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On the Web, Children Face Intensive Tracking

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the sniffing-out-the-jailbait dept.

Google 107

theodp writes "In the latest installment of their online privacy investigation, the Wall Street Journal reports that children face intensive tracking on the web, finding that popular children's websites install more tracking technologies on personal computers than do the top websites aimed at adults. In an analysis of 50 sites popular with US teens and children, the WSJ found that Google — whose execs recently lectured parents on online child safety — placed the most tracking files overall."

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Advertising? (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630326)

Considering what sort of advertisements you see on "children's" TV stations, is this any surprise? Children are targets for marketing firms, since they can whine and nag their parents in ways that the firms cannot.

Re:Advertising? (3, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630442)

It's not a surprise no but this is Slashdot where we understand these sorts of topics. The Wall Street Journal is not geared towards only those that have a clue about these things.

Now install Ghostery (to begin with) and make sure you are clearing all cookies and cache after every session. Yeah it's annoying but what does my kid need a login for any website for?

Re:Advertising? (1)

Soilworker (795251) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630732)

And thanks to this, shitty artists like lady gaga, britney and justin bieber makes millions.

Re:Advertising? (1)

Soilworker (795251) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630744)

dah, wrong reply button.

My comment was about parent's.

Re:Advertising? (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630918)

Artists like who???

Ok. I've heard of them. I didn't know Bieber was an artist, but I've heard the name somewhere.

That raises the question. What kind of music DO people here like?

music tastes (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 4 years ago | (#33631776)

What kind of music DO people here like?

The core of my collection is straight-up classic rock, but I've got plenty of other stuff, albeit in varying quantities.
Most everything short of super-hardcore punk and metal. (Led Zeppelin, my overall favorite, is towards the heavier end of what I listen to; for some people, it's on the lighter end. :P) Do have a fair amount of punk and metal that's good but not uber-extreme.

Re:Advertising? (3, Funny)

ndege (12658) | more than 4 years ago | (#33631888)

;) Lady Java [youtube.com]

Re:Advertising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33631928)

AC/DC, The Kinks, Green Day, The Cars, REO Speedwagon, Journey, Rise Against, Styx...

Re:Advertising? (1)

Anarki2004 (1652007) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632164)

That raises the question. What kind of music DO people here like?

Heavy fucking metal

\m/

Re:Advertising? (1)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632298)

Classical music. Favorites include Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, Bach. I do like some of Hanz Zimmer's stuff too.

Re:Advertising? (1)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632538)

Classic rock + classical + video game music + trance + heavy metal + weird al parodies.

Re:Advertising? (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632722)

from some tasty sufy stuff like link wray, to velvet underground, to some classic non soft rock to punk,alternative 80's, goth, EBM,Electro,Noize,futurepop,aggrotek but bsically anything i think is good, non chart, mass consumer crapioca

Re:Advertising? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#33633026)

I don't know about him, but as for me /pulls up list of most played/ Rammstein, Zombie (both White and Rob), clutch, Korn, W.A.S.P (especially Crimson Idol, WAY underrated IMHO), and if I'm feeling nostalgic some hair metal like Warrant, Crue, Ratt, etc.

As for TFA, that is why it is important to know what and where your kids go on the web and to lock down and keep your PC clean. I suggest to my customers they use either Winutilities Free [ylcomputing.com] or my favorite Tuneup Utilities [tune-up.com] which automates the chore of cleaning out cookies and other junk, and of course to keep kids on low rights accounts. One of the first things I did for my GF was set up her niece with a low rights account and voila! All the spyware laden game junk magically stayed away.

But is anyone really surprised by TFA? Hell watch childrens TV and it feels like nothing but one giant commercial. Advertisers learned a long time ago if you get the kids you can get the parent's wallets, just look at how all the stores just about skip Halloween and go straight for Xmas these days.

Re:Advertising? (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 4 years ago | (#33637514)

Almost everything, from classical to heavy metal, including lots of jazz, blues, soul, funk, rock, etc. Also African, Brazilian, Cuban, Spanish and Portuguese, both traditional and modern. I'm not a lot into electronic music, with the exception of hip-hop. I also listen to commercial stuff, too.

I'm not concerned if my kids listen to Lady Gaga or not. But if, when they reach adulthood, they only know that, it's tragic. Critical thinking and an open mind are essential in a proper education. And it's these that make the corporations shiver, because it makes it a lot more difficult to sell their industrially pre-fabricated shit.

Re:Advertising? (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 4 years ago | (#33631738)

Bieber's squarely in that category, but the audiences of the other two are somewhat older, although hardly middle-aged. [AFAIK]

You insensitive clod! (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 4 years ago | (#33631828)

And thanks to this, shitty artists like Lady Gaga, Britney [Spears] and Justin Bieber make millions.

You insensitive clod, one of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong; Lady Gaga in particular has had better moments (although not all the time). I shall refrain from a YouTube link bombardment.

Re:Advertising? (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630758)

Yeah it's annoying but what does my kid need a login for any website for?

That goes for adults too - I say with my Slashdot account ....

Re:Advertising? (2, Interesting)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632088)

WSJ IS read by people that have a clue.

The problem is that the people that "have a clue" will be calling up their marketing departments to ask why THEIR company is not collecting this critical information to justify the large cost companies have to pay for web hosting.

Re:Advertising? (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 4 years ago | (#33631094)

I for one am socked that people equate advertisement and tracking so readily.

Tracking is not necessary for advertisements dammit.

Re:Advertising? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#33633166)

Not to mention their tracking is totally lame. you'd think they'd notice if only one time of the week or month they look at things completely different and out of character when they're not logged in they'd get the clue that maybe, just maybe, there is more than one user. I love how when friends or family comes over and asks to use one of my computers Amazon will send me weird emails and ads for crap.

Its like "Hey, you like cheesy horror novels!"(nope,mom) "Ohhh...then you like Square PS2 games!" (nope, youngest nephew) "Then you like cookbooks and native American decorations!"(nope,GF, try again)"Uhhh...books about Jesus and chemistry?" (nope,oldest nephew) "Damn...cheesy guitar pedals?" (nope, best friend and you suck)

You'd think that when i log into my account they would use my purchasing history instead of cookies but nooo, that might make sense. Instead it is like the old MSN search where you'd type "D" and it'd be like "Drums, dollies, Decoupage!". I swear these morons going by cookies alone must think I have more personalities than Sybil, or the most eclectic taste in world history.

Re:Advertising? (3, Interesting)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 4 years ago | (#33631218)

plus a childs brain is not fully developed, and advertisers use psychological tricks to force children to think they need things. i think we need to really look at the restricting the speech of advertising companies.

Re:Advertising? (1)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 4 years ago | (#33631898)

no they have really good lobbyist`s look how long it took tobacco companies to stop having cartoons in their ads so now their ads are for teenagers with money and emotional issues

And who is surprised by this? (5, Interesting)

PerformanceDude (1798324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630344)

Most of the children's websites have "premium features" that you can only get to if you buy that virtual fluffy penguin or gold coin. This is just the nag factor at play. I have lost count of the number of times my kids have gone to sites like "Moshi Monster" or "Ella and Max" and found they could only play so far before they need to ask mum or dad for money to go further. If you as a parent can't face the tantrum that goes with the little darlings not being able to play the next level - then your only option is to pay up. Thankfully I can say no, but there are a lot of spoilt brats out there, so there is a market... With market comes cross-promotion opportunities, so tracking enhances the ability to profit. Simple really.

Re:And who is surprised by this? (5, Interesting)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630440)

I don't know if the marketing people have kids, but if they do it would serve them right if they get nice big drum sets and a lifetime supply of sugary candy with double caffeine.

Honestly, a bunch of adults ganging up to deceive children should be deeply ashamed of themselves and society should heap scorn upon them. They are the stereotypical mustache twirling villain that steals the baby's candy just because they can.

Re:And who is surprised by this? (1, Troll)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630488)

I say the same about ALL marketing pukes. seriously, they should be ashamed of how they make a living. they are paid liars, when it comes down to it, plain and simple.

almost anything else is more honorable than being in sales or marketing.

such a waste of a human brain.

Re:And who is surprised by this? (3, Interesting)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630734)

The sad thing is, there is a legitimate place for sales and marketing, they've just been so busy racing to the bottom for so long that most of what they do now has nothing to do with legitimate practice.

It's to the point where a perfectly honest and reasonable seller can't remain in business unless they tell the truth in a sufficiently over the top way that it becomes gonzo.

Re:And who is surprised by this? (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632360)

It seems the marketing department had mod points in spades today.

Re:And who is surprised by this? (4, Interesting)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630662)

In this case I dont think it's that nefarious. I think it's easily many layers of middle managers trying to do a bit better than the last guy tossing on one more layer of tracking until you get a hairball of cookies, HTML5 DBs, Flash LSOs, etc. Most do not seem particularly intrusive alone, but added together the big picture is kinda creepy.

Still the WSJ article makes it sound like 50 mom and pop web sites using Google Analytics. They don't seem to differentiate that two cookies does not equal twice the tracking. One cookie is all you need to track many metrics.

The stuff I find really unnerving is the social network mining and analysis. The economist had a great story on it: http://www.economist.com/node/16910031?story_id=16910031 [economist.com]

Now this isn't just cookies on facebook, but actually recoding how long people talk on the phone to identify them as "influencers".

Between things like Radian6, Experian/Equifax/TansUnion, and RingLeaderDigital [arstechnica.com] , there is some very shady tracking going on. And some of the companies are most definitely trying to tie in personally identifiable information. Certainly, the credit unions are committed to keeping just about every fact they can about you. They mine publicly available court records, work with your credit card companies, and they would love to know your browsing history. Their whole purpose it to create as complete a profile of you as possible. They say they delete the info in 10 years but I think some have been caught being less than diligent.

Anyways, for SOME of the more reputable* ad companies you can opt-out here: http://www.networkadvertising.org/managing/opt_out.asp [networkadvertising.org] .

*Relative term

Re:And who is surprised by this? (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630786)

There is an element of frog boiling to it, but honestly if the people involved actually respected others as human beings instead of seeing them as marks it would be clearly apparent that they had gone too far.

We may be in the process of finding out how long a society can hold together when it's based on mutual dis-respect.

Re:And who is surprised by this? (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630900)

An excellent point but I think that's been a staple of human beings throughout history. On a brighter note, so have things like sharing and working co-cooperatively. To me there is some solace in the fact that we recognize this as what it is though, and that we are able to here discuss it, and shine the light of day on such activities. Though the pessimist in me wonders how much it can have real impact. Slashdot is excellent at being a real technology influencing discussion site though, IMO.

Re:And who is surprised by this? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#33631460)

You are correct that it's not new, but it is becoming more rampant and carries less stigma than in the past. That may just be because we are a much larger and interconnected society than ever before on one side but less face to face than ever before on the other.

It's not hopeless though. If enough people give it a moment's thought, the blowback as consumers recognize just how disrespectful advertisers are could correct much of the problem (or at least make them pretend to be civil). The difficulty is that there's so much disrespect shouting at each of us from every angle you can give yourself a stroke thinking about it.

Maybe that's why there's so many people on anti-depressants these days.

Re:And who is surprised by this? (1)

Transaction7 (1527003) | more than 4 years ago | (#33633458)

If either political party or the officials and candidtes both palm off on us were honest, competent, gave a Continental about mere citizens and their children, and the fundamental, albeit unenumerated, privacy rights without which a free democratic country canot exist and function, this would have been stopped early on, or, less effectively, right now, and all lsuch collections of data would be seized in dawn raids tomorrow and destroyed. One solution might be for somebody to do a thorough data mining job on all our incumnbent and would-be elected and high appointed officials, and those at the companies involved in or helping with this, and start by publicly disclosing the whole lot about a few of the worst and announce that more would follow until we citizens get what everybody I know, liberals, conservatives, and libertarians alike, really want from Congresss and the companies with regard to privacy protection. Not everything that adds to the bottom line of anything that calls itself a business enterprise is either legitimately conservative or good policy. A lot of data on individuals held by government and business entities also happens to be false and defamatory. The CIA took over 30 years after we caught them to quit lyingto my Senator and me about having me on a list of Soviet spies and sympathizers, which was not only libelous and could easily have been checked but ludicrous. One solution might be to flood the system with false and scandalously defamatory data, some of which couuld be obvious and some not. Years ago, I was general counsel to a bank and discovered, for exmple, that we had amde a six-figure loan to the broke flake son of a wealthy family thecreditbureau had combined files and listed as married to hnis mother, a piece of data that got interesting when I asked him if he was still marriedf to and living with her in the process of trying to collect. I also saw the scandalous libel about the socialite daughter of the then smaller credit bureau's owner that a crook had planted todemonstrate his access while rigging his own credit report and seling that service to others. I use a lot of ad-supported services on line but am very displeased that researching things like child sexual abuse, mental illness, and substance abuse, money laundering, or whatever in my strange and eclectic law practice, etc., got me flooded with ads I don't want for things for which I'm not in the market, for years.

Re:And who is surprised by this? (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#33634978)

There is an element of frog boiling to it, but honestly if the people involved actually respected others as human beings instead of seeing them as marks it would be clearly apparent that they had gone too far.

If a marketer respected others as human beings he wouldn't be peddling crap to them. Being a succesful salesman requires you to see people as prey.

We may be in the process of finding out how long a society can hold together when it's based on mutual dis-respect.

The aristocrats have ever considered the serfs as servants at best and farm animals at worst. The serfs, in turn, hate their vampiric masters and rejoice whenever they face trouble and death. That's how it's always been, that's how it'll always be. Never once in human history has society been based on anything but oppression of the weak by the powerful, the excuses used to justify that, and the resulting hatred.

In other words: 10,000 years and counting.

Re:And who is surprised by this? (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630806)

networkadvertising .... I guess they do it by IP? So everytime my ISP assigns me a new one, I'll have to go and check all those boxes again?

Re:And who is surprised by this? (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#33631020)

I just used it and they said they put opt-out cookies. Which is fine as long as the opt-out cookies have a generic ID like 000, and not a GUID.

I actually just checked too, and in the process cleared all my cookies by accident. So I went to re-opt-out, and it did indeed put a ton of cookies on my drive that look at a cursory checking of about 15 of the ~100 or so, were all generic values and did not contain a GUID. I did not check them all, however.

Re:And who is surprised by this? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632708)

That suggests one of several things. The GUID could be a needle in the haystack. The numbers all taken together could be an encoded GUID. Or, there could be ~100 independent tracking networks that each have their own cookie that needed disabling. That or the quality of coding by the lowest bidder has hit an all-time low.

And is it surprising? (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#33634900)

Actually, well, is this surprising?

The whole culture of the west at this time expects or even legally demands that a corporation's _only_ goal or morals should be chasing the holy dollar, no matter who gets hurt. You can even be sued by shareholders if you didn't do a deal with the devil that would maximize their earnings. We're at a point where in a poll people even said they would dump toxic chemicals in a river if it meant more bucks for the shareholder.

So is it any surprise that they end up with a bunch of people who are capable of doing just that? I mean, corporate decisions are taken by humans at some point or another, and if you proclaim it good and desirable that a company has all the morals of a "stereotypical mustache twirling villain that steals the baby's candy just because they can" (and in fact can be sued by the investors if they purposefully failed to capitalize on the lucrative market of candy stolen from babies), is it surprising that it ends up using exactly the kind of people that would fit that stereotype? I mean, _someone_ has to do it or the shareholder doesn't get his extra cent on his stock value.

Re:And is it surprising? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#33639222)

A bit of a correction, It's not our entire culture, just the noisiest segment, dominated by corporate interests and greed that demands those things and so willingly treats people like marks.

As a society, we have unfortunately allowed the psychopaths to take charge.

Re:And who is surprised by this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33630452)

What would it take for you to say yes? Please fill out our quick survey for a free Moshi Monster for your child!

Re:And who is surprised by this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33630654)

If you as a parent can't face the tantrum that goes with the little darlings not being able to play the next level - then your only option is to pay up.

When did society change to where parents are servants to the children, and not the other way around?

Re:And who is surprised by this? (1)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | more than 4 years ago | (#33631074)

It is natural for parents to try to care for their child's needs and delight in their joy. If you honestly think that children are to be used as servants, then I pity your children.

Re:And who is surprised by this? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33631340)

Apparently you missed all of history prior to the last 60 years.

Re:And who is surprised by this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33634174)

If you honestly think that children are to be used as servants, then I pity your children.

I don't think his statement was meant to be taken as children literally being servants to their parents, but rather to say that it should be the parents dictating terms to the kid, not the kid dictating terms to the parents.

i've seen this before (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 4 years ago | (#33635002)

"C is for cookie. That's good enough for me."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ye8mB6VsUHw [youtube.com]

"Oh! Cookie! Cookie! Cookie starts with C."

all our kids need to know about internet privacy at an early age.

OMFG WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33630368)

But then Google is, isn't it !!

Think of the children! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33630380)

FAP FAP FAP...

Re:Think of the children! (-1, Troll)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630414)

What the fuck is wrong with you?

Re:Think of the children! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33630486)

If you know what the word "fap" means, then you too are one of them.

Much like the others who drool over and beat off to jailbait and then project [wikipedia.org] their self-loathing all on everybody else.

You're on step on the path to becoming the next Mark Foley [wikipedia.org]

Re:Think of the children! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33631090)

Pedophilia, mostly.

Re:Think of the children! (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#33634050)

I think people today are overly sensitive. Not you creat3d, but the mods who seem to be offended at your outrage.

I have no problem with sites using Cookies (5, Insightful)

HockeyGuy (1864828) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630408)

Its foolish to say cookies are harmful they are a technology that is required by many online applications and if the end user wants to they can always turn them off or block specific sites from placing a cookie in your cache.

They are not the same as malware.

Cookies are not Malware they can not enter your Operating System and send data to anyone.

What some people are paranoid about is Opening Google Webmail and then browsing porn sites or other not so nice sites....

Hey idiots WEB SERVERS HAVE ACCESS LOGS the sites you visit already know every file you touch on their site ...

Not to mention routers and Squid servers used by your ISP can track all of your actions... and that has nothing to do with cookies.

WAKE UP!

Re:I have no problem with sites using Cookies (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33630542)

You could tell an awfull lot about a person or family by knowing everything they visit online.
A single site operator can't tell all sites you visit. Your ISP can, and if they are sharing that data it's a little scary.
Google knows everything you do.

Re:I have no problem with sites using Cookies (1)

Rijnzael (1294596) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630640)

The thing is, tracking cookies allow you to be tracked across all the points of internet connectivity you use (in the case of mobile devices) and even after new IP address leases from your ISP. It's completely persistent, whereas linking me to log entries I generate on a remote web server would be difficult unless you had every IP address and location of connectivity I've ever used.

Re:I have no problem with sites using Cookies (2, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630856)

It's not just cookies in place to keep track of user state. If you read the article, they did a fairly in-depth investigation, showing that these websites are tracking user-information and selling it to third parties (they confronted one company, who denied it until they presented their evidence). Since this article is talking about children, it's not like that they are worried about porn-sites. Did you read the article at all? If my ISP is tracking my browsing and selling that info to third parties, I'm going to be upset about that too. It's ok to be upset about one thing, and another thing that is not quite as bad.

Re:I have no problem with sites using Cookies (1)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 4 years ago | (#33631970)

"Since this article is talking about children, it's not like that they are worried about porn-sites" what about the parents who use the same computer just at night? and it also depends no the cut off age for children is

Re:I have no problem with sites using Cookies (1)

halowolf (692775) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632416)

Believe me parents should be worried about porn sites, as some porn sites market to children. All is well if you don't mind your child visiting porn but some use deceptive practices to make kids click on porn links by putting in same safe cutesy image link and redirecting them to something other than what they think they are getting.

My uncle got caught out by this recently with one of his grandchildren (10 years old) so I educated him on the use of whitelists and setting up an account for the grandchildren to use with a list of approved sites rather than relying on a blacklist system. A number of other tech savvy parents I know also run separate accounts for the kids with time and whitelist restrictions to make sure the kids get the internet experience they want their kids to have and avoiding the traps put out there for kids.

Re:I have no problem with sites using Cookies (2, Insightful)

mccrew (62494) | more than 4 years ago | (#33631314)

Hey idiots WEB SERVERS HAVE ACCESS LOGS the sites you visit already know every file you touch on their site ...

Idiots? Really?

Did you read the article? Of course a single site can track whatever you do on that single site. Welcome to 1996.

The issue here is that third parties know what you do on EACH and EVERY site, and even if they claim to collect anonymous data, they are able to create scarily accurate profiles of individual users.

Re:I have no problem with sites using Cookies (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 4 years ago | (#33631604)

Does it matter? They do evil things with the data like making search results more effective, ads less annoying, and helping keep services free and prices low by allowing the people actually providing your web experience to optimize theirvability to make a profit. Do you think everything can keep coming to you at such low costs to you without somebody being able to find a profit somewhere? You're not being tracked unless you're purposely using the web.

Even if you can pass laws to keep all tracking from being done by private companies, forcing us all to pay a lot kore for Internet services, the government will still track you and they're the ones most likely to be dangerous. I'd worry more about the huge AT&T tap where they record everything you do in their jumbo database and pipe it over to the NSA.

Re:I have no problem with sites using Cookies (2, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632042)

My habits, my data, my profile are worth money.

If you want that data to use for your profile, to sell on, to profit from in whatever form, you ask my permission at the very least. And whilst some paranoia of government is irritating, I find that helping an industry (advertising) that long ago made the transition from just annoying to actually abusive is against my politics.

Isn't it funny how it's the opposite when Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33634096)

Isn't it funny how it's the opposite when Google is taking snippets of copyrighted stuff available on the internet and making money off the conglomeration and that stuff is "owned" by a corporation.

In that case, it's "Gimme my cut, google, if you're making money off my stuff, I WANT MY CUT".

But here when it's personal stuff for individuals, it's all fair to copy it, collect it and sell on for a profit. "WHERE'S MY CUT" doesn't seem to appeal to anyone who, say, applauded news sites getting in on Google's profits.

Re:I have no problem with sites using Cookies (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632022)

It's not so much the individual sites.

It's the fact that everyone includes and image or a small from from quantserve, google analytics and/or doubleclick and various advertising tracking services.

That, I don't like. Fine, keep track of what I do on your site, but don't surreptitiously have my browser tell all sorts of third parties where it's going too.

I know the ISP can and probably does record everywhere I go. But they are bound to keep the information a secret without explicit permission to share it, IIRC (EU law). Othe sites gaining that information in an underhanded way, information of monetary value that I have not given my permission to have them collect, let alone have them share and sell on, well screw that.

I now block pretty much any third party analytics, images or scripts as a matter of course. Cookies are whitelist-only.

Re:I have no problem with sites using Cookies (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632256)

"Its foolish to say cookies are harmful they are a technology that is required by many online applications and if the end user wants to they can always turn them off or block specific sites from placing a cookie in your cache."

Like most free-market arguments, the validity of this depends on the customer having knowledge of the issue at hand. In this case, the vast majority do not. Particularly so for children.

Surprised parent was modded insightful.

Re:I have no problem with sites using Cookies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33634010)

Cookies can be used the same as malware IDIOT! (I can yell too!) All it takes is 2 companies to agree to use the same cookie. Voila! Going to google.com may record your browser, OS, username, passwords, etc in a cookie. Going to a company that has paid to use that cookie, their website accesses that same cookie. It is not foolishness. Are there worse tracking mechanisms? Yes, but just to ignore cookies is the foolishness you so hate. In fact there is no reason to have cookies other than to track you. If websites wanted to just save your preferences for a site they could have you login and store those preferences on their own server.

What the? (3, Insightful)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630434)

This seems to be great for grabbing headlines, but what exactly does Google track that others dont and how does Google know who is a kid and who isnt?

Re:What the? (5, Insightful)

angiasaa (758006) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630562)

Ah, good point there! As far as I can guess, the only way google can "guess" at the childishness of the user is by tracking the sites visited and drawing conclusions from that.

This, as you suggest, is merely a headline hook. After all, no self-respecting human being ought to be staking their lives on the Wall Street Journal. Goodness knows how much flack they've already taken on other reports, and how much more of it they can and will take. :)

Back to the point though, any site that gives up a cookie does so for tracking reasons. If most people on the planet use one google service or another, it's highly likely that most machines would be eating a lot of google cookies. Pure common sense there!

I really don't see the how storing a cookie on a kids computer would be any more (if at all) dangerous than storing cookies on adults computer. :|

Just sensational media hype this.. Ah, there's my grain of salt! :)

Re:What the? (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630778)

You gotta love that they also tossed in "one of the kids sites used to be a porn site!" which is almost wholly irrelevant to the story. It's basically a "bad people are on the internet! someone think of the children!" story, with a dash of "who would have thought Google was involved with bad people?" And very light on any actual understanding of the tech.

Indeed, TFA was sensationalist tripe.

Re:What the? (4, Interesting)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630922)

Actually, it's not. The site K8 is co-owned by xnxx, a porn forum. xnxx links traffic from their porn forum to the K8 kids site. All things considered, I'd rather not send my kids to a site pre-populated with people who spend a lot of time chatting about porn. More to the point of the story, these aren't people who care about education, kids, etc. It's all business. Which is fine, but I think I'll stick to pbs.org, thanks.

Re:What the? (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#33631114)

It's unrelated to cookie tracking was the point. You also seem to have fallen victim to the article's sensationalism. y8.com might be a bad site but WSJ used the weasel words that y8.com "has had ties to a pornography site, xnxx.com, according to Internet registration records." and you added your own conclusion that they were forwarding perverts from xnxx to y8. For all we know it could be they used the same hosting or registrar or had the same domain squatter.

I wouldn't blame you for sticking to pbs, and avoiding sites like this (hell, I would too) but you're (and the WSJ is) playing fast and loose with the facts.

Re:What the? (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632188)

in reality they are probably both owned by the same marketing firm under different names to keep people from freaking out.

On the other hand, that kind of link would be a good thing, because the firm running the kids pages would be able to track who shouldn't be there.... especially if they start seeing inappropriate content posted on the kids site, they would know who's 12-year olds being punks and who is adults and needs to be shut down.

Re:What the? (1)

Velex (120469) | more than 4 years ago | (#33634160)

All things considered, I'd rather not send my kids to a site pre-populated with people who spend a lot of time chatting about porn.

Hi,

I'm 27 and all things considered I may never have children, but sometimes I hope. I was wondering why not? I remember that kids on my bus around 4th or 5th grade knew what a pussy was when I did not, and I was ashamed of that. They went on to be much more socially successful than I was, and they probably reproduced, when I did not. If I do have children, could you please outline why I shouldn't? I can see some potential counterarguments, but I'm interested in what a real parent would say.

Thank you.

Re:What the? (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 4 years ago | (#33634210)

any site that gives up a cookie does so for tracking reasons.

Not true. Cookies can be used for a lot of things, like remembering settings from one page to the next. Yeah, technically you can say that's "tracking" (need to track users so we can apply the correct settings for them), but that's not really what most people mean when they talk about tracking with cookies.

Re:What the? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33630582)

That's obvious. The Google Ice Cream Truck division of the Google Earth mapping expedition.

Re:What the? (1)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630910)

They know who the kids are because they watch who hangs out at kid sites. And once you leave the kid site and drag that tracking cookie around the web for a while, you can create profiles of the headlines, keywords etc that they gravitate to. Link up with a social network, and you can pin down age, gender, etc. All of this serves to amplify and specialize the pitches that then show up on, say, advertising on the side of school buses. It's a highly weaponized version of a long running battle to fill your kid's brains up with attention grabbing crap. Teachers and parents don't stand a chance.

Time to make Ghostery a required plug in for schools and houses with kids.

Re:What the? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630982)

a) I'm pretty sure Google does not have any processes designed to extract personal information from movements.
If you do have some information indicating they do then please share, otherwise the hypothetical stuff is irrelevant.

b) Why do kids have their own computer? If they dont then their tracking cookie is being shared by everyone else in the house.

Re:What the? (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632240)

Google's tracking is very good. I have signed on to Slashdot or checked my gmail at work, done some quick news surfing, where I am very careful what I surf and search, and had my "auto guess" results on Google's home page start pulling up stuff I searched for at home, even after doing "logout" from any sites I had to log into.... it was quite freaky as it was stuff that there was "no way" should have been showing up because I don't use that machine for any NSFW activities at all. It had to be Google picking up my pattern of things like logging into slashdot, engadget, etc. Since then I am very careful where I go, and what sites I even use my login at, because I don't want certain stuff like all the searches for a certain actress and "hot grits" showing up, even accidentally.

Re:What the? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632286)

It is impossible for Google to see what sites you log in to. The only inkling Google can get is if you happen to Google for 'slashdot' and click on the result to get to the page.

If you sign in your Google Account both at work and at home then that is how it transferred your behaviour over.

And even then, Google has not extracted any personal information from your behaviour, which was my original point. Behaviour yes but not your birth date or anything like that.

1999 Called (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33630514)

They want their headline back.

Seriously people, we've been there, done this several times before, and well over a decade ago at that. This is just pure and simple FUD to drive uneducated fear and drive up sales of a magazine. And whats this? Free advertising for WSJ here on Slashdot's front page. Look who wins?

This is not about protecting Kids ITS SOCIALISM (-1, Troll)

HockeyGuy (1864828) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630522)

This is the problem the EU wants to ban all cookies so they can kill advertising run by Google.
Basically they want to kill google the same way they want to kill microsoft and its because they can't control the best companies in tech with their socialism

Without a cookie Advertisers can not be given views and click counts.
However banning all cookies means shopping carts and online web aps wont work anymore.
THE PEOPLE BEHIND IT THE BAN ARE STUPID
Its all about money to them and nothing to do about protecting kids.

You better bet that every ISP in europe and the world for that matter is using a transparent Squid Server that logs every dialup, cable modem, fios connection and they use that data along with their IP logs to link all useage to a specific home or connection...

They know every file you download... every site you visit... every torrent you connect to..

This is not about protecting kids

Re:This is not about protecting Kids ITS SOCIALISM (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33630570)

Stand back, everyone! We have an angry white man on the loose!

Re:This is not about protecting Kids ITS SOCIALISM (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630626)

His anger, sex and race make him wrong?

When I was a kid, I had an appetite for "bad" ... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33630686)

People that want to "protect" their kids are willing to destroy the freedom of everyone around them just so they can prevent their kids of expressing the same curiosities as they did when they were young.

When I was at the park, I always hid behind the wall watching the two highschoolers "make out." When I wasn't watching the kissing, I was pooring a bottle of my piss down the ant hill that was "out of bounds" as the teacher punnished me for wandering beyond. When the entire school was on recess at the park, I was the first to run to the benches to see if some "weirdo" left his magazine of unsual Hindu "connect-the-dot" porno.

Now that the internet is here, I can now get back to dreaming about sheep instead of titties. Why do people want to take that away from me then, and then expect me to do the same to my kids if I had any? I would want them to burn theirselves out as soon as possible as I did just so it would be easier to concentrate on a career or something. I sure know that when I was 13 years old, I would pull fixtures or mountings of certain appliences to see if they were fuckable or rubbable, and as soon as I was done with the FAP-worthy material, then I could get back to homework or some constructive activity for 5 or 10 hours without thinking of the ladies again.

Oh God-damn all of you for trying to take this from me. To 4Chan I goooooooo! !O_o!

Re:When I was a kid, I had an appetite for "bad" . (2, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#33634108)

People that want to "protect" their kids are willing to destroy the freedom of everyone around them just so they can prevent their kids of expressing the same curiosities as they did when they were young.

Sir, I am in awe! However do you manage to pack so much fail into a single sentence?

I know several people who want to protect their kids, and no, they are not willing to destroy the freedom of everyone else around them. Also, they want to protect their kids because, well, that's what parents are hard-wired to do! They see dangers, they want to protect their children from it. Is that really so difficult to comprehend?

Conflict? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33630680)

the WSJ found that Google — whose execs recently lectured parents on online child safety — placed the most tracking files

Well I'm no fan of tracking but I really doubt Google were planning on doing anything dangerous. There's no obvious conflict between using tracking cookies to get stats for ad sales and being keen on online safety for children.

Poor kids (1)

camcorder (759720) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630738)

I always wondered how someone can't "protect" himself/herself could protect others (ie. their children). Companies know that, and exploit it, nothing new out there on the Earth.

Uber Users @ Google Track Kids? (2, Funny)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630766)

I thought only one weirdo did that at Google and he was fired last week.

AND? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33630770)

When did privacy and safety become the same thing?

Links to porn (2, Interesting)

hex0D (1890162) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630822)

Did anyone else find the bit about y8.com having connections to a porn site ridiculous and hysterical? I mean, so what? The magazine rack where I bought my comics as a kid had adult magazines on the top shelf, the local video store had a back room with adult videos, etc. As long as kids aren't being directed to adult content, whats the big deal?

"popular children's websites"... (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 4 years ago | (#33630898)

Soooo, since when is good a Popular CHILDRENS website. Pretty sure it's a general age website.

What has the web been upgraded to? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#33631076)

We have flash cookies and now and the database work.
http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2010/09/rldguid-tracking-cookies-in-safari-database-form.ars
On safari I have to have Safari Coookies to clean out the 'cookies' and flash. What hope does some end user with a new computer have? This tracking code is so persistent.
Without 3rd party code, you are a totally open book to any site you visit.

especially by 4chan (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 4 years ago | (#33631426)

...the users, not the admins
Jessi Slaughter [youtube.com]

Pedophilia by any other name... (-1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#33631498)

... is still pedophilia. Is attempting to exploit children (and their parents) economically not also deserving of the label "pedophilia"? Clearly certain corporate evildoers are in fact sufficiently obsessed with children to go to a lot of trouble to deceive said children (and their parents) about their true intentions in publishing Web sites for "fun" and offering all sorts of things to break down what little skepticism and critical thinking the children may have developed. That sounds very much like pedophilia to me, even if the goal isn't to rape them physically.

Re:Pedophilia by any other name... (1)

vidnet (580068) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632846)

Is attempting to exploit children (and their parents) economically not also deserving of the label "pedophilia"?

No. Don't lump aggressive marketing and sexual abuse together.

Re:Pedophilia by any other name... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632974)

If that's all you think it is, "aggressive marketing", I don't think you fully understand just how ethically corrupt some of these corporations are. It's not just marketing; their goal is nothing short of short-circuiting the critical thinking skills of children. They want an unrestricted back door into the reward centers of children. They want the same of every adult as well, of course, but at least adults have arguably had a chance to develop some mental defenses. To target children knowing that they are naive and critically vulnerable is exactly what sexual pedophiles do.

You need to break the word down into its etymological parts and look at the definitions of the root parts; "phile" and "philia" do not strictly demand a sexual intent. If that were true then an "audiophile" would be something quite different than how we define it, wouldn't it? The problem is the common perversion of the true definitions. I didn't misuse the word.

Obligatory Firefox and plugins list (5, Informative)

markzip (1313025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632150)

Perhaps as the WSJ continues its wrong-headed, sensationalistic and, indeed disingenuous* "What Do They Know" series they might just consider telling their frightened readers how to deal with this supposed danger.

But no, the only reference to browsing tools comes in the rather anemic comments section.

Note to WSJ: Next time you scream "won't they think of the kids..." please tell your readers to:

Use Firefox with the following plugins:

  • AdBlock (and encourage people to disable it on sites which they visit often)
  • Flashblock (to prevent flash objects and ads from running unsolicited)
  • NoScript (& selectively enable scripts on your important sites. Temporarily enable just the "main" site for the kiddies game sites)
  • Beef Taco (over 100 opt-out cookies in an instant! Easier and more thorough than going to the NAI site)
  • Better Privacy (to deal with LSOs/flash cookies)
  • CS Lite (simple cookie control)
  • Google Analytics Opt-out Browser addon (http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout - also available for IE & Chrome)
  • Ref Control (control what is sent as refferer, set to block or forge)
  • Track Me Not (if you are really paranoid, sends not quite random search requests in the background)

And use a host file with known tracking company addresses nulled

If my technophobic boss could do all this after one short training session, then WSJ readers can do it too.

*WSJ uses their own and outside scripting, places cookies and places partner tracking cookies, no? Also, if a reader has access behind the paywall, then the WSJ even knows the reader's credit card details.

Re:Obligatory Firefox and plugins list (2, Interesting)

Joe U (443617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632514)

I would like to add in using a ramdisk for temp files (Flash cookies) and on Windows an app like CCleaner, that can be run on login.

I've made Chrome pretty anonymous using those 2 tools and a batch file.

I also have my own internal DNS server to bypass my ISP and a VPN to another network that I run, most average users don't have that advantage, but it's possible.

It's hard to keep privacy.

Slashdot worse than Snazzyspace. (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#33632640)

Snazzyspace only tried three times to put a cookie on my machine. Slashdot tried 33 times up to the point I posted this message.

Hugo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33633660)

Go to any child and ask them brand names. You'll be scared.
A child's brain will suck up anything it comes across with, so this is the time to indoctrinate them with your brands.
By the time they got a little money to spend: they're yours!

For instance: Ask a kid which toy car he likes best. From a certain age (very soon) he will no longer say for instance : "the red one". He will say "The toyota / ferrari / volvo" whatever.
They are 0wned.

Huh? (1)

thethibs (882667) | more than 4 years ago | (#33634630)

What do tracking cookies have to do with safety? Did they find a bunch of pedophile sites leaving cookies on kids' computers?

Give us a break!

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