that power. "What do you want with the nasty black internet? Nothing legal on there sonny".

Whitelsiting the whole of the internet is the first step on the way to somewhere I don't want to visit.



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