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FTC Wants Browsers To Block Online Tracking

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the poof-just-like-that-he's-gone dept.

Privacy 205

storagedude writes "The FTC wants a do-not-track mechanism that would allow Web users to opt out of online behavioral tracking, similar to the national do-not-call registry. The agency's preferred method for accomplishing this would be a browser-based tool that would give users the option of blocking data collection across the Web. The only problem is that the agency may not have the authority to require this, thanks to concerted lobbying efforts by the advertising industry. The first step may just be voluntary measures, to be released this fall."

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205 comments

why Opt-out? (2, Insightful)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066110)

why not Opt-in and disabled by default and any website owner that tries to track without explicit consent (ie. an opt-in) gets done for hacking...

Re:why Opt-out? (2, Interesting)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066130)

Why Opt-in?

Why not disabled by default and not activable?

What's the tremendous benefit we'd be losing?

Re:why Opt-out? (2, Insightful)

iammani (1392285) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066166)

Free websites?

Re:why Opt-out? (3, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066212)

So now it's impossible to advertise without tracking?

(fricking /. time limit! I can perfectly write a meaningful response in 5 seconds.)

Re:why Opt-out? (2, Interesting)

fyrewulff (702920) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066450)

It's possible, it's just not a good use of money to just stick ads whereever.

Do you think they just stick billboards up next to a highway because they like to? Those ads you see on highway billboards were bought because the company that paid for them had data on the local population, like income level/political leaning/religion/language and so on.

If you can't tell a company who is coming to your site, they're less likely to buy ads if they do at all.

Definitely need some controls over tracking, though.

Re:why Opt-out? (4, Interesting)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067056)

Tracking isn't studying data from your website accesses, it's forming profiles of a specific user over multiple websites, by "planting" a cookie or other means of identification.

The analogy would be the advertisements companies putting a RFID tag in your car, that would be detected by each billboard you happened to pass by. Would you be OK with that level of location tracking? I wouldn't.

Re:why Opt-out? (3, Insightful)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067518)

What does tracking have to do with ad-supported websites? Advertisers should be able to develop advertisements based on the website content. No user tracking required.

Re:why Opt-out? (0, Redundant)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066174)

Why Opt-in?

Why not disabled by default and not activable?

What's the tremendous benefit we'd be losing?

Free usage of websites (ad supported)

Re:why Opt-out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066818)

Web sites were free before advertisers invaded the internet.

Re:why Opt-out? (3, Funny)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066182)

There will be incalculable economic losses and numerous people losing their jobs over that of course. After all the whole advertising business will go totally down the drain if you build in such functionality. I mean think of the children and so. This is is also totally anti-capitalist. You really should listen to your local politicians and advertising lobbyists better for failing to see the obvious.

Re:why Opt-out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066356)

The "lost jobs" argument is a fallacy as it presumes that money is somehow created continuously.

The money not spent on a certain advertising campaign will eventually end up somewhere else - a zero sum game. Someone else will be paid instead. Less jobs on one spot, more on another.

Re:why Opt-out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066622)

why not Opt-in and disabled by default and any website owner that tries to track without explicit consent (ie. an opt-in) gets done for hacking...

You must be new to America, where corporate rights trump citizens' rights. Enjoy your stay.

Re:why Opt-out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33067034)

Attention hackers :
Any of you guys know what the fields in these tracking cookies represent ?
Rather than deleting them:
we can change the cookies on our computer, giving them a Bullshit center filling, then revisit their site and let the bastards eat their own bullshit
  How sweet a taste ?

Huh? (4, Insightful)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066194)

I thought this was called disable cookies, and delete all browsing data upon exit? This isn't even an issue. Do that, and they can track you about as well as what phone prompts you chose when you call support.

Re:Huh? (4, Informative)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066232)

That's what I thought, too, but google Quantcast and zombie cookies and you'll find out that isn't necessarily true.

Re:Huh? (4, Informative)

KibibyteBrain (1455987) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066386)

Flash cookies FTL! And when that starts to fail more, advertisers can always rely on server-side stateful tracking using whatever identifying tokens they can get(ip address, user agent, etc) to track users. The only real way to stop tracking is to compel the trackers to stop trying. Even elaborate measures like TOR can and have failed to completely prevent tracking.

Re:Huh? (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067712)

BetterPrivacy [https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/6623/] helps with the Flash cookies, at least. Server-side stuff we're just going to have to live with, because even if they pass a law, there's no way to prove anyone's tracking you that way.

Re:Huh? (5, Insightful)

nmg196 (184961) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066402)

Because if you disable cookies - you cannot log in to any website. Hardly practical.

Re:Huh? (3, Informative)

the_womble (580291) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067336)

You enable cookies only for sites you want to log in to.

To complete you privacy you have Flash off by default and you set a minimal UA string.

The last two currently require plugins, but if browsers had built in click to run for plugins and sent minimal UA strings (just browser and version) be default the problem would largely be solved.

Re:Huh? (2, Interesting)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066940)

Throwing advertising magazines into the trash is not a method of opting out.

This is about telling the publisher that you are not interested in such material. Disabling/deleting {images, cookies, history} is not the same thing.

TFS suggests signaling the publisher and requiring the publisher to react based on it.

One technical method of implementing this would be an additional HTTP-Request Header, like Accept-Language, or to reuse the now-abandoned Charge-To field.

Tor Already Provides This (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066226)

There's already an opt-out option:

https://www.torproject.org/ [torproject.org]

Visit https://bridges.torproject.org/ [torproject.org] to grab some bridge IPs and
add this to your torrc file:

UseBridges 1
paste the bridges you obtained from the url above here starting
with the word bridge and following with the IP, one on each line,
like so:

Bridge 1.2.3.4
Bridge 5.6.7.8

Need help with Tor? Speak to the developers (and users) directly:
irc.oftc.net #tor

Or join the Tor mailing list: click the first url above, click
Docs at the top of the page, scroll down for the mailing list
information.

If this is true:

"The FTC wants a do-not-track mechanism that would allow Web users to
opt out of online behavioral tracking, similar to the national do-not-call
registry." they could encourage the use of Tor on their website, possibly
running some tor nodes themselves to aid the Tor network.

Re:Tor Already Provides This (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066266)

Tor is not the solution to this problem, but to other ones.

Re:Tor Already Provides This (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066326)

sounds like a cop out to me, like saying:

"there's better options"
"there's worse options"

no meat to your post, Tor IS the option here.

Re:Tor Already Provides This (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33067156)

Great, now I can make my browser unusable by slowing it down to a crawl even when loading ridiculously small web pages

Firefox extension? (5, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066248)

There must be a FF extension that can do just that by now. I can't imagine that there are no paranoid nerds that haven't thought of this.

And if there is no FF extension then the required functionality is probably impossible to do browser-side.

Actually I am wondering how they track behaviour, and what a browser can do to prevent it. I can think of a few bits:

- Cookies. The obvious one. Third-party cookies especially. Can be blocked in FF and other browsers for more than a decade already.

- Referrer tags in URLs. Sometimes useful - especially for sites to see where visitors originate - but also for the end user. E.g. after a Google search you go to some web page that then highlights your search terms. Seems trivial to block in your browser as your browser puts the referrer tag in the http request.

- IP address. Naturally public information. Can not be blocked, ever. Merely obfuscated by using tor or so.

- Browser ID. Can easily be faked. But is usually constant for a user, allowing them to be traced anyway using this and the IP address. Also between cooperating web sites. And of course third-party ad providers who in turn can follow IP addresses over their customer's web sites. Those third parties can be (partly) blocked by e.g. AdBlock Plus, only partly as the visited web site can still give your info (IP address, page visited) to the ad company, even when the actual ads are blocked.

That's all that I can think of at the moment, there may be more ways to follow a user. But I don't see much that can be done on the browser-side to stop more tracking.

Re:Firefox extension? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066292)

Browserside you could have a bit that is sent to the website that says "Do not track", and then by law or social pressure you could have the website not store your IP-adress and behavior on the site.

In firefox you can already stop cookies, flashcookies and referrals info, but you can't stop behavioral analyze browserside, nor can you stop the IP from getting collected.

Re:Firefox extension? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066298)

The FF Add-On Ghostery does that for a lot of tracking services.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/9609/

Re:Firefox extension? (1)

b3k (551611) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066388)

it's a scam dude. Don't install that crap.

Re:Firefox extension? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066498)

How so? I didn't really find anything indicating, that Ghostery doesn't work as advertised.

Re:Firefox extension? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066348)

screen resolution, available fonts, available plugins, preferred language, ....

Re:Firefox extension? (2, Informative)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066964)

And if there is no FF extension then the required functionality is probably impossible to do browser-side.

...

That's all that I can think of at the moment, there may be more ways to follow a user. But I don't see much that can be done on the browser-side to stop more tracking.

You missed the point. The summary is suggesting a server-side solution, i.e. signaling the website to bugger off.

Re:Firefox extension? (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067580)

I think you missed the 2nd of 3 sentences in the summary (emphasis added by me):

The agency's preferred method for accomplishing this would be a browser-based tool that would give users the option of blocking data collection across the Web.

A browser-based solution would by definition not be a server-side solution.

I know it's too much to expect people to read the articles here but if you can't even make it though 3 sentences of summary why even bother.

Re:Firefox extension? (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067634)

You know you could have pointed that out just as easily without the smarmy comments about RTFS.

Anyway I read it as the browser signalling the server to not track the user. As in the
browser makes the request (as browsers tend to do) and the server is responsible for honoring
the request and doing it's part to turn off tracking (e.g. not logging the header data sent by
the browser).

So just like most useful functionality on the web it would be a combination of browser and
server. That said my feeling is that this would end up just like a lot of idealistic functions
suggested over the years (like NSFW tags) and wouldn't fly.

Re:Firefox extension? (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | more than 3 years ago | (#33068020)

There was nothing in the summary that even remotely suggested the solution you envisioned.

The phrase "blocking data collection" to me suggests preventing the server from doing something rather than cooperating with the server and expecting it to honour your request. Considering the industry we are talking about expecting it to honour anything is a naive at best.

And I'm sorry if you found my comment smarmy...I was going for sarcastic.

Re:Firefox extension? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067794)

I just re-read the summary, and it is at best ambiguous about where to block, what to block, and how to block. It is talking about a browser-based tool, while of course the actual tracking is done on the other end of the connection.

Having something browser-side to thoroughly block tracking would be much more useful as it is very easy to move servers into another jurisdiction. Or to use a third-party tracking service that is located in another country. Having a browser ask politely to not track that user may work somewhat within the US where said law is valid, it doesn't do anything outside of it.

And I'm wondering how long before FF is going to really increase their privacy options. They only have to look at the current options provided by extensions for good ideas.

Re:Firefox extension? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33067198)

And these points mean that a browser-based solution can never work.
Even the parts that could work, like blocking cookies, in practice don't. Enough websites have decided that they want them that you can't use most of the web any more if you turn them off.
Technology is no substitute for legislation and legislation is limited by jurisdiction. We will always be tracked on-line.

Re:Firefox extension? (1)

nsrbrake (233425) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067396)

For cookies there's lots of options. I'm sure there's more, but that's a quick list off the top of my head.

Ghostery - identifies and allows you to block the 3rd parties (web bugs) that are hidden on the current page you're visiting. Web bugs include ad networks, behavioral data collectors and web analytics providers.

BetterPrivacy - "super-cookie safeguard" Permanently opt-out cookies to stop behavioral advertising by 100+ different advertising networks, including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, all members of the Network Advertising Initiative, and many others.

Beef Taco - targeted advertising cookie opt-out.

Adblock Plus

Re:Firefox extension? (1)

intoxination (1806616) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067556)

It's not impossible to do. Actually the Webdeveloper extension for FF has the option to disable all cookies, or just external ones. Since external ones would hit a vast majority of advertising cookies and tracking software, that would be the way to go. Building a FF extension offering just that functionality shouldn't be too difficult.

Why????? (4, Funny)

Barraketh (630764) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066252)

Why are our elected officials spending any time on this? Is there *any* evidence that the data collected has ever been misused in any way? The online advertising industry is based on selectively targetting users with advertisements, and so far I see no compelling reasons for the government to interfere. Before the government starts regulating an industry, shouldn't there be evidence that the industry is in fact in need of regulating? Disclaimer: I work in an advertising company developing the conversion rate models

Re:Why????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066324)

Are you arguing that _any_ people should be allowed to barge into your house at any time, and look over your shoulder for as long and as much as they please, as long as they don't do anything else?

Re:Why????? (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066436)

No, but if I barge into someone else's house (when that house has a "come on in!" sign outside), they can make a note of it and share those notes with whoever they want.

Re:Why????? (2)

Danieljury3 (1809634) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066638)

But what if the sign outside makes no mention of this note taking and sharing? And besides, what goes on in the internet would be more like if that person followed you around town spying on you and taking notes of everywhere you visit.

Re:Why????? (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066882)

I would, instead, liken it to a grocery store that tracks your shopping habits with a bonus card thingy. You walk into their store and sign up to use their services.

If you don't like it, don't sign up for a service. I'm sorry if google researches what you click on when you use their products. There are work arounds, just like not signing up for the bonus card at the store.

Of course, certain metrics will always be practically accessible. A grocery store, for example, doesn't need to do any "suspicious" tracking just to know how big of a parking lot they will need. It would be pretty obvious that a bigger lot was needed if empty spaces were always at a premium.

Re:Why????? (2, Insightful)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067600)

Is there *any* evidence that the data collected has ever been misused in any way?

I don't particularly care if the data is misused because I don't agree with the method of data collection to begin with. I don't need people tracking my actions to see how to advertise to me. Advertisements are annoying. Advertisers should be tracking products or sales, not individuals.

Before the government starts regulating an industry, shouldn't there be evidence that the industry is in fact in need of regulating?

I support the FTC being proactive and considering preventative action. Should we wait for a crime to be committed before we make it illegal?

Disclaimer: I work in an advertising company

I'm sorry. I'll pray for you.

Great (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066262)

By checking whether people are in the do not track registry, we can do behavioral tracking of those who don't want to be tracked!

how do you identify. (3, Interesting)

will_die (586523) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066264)

And how to you identify theses?
We run just a few sites and they are allow users to change how info is displayed and then track the user and make sure those changes are available across all sites. Would we qualify even if all of that is for internal and a few external users?
For do not call that was easy, you make a commercial cold call you qualify, if this was that easy then someone would of already addeded it or a plug in would be available.

Re:how do you identify. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066312)

And how to you identify theses?

You back-trace it.

Or get the cyber police to back-trace it for you.

There is atleast one.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066310)

http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout [google.com] Google's browser addon that says no to analytics.

To provide website visitors with more choice about how their data is collected by Google Analytics, we have developed the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on. The add-on communicates with the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js) to indicate that information about the website visit should not be sent to Google Analytics.

For the rest, there's Adblock and NoScript.

Here's how this will go... (3, Funny)

nmg196 (184961) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066448)

Here's how this will go...

1. Online behavioural tracking and 3rd party cookies outlawed
2. Adverts shown to us are now even less relevant / interesting than they were before.
3. We all click on far fewer adverts as a result.
4. Websites make far less money from their advertising
5. Vast majority of free websites go bankrupt or become subscription only so we stop using them.
6. The concept of the 'free' (as in beer) Internet is lost in history.

It's a LOSE - LOSE situation. When will people realise that well targetted and appropriate adverts are good for everyone?

Re:Here's how this will go... (1)

noncaptusest (1644871) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066490)

3. We all click on far fewer adverts as a result.

Who the heck even clicked on ads in the first place?

Re:Here's how this will go... (1)

Danieljury3 (1809634) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066658)

I already assume that nearly all ads are scams and avoid/block them. Mostly applies to Google's ads

Re:Here's how this will go... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33067316)

Just because you don't "click on and ad" doesn't mean that a site doesn't make revenue. There are several models in advertising and the Pay Per Click model is just one. Also, the internet advertising industry is huge. There are millions of people clicking on ads every day. I hate the type of people who expect to go to a web site for free and then use ad block. You can try to use the "i only use ad block because ads are so annoying" argument but that is BS. AdSense isn't annoying at all. Even the banner ads on this site there are no ads that I would consider annoying. It does cost money to produce content and run a website. You don't support those sites and eventually they will die. Right now it is either advertising or subscription business models. Choose which one you want, because I'm am pretty sure that you aren't going to run a website with millions of hits a month and pay for bandwidth out of your pocket (that you can't afford anyway) as a charity.

"I already assume that nearly all ads are scams and avoid/block them. Mostly applies to Google's ads"
Actually google does much more to filter the content of their network from my experience. These so call "Scams" (the ones people sign up for with out reading the terms which clearly state intent) are filtered by google. If it wasn't for advertising the web would have never grown to the size it is. You can think that you don't respond to advertising all you want, but the truth is that you do. You buy products everyday because of advertising and don't even try to dispute that because you can't.

Ads work. They power the interent and allow me to get content for free. I would rather have that then a pay wall model. That being said you can use adblock if you want (no one is going to stop you) but requiring the government to stop tracking cookies will kill pay per action marketing and lead you to getting even less targeted, more intrusive ads than you get now. And for fucks sake do some research before you say "no one clicks on ads anyway". What percentage of internet users use adblock? I don't know but they are by far the minority. Lucky for you that they don't or you wouldn't be getting your fee content.

Re:Here's how this will go... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066908)

I practically never click them and block most of the advertisements too.

You could say I'm helping advertisers to find more suited prey for them. I am not one of them, so why would I waste their bandwidth? It's a win-win!

The more targetted and "appopriate" adverts are the more paranoid I get. I do not want to see those, thank you. I will not buy them anyway so I keep blocking.

Re:Here's how this will go... (1, Informative)

internewt (640704) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067762)

Here's how this will go...

[snip sky caving in scenario]

It's a LOSE - LOSE situation. When will people realise that well targetted and appropriate adverts are good for everyone?

Hahaha, funny fucker.

Oh, you're serious.

Advertising costs companies money, so if a product is advertised it has more costs associated with it than an unadvertised product. Therefore the advertised product it is a worse deal for me. So I do not want to see the adverts.

Adverts are maybe good for the businesses behind them, but I don't give a flying fuck about them. Adverts are definitely not in my interest, nor yours. And for you to think so.... well, I think you have been watching too much commercial TV or working too hard for corporations. You are starting to believe their bullshit!

a lesson for libertarians (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066460)

and assorted free market fundamentalists:

you need government regulations. you want to pay taxes for the legions of government bureaucrats toiling away somewhere interfering with business

because without such regulation business will trample your rights

you heard me correctly: the government protects your rights and corporations trample them. i'm sorry of this idea contrasts with certain brands of low brain wattage propaganda about the government trampling your rights: if the paranoid schizophrenic fantasies of certain right wing zealots ever come to fruition, those abuses will not happen at the hands of washington dc, they will happen at the hands of large corporate entities

Re:a lesson for libertarians (0, Troll)

trickyD1ck (1313117) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066684)

You don't have a right to tell a web site owner, whose property you voluntarily "visit", whether to log your activity/set cookie or not.

Please, try harder next time.

the cookie exists on my machine (3, Informative)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066778)

i have every right to say what happens on my machine

additionally, i have every right to insist you change your behavior, such as with logs, if suitable logical reason can be found that my rights could potentially be abused by your practices

in other words, there are principles that govern society, and no one is above those principles. and claims to be exempt from those principles, for reasons of trade and commerce, is the road to hell

understand that, or be the enemy of freedom

individual liberty is not trumped by corporate interest, despite all the paid legal whores and assorted apologists to the contrary

Re:the cookie exists on my machine (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066822)

>i have every right to say what happens on my machine

Then do it... if using firefox go to tools->options->privacy-> and uncheck accept cookies...

there are other plugins/methods/programs like noscript, adblock, editing host files that are there so YOU can stop them, otherwise, you can quit going to their sites.

this is a fine argument for the technically astute (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066892)

however, the vast amount of users are not technically astute, and laws must be passed and enforced to protect them. it is not beholden upon the computer user to have a computer science degree to use a browser, nor should it be, all elitist snarky slashdot comments to the contrary

do you have to be an auto mechanic before you drive on the road?

do you have to be a lawyer before you sit in a jury box?

do you have to be a architect before you own a home?

no?

then it is obvious that your appeal to technical competency before someone gets behind a computer browser is an elitist position, not to mention an impossible position

it is beholden upon SOCIETY to pass and enforce laws to protect the weak and the innocent, not punish them for being weak and innocent and then tell them after the fact they should have known. this is a vision of a brutal and injust society that you operate from

Re:this is a fine argument for the technically ast (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067218)

do you have to be an auto mechanic? no, but you do have to take a drivers test to show you are proficient enough to drive a 2 ton chunk of metal around safely.

do you have to be a lawyer? no, but you have to at least be responsible enough to show up & follow instructions.

do you have to be a architect? no, but you do have to be responsible to perform maintenance & upkeep your house.

and to top it off... the vast number of people don't care about being tracked. if they did, facebook would be a complete failure after news of private info being let loose.

Re:the cookie exists on my machine (0, Offtopic)

crimperman (225941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067970)

i have every right to say what happens on my machine

So ably demonstrated by your extensive use of the shift key.

Re:a lesson for libertarians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066800)

I'm deeply sorry, but I fear the trampling of rights will happen either way; Either the corporations will do it directly, or they will do it via the evil government, because as things stand, the government is already in many, many ways, their bitch. I know, I know. "Better light a candle no matter how small..", but it's damned hard when Biden & Co have stolen your matches. :/

Re:a lesson for libertarians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066872)

Let me remind you big government liberals of something else:

Politicians will always eventually abuse their power and create legislation that ultimately protects their interests. You say you cannot trust corporations but your cures are often worse than the disease as your liberties slip away under the guise of protection. At least a "greedy" corporation is putting people to work.

why are the politicians interests (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066924)

separate form their constituents interests?

because of infection of the government by corporate money

read the first sentence:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

We. The. People.

to the extent that the interests of the corporations are more important to the politicians than the interests of we the people, is the extent to which that government MUST BE CLEANED UP, not destroyed

your position is this: you see a sick person in front of you (the government). your solution is to condemn the sick person, rather than treat him for the disease

"At least a "greedy" corporation is putting people to work"

additionally, you completely absolve the disease of any wrongdoing for the fact that the patient is sick

it just blows my fucking mind, its fucking incredible: that some people should see the corporate infection of our government and conclude the only solution is to destroy the government!

the only thing standing between us and the infection that is the real source of the abuse of our rights is the government. it needs to be CLEANED UP, not DESTROYED, or then all of the abuses you see GET WORSE. that really is the truth. wake the fuck up

Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33067062)

the government protects your rights and corporations trample them

The interesting thing about this blanket conclusion is that it doesn't account for reality. What reality? The reality that only government holds the special right to employ coercion against you, while the rest of us (including corporations) do not. In fact, that is exactly what defines government: the ability to use coercion as their means. Anyone else who does so is, by definition, a criminal.

With that said, it's painfully obvious that government isn't just more likely to oppress human rights, past, present, and future -- it's the entire business model of government. Everything government does is founded precisely on that special ability to coerce. Every single thing government does is backed by a threat of physical force. How on earth could any entity be more dangerous to human rights than government?

To sum up, a corporation that attacks your rights has committed a crime. A government that does so has not. Corporate abuse of individual freedoms is a problem, no doubt. But ironically, it is government that determines whether a corporation has committed a crime.

I realize you're just dying to take a cheap shot at your arch enemy, the freedom-minded indivudual, but I do suggest you work on your aim, because the only thing you shot in this case was your own foot.

if government is weak (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067226)

then there is a power vacuum

that power vacuum will be filled by corporations, who will employ blackwater private security forces against individual liberty

am i talking science fiction?

no, i'm talking HISTORICAL AMERICAN FACT

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinkerton_National_Detective_Agency [wikipedia.org]

why is it that so many free market fundamentalists forget about the banking panics in the 1800s (no regulations=bubbles and pops... hello 2008)? why do so many libertarians ignore the abuses of individual liberties by corporations in the gilded age (corporations, not governments, remove your liberties)? why do so many right wing small government zealots completely ignore the hard fought and hard won protections for workers in the 1800s? (40 hour work week, minimum wage, etc... you think these ideas were not developed in an atmosphere of constant abuse of the individual by corporations?)

fact, solid motherfucking fact: corporations will abuse your individual liberties as much as they can in the pursuit of the buck. they ARE NOT BEHOLDEN TO YOU. you NEED the government as your protector with all those regulations and enforcement, or YOU WILL BE ABUSED. to the extent that the government has been coopted by corporate interests and infected from the inside is the extent YOU NEED TO CLEAN UP YOUR GOVERNMENT OF CORPORATE INFECTION...not destroy the only entity which keeps the REAL abusers from defiling your rights!

corporations are the single greatest abusers of individual liberties. government is your only source of protection from those abuses. you NEED a strong central government, or every abuse you detest will be visited upon you MORE

so stop working to DESTROY government, start working to CLEAN UP government

if you argue for smaller government, in the name of individual liberties, the real world effect of your efforts is increased abuses of individual liberties, because you do not understand who the real abusers are

if the patient is sick, don't kill the patient and let the disease spread, treat the patient of the disease and stop the spread of the disease. fight the disease, not the patient. the patient is YOUR government, the disease is corporate dollars

read the first fucking sentence:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

WE. THE. PEOPLE. to the extent that the government is not we the people is the extent to which it has been corrupted by corporate dollars. so get rid of the corporate dollars, not the government!

reclaim YOUR government from corporate infection and make it a more effective tool in protecting your rights and freedoms from the real abusers: corporations who would destroy your rights and freedoms, and have done so in the past, and will happily do so again in the pursuit of more profit, if there is only a weak ineffective government between them and more profit

CLEAN UP GOVERNMENT. DON'T DESTROY THE ONLY THING THAT PROTECTS YOU FROM THE REAL ABUSERS OF YOUR RIGHTS

Re:Rights (4, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067896)

The reality that only government holds the special right to employ coercion against you, while the rest of us (including corporations) do not.

Sure they do, it's just a different form of coercion, namely economic coercion.

For instance, let's say you're living in a mining town. You can just about make ends meet by working in the mines, but haven't been able to squirrel away significant savings (your job gives you enough to keep a roof over your head, food on your plate, clothes on your back, and not much else). There aren't any other companies in the area hiring because it's an economic recession. Now, your boss tells you that you need to work an extra 10 hours a week without reporting it in order to keep your job. Your options are: (a) work the extra 10 hours effectively as slave labor, (b) move out of town, (c) unemployment, or (d) report the crime to somebody. Option b is more than you can afford. Option c leaves you homeless and starving. Option d means that your employer will retaliate by firing you (along with anyone else they think was involved) so it's equivalent to option d. So that leaves you with no choice but option a.

That exact scenario is a reality for millions of Americans (as well as workers in other countries) - read up on wage theft. And think about the fact that the only recourse someone in that situation potentially has is government regulation.

Add a new HTTP header (3, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066480)

The problem is how to decide who can & who does not consent to tracking. What they suggest is something

similar to the Do-Not-Call registry

— which means that you need to identify exactly who you are so that the web site knows not to track you. Most trackers currently do not know who you are, just that you have visited some set of web sites. <irony>That will, of course, not be abused by anyone.</irony>

So their suggested cure is worse than the current disease.

Having a database of users is also heavily bureauocratic & sooner of later that list will get stolen.

A much simpler mechanism is to have a new HTTP header, eg Tracking with values of yes or no. True anonymity, not hard for the browser vendors to implement, light weight.

OK: it will be ignored, but so could the Do-Not-Call registry. Enforcement was always going to be the issue, does the FTC realise that the first letter of www stands for World, ie it has no legal right to control all of it ?

Re:Add a new HTTP header (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066962)

Hello? P3P where are you?

Not similar to Do-Not-Call (1)

Tuan121 (1715852) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066534)

To me the concept of a Do-Not-Call registry is very different than what this would be aimed at and should not be thought of in the same manner.

Advertisers wanting to advertise or track consumer behaviour is not a bad activity that should be banned.

The problem that occurred with phone advertising is that it is extremely intrusive. There is a Do-Not-Call list because people don't want their phone ringing all day long and trying to get to the phone, or interrupting calls, only to find it's an advertiser.

Consumer tracking through cookies is not intrusive in the same sense at all (if you want to argue it is invading personal information, that is a different discussion). It is a completely passive activity that is not disrupting people.

So I don't think it should be put in the same bucket as a Do-Not-Call list.

While I was sleeping? (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066790)

There are ads on the internet? Seriously, when did this happen?

The best targeted ads are useless if no one sees them. Firefox could include Adblock Plus functionality by default (with easylist enabled) and we'd have an instant restructuring of the entire online advertisement model. Sites that would throw up a pay-wall aren't worth my time anyway, good riddance to bad rubbish.

Re:While I was sleeping? (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067578)

I am curious though - if a web site can't charge for their effort; and advertising is useless -- how do they fund themselves? (Personally, I'm a fan of paywalls as long as there's no advertising on the site.)

The last thing we need... (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066840)

Is to have the FTC and FCC start gaining real statutory powers to mandate product design. It's one thing like with the FCC to have a program that requires that wireless devices follow certain guidelines to keep from interfering with one another or emergency responders, but this? No way. This sort of mandate would only be the beginning of the federal government telling software developers how to do their job in ways that are dubiously related to the common good.

Regulation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066988)

>I think you're going to see probably in the next Congress a
>fair amount of interest in moving legislation forward to have
>more prescriptive rules."

Leave it to the US government to think it can regulate the global internet.

If they accomplish this, I have some cats I'd like herded across town.

"...the agency may not have the authority... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067070)

...to require this."

I sure as hell hope not. All we need is a Federal agency regulating browser design.

You have one for car design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33067584)

You have one for car design. One for plug design. One for food preparation.

And they'd like no one to use ALL CAPS (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067128)

The necessary technological change is about as likely. Given the prevalence of "web bugs", the one-pixel transparent images used to track web use by downloading images from a third party web server, and the third party management of cookies used to share data, and all the other technologies, there's no "browser setting" that will fix it all. Even insisting that all web content come from the same hostname when viewing a page breaks down when that server can simply proxy the requests for content to a third party and pass along the connecting IP or session information in the format of the proxied request.

Changing the browsers might help, but the less reputable websites will certainly ignore the rules and use the remaining technologies.

There are other thing the FTC might be able to do (1)

GoodBuddy (1846360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067184)

Such as requiring a standard form (similar to food labels) that clearly shows the privacy policy that organizations have. The way things stand you need a law degree and 2-3 days to understand the policies that people put on their web sites regarding privacy -- if they have any or make it available.

Perhaps they could require companies to publish what data they collect and/or who they share it with. Privacy is a hot button issue with me, I don't have any credit cards nor do I participate in store affinity programs. Put I realize I am the exception, and most people think I am crazy to care. I think it is unlikely that Congress with give any more power to government agencies to gather information on the net (in fact, quite the opposite probably. Don't YOU want to know what type of shampoo the terrorist buy? [where's the sarc symbol?]) That is, until there is an issue that affects them. If you recall, they mandated that video stores protect the privacy of rentals when the stuff they were renting got leaked to the press. If there were a big data breech at Netflix or Victoria's Secret (or Michael Salems TV Boutique) they might get onto protecting the privacy of regular people.

Question (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067430)

How would the web know who you are? To implement this would there be some grand unified sign on to get on the web? The government would never abuse that. Yeah no I'll pass.

Less & less control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33067510)

Why hasn't mozilla given us this already. Instead now they won't even let us control cookies.

The summary is misleading (what a surprise) (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067920)

The summary is misleading, it says, " The only problem is that the agency may not have the authority to require this, thanks to concerted lobbying efforts by the advertising industry." The structure of this sentence implies that the FTC would naturally have this authority but "concerted lobbying efforts" got Congress to pass a law removing that authority. In fact, what happened was that someone tried to put this into a bill that it didn't belong in (the "financial reform" bill) and lobbyists managed to get it removed. If it is a good idea for the FTC to have this authority (and it may be, that is a different discussion than what this post is about), than it should be a bill on its own (or with other closely related items). There are several reasons for this, the most important being that it would allow voters to know who was for this particular provision and who was against it. Furthermore following the link to the article about the provision (written by what appears to be someone who favors the provision) looks like it would have delegated to the FTC what is very close to law making authority (which correctly belongs in Congress).
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