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Google/Facebook: Do-Not-Track Threatens CA Economy

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the subsidize-the-data-farmers dept.

Privacy 363

theodp writes "Google and Facebook are warning legislators of dire consequences if California passes a 'do-not-track' bill. The proposed law would require companies doing online business in the Golden State to offer an 'opt-out' privacy mechanism for consumers. Senate Bill 761 'would create an unnecessary, unenforceable and unconstitutional regulatory burden on Internet commerce,' reads the sky-is-falling protest letter bearing the stamp-of-disapproval from Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Amex, Acxiom, Experian, Allstate, Time-Warner, MPAA, ESA and others. 'The measure would negatively affect consumers who have come to expect rich content and free services through the Internet, and would make them more vulnerable to security threats.'"

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363 comments

MPAA and Google (4, Insightful)

x*yy*x (2058140) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057054)

Would you really want MPAA to get limitless power to track your every movement? What next, install tracking equipment and video cameras in your home so can MPAA can make sure you aren't making backups own your movies? After all, that would be really good for MPAA and barring such would "unnecessarily burden MPAA and movie studios business".

It's actually an interesting thing among slashthink. This is one thing Microsoft is doing right. You don't see Microsoft among the privacy invasive companies like MPAA, Time-Warner, Google, Facebook, ESA etc.. That's because they don't want to track your every movement. Microsoft sells you software. You buy it, they're happy, and you don't lose your privacy. Still most here think MS is evil and Google is some kind of white knight. Well, a few quotes [businessinsider.com] .. Eric Schmidt: "We try very hard to look like we're out of control. But in fact the company is very measured. And that's part of our secret.". And Schmidt [slashdot.org] : "If I look at enough of your messaging and your location, and use artificial intelligence, we can predict where you are going to go ... show us 14 photos of yourself and we can identify who you are.", and again [gawker.com] , "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

Yeah well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057132)

Everyone wants cool stuff. But nothing is free. It is just basic economics.

Re:Yeah well (3, Insightful)

nolife (233813) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057618)

People use the "cool" stuff because it is there and does not cost money. If there was a monetary charge for the same thing and no one used it, is that the fault of the people or the business offering. Do the people really lose in that situation? The business that does offer what someone wants and people are willing pay for it will be the winner for both groups.

Re:Yeah well (5, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057640)

The problem isn't that stuff isn't free, it's that the costs are purposely hidden.

Re:MPAA and Google (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057146)

"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

Then, perhaps they should stop using NDA's for every bloody thing they do. Oh, that's right. They aren't one of us "little people" (formerly known as peasants).

Anyway, even slashthink gave up on the idea that Google is some kind of white knight a long time ago. And only the gullible were convinced by Google's "Do No Evil" motto. Actually, a good rule of thumb is, take whatever positive messages a corporation is giving out (or politician, for that matter) and realize that they are going to do the opposite.

Google: "Do No Evil" - they do evil all the time and are turning into a corporate version of the STASI

Bush: "Ownership society" - only the rich really own anything now, the rest of us at best have the illusion of ownership

Obama: "Change" - we are getting the same shit we got under Bush
CAPTCHA: "scraping" - how appropriate

Re:MPAA and Google (0, Flamebait)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057352)

Republicans - "Freedom." See also "Arbeit Macht Frei."

Re:MPAA and Google (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057706)

There's no freedom like one gained in death.

Re:MPAA and Google (3, Informative)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057304)

Microsoft sells you software. You buy it, they're happy, and you don't lose your privacy.

I would argue with that, based on the amount of calling home Windows does, as well as the number of security holes in Windows enabling a breach of privacy...

Re:MPAA and Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057492)

Please provide references where data sent during "the amount of calling home Windows does" provided information that directly represented a specific person by name, age, etc.

We're waiting.

Re:MPAA and Google (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057522)

Microsoft Office/Windows Product Activation.

Re:MPAA and Google (4, Insightful)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057550)

Microsoft sells you software. You buy it, they're happy, and you don't lose your privacy.

Well, not really. First of all, you buy it and you do lose your privacy. Microsoft has been caught playing all kinds of tricks over the network. And it was among the first to try it. Others followed its example. A more accurate characterization is that if it can get away with it, it will.

But that's only one, rather generic, thing to worry about. What makes Microsoft special is its efforts to monetize DRM. This is something it has been building towards for over a decade now. It's naïve to think that software buyers are Microsoft's only customer. In fact you do see Microsoft hanging out with the likes of MPAA and Time-Warner. You're just not invited to the table.

MPAA with them? (5, Insightful)

conark (871314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057080)

That's not a good name to have associated with the rest. So much for Google not being evil. Maybe they should change their slogan to "Don't be unprofitable."

Re:MPAA with them? (1, Troll)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057422)

Well, a corporation's primary allegiance is to its shareholders,not to any random consumer, and their first task is to turn a profit, not to be the Goodie Good Guys.

Re:MPAA with them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057634)

Simultaneously the greatest strength and greatest weakness of a free market society.

The spectrum of profitability does not end at righteousness. It begins there.

Re:MPAA with them? (2)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057710)

Playing the Devil's Advocate here: Yeah, it does. Depending on which way you're looking from.

You can be profitable by being righteous, but generally, if you can shaft the customer to make more money, without having him find out and stop using your products, sooner or later, you'll be forced to. By others who are less moral than you.

Lesson one: there is no free lunch (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057098)

Lesson two: If it looks like there is a free lunch, think again. You're losing something worth more than cash up front.

On the one hand, they're right (5, Interesting)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057118)

The Californian economy is based on this stuff.

On the other hand, it seems strange that the new American economy is based entirely on

-hustling stuff via spam^H^H^H^Hemail marketing
-getting people to click on ads while penalizing sites that ask people to click on ads
-movies
-figuring out who you are/what you've bought so you can buy more of it.
-knowing who your friends are so you can be peer-pressured into buying more stuff.

It just seems that after you've figured out the basics of food production, housing, metals/commodities, transportation, there's nothing left except for group-brainstorming ethereal "value-adds" like the above.

Re:On the one hand, they're right (4, Insightful)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057258)

Amen. The notion that everyone is chasing each other's clicks to the bank is mystifying to me. Who's producing actual stuff?

The worst sites for me are the sites that have millions of electronic component part numbers listed on thousands of pages, but that don't sell any of these parts. WTF???!!!??

Of course, I'm looking for actual parts because I produce actual stuff to sell.

Re:On the one hand, they're right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057378)

Who's producing actual stuff?

Apple. IBM. Intel. HP. Dell (sort of, with servers).

Microsoft. Linux Torvalds and everyone else who rides his nuts.

Ford, GM, Chrysler.

US Navy Seals.

Re:On the one hand, they're right (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057484)

Who is producing actual stuff? Factories in China.

Who is farming clicks? Internet companies in the US.

If you are making stuff (or trying to) in the US I am sure you are running afoul of many environmental regulations and violating your worker's rights. You would be much better off having the stuff made in some far off land where they are alot more interested in money than preserving the environment.

Is that a pencil in your hand? Did you know that the State of California knows that there are materials in that pencil that can cause cancer and other illnesses?
Haven't you been keeping up with your regulation reading? Are all the safety notices properly posted in your office?

Re:On the one hand, they're right (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057488)

Your parents produced you. You are the product.

Base implementation (1)

purplie (610402) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057126)

Dear customers,

if you would like to opt out of these services, please click the CLOSE button at the top of your window.

Breaking News (-1, Troll)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057134)

Google just implemented an Alpha version of their new 'do not track'. It appeared on my home page today. There was a link that said Do Not Allow Google to Track My Info [goo.gl] . Worked like a charm as far as I can tell.

Re:Breaking News (3, Informative)

rgo (986711) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057166)

WARNING!!! TROLL POST.

Do not click the link of the parent post or your stomach will suffer!

Re:Breaking News (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057226)

Worse than Goatse.

Re:Breaking News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057264)

I never understood why people (especially on /.) would click on a shortened url. Even though my machine is pretty resistant to exploits and malware, blindly following links seems a bit like roulette to me. Not to mention the possibilites of the url leading to child porn or 2girls, goatse etc. what has been seen cannot be unseen.

Re:Breaking News (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057302)

I love how you got a +5 and I got a Troll mod. Definitely made my day :)

Re:Breaking News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057276)

Wow. Mods are idiots. The link goes to Bing.

Re:Breaking News (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057330)

You think bing is not doing the same fucking thing?

Are you stupid or do you work for them?

Re:Breaking News (-1, Troll)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057394)

It was a joke. Get the stick out of your ass.

Re:Breaking News (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057416)

You think bing is not doing the same fucking thing?

Are you stupid or do you work for them?

I think he was just trying to be funny, and you read too much into it.

Facebook opt-out (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057136)

Facebook already has an opt-out privacy mechanism called no using it.

Re:Facebook opt-out (1)

Barrinmw (1791848) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057200)

yeah, and everyone can have a right to privacy...as long as they never leave their homes.

Re:Facebook opt-out (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057718)

This is like arguing that there's no need for traffic rules, because you don't have to ever get out of your home.

Re:Facebook opt-out (2)

Kymermosst (33885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057240)

That would also require you to not use any site that has Facebook integration. Just because you don't have a FB account doesn't mean they aren't tracking you.

Re:Facebook opt-out (1)

RooftopActivity (1991792) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057376)

rooftop@desktop:~$ cat /etc/hosts | grep facebook
0.0.0.0 facebook.com
0.0.0.0 www.facebook.com

Re:Facebook opt-out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057476)

Seems a tad redundant.
Belt AND suspenders?

Re:Facebook opt-out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057666)

It's not redundant. www.facebook.com and facebook.com are separate domain names. In fact it's not even sufficient. Facebook has several other domains with many different host names, so it's not really possible to catch them all in the hosts file. You can use an ad blocking plugin with more flexible rules or set up your own DNS server which overrides the Facebook domains. I use the DNS method and also block many other domains (Google Analytics, etc.).

Re:Facebook opt-out (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057628)

Of course, they use fbcdn.net for serving most of their scripts, including to other sites.

Re:Facebook opt-out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057444)

No, it just requires not loading their stuff from any site. It really isn't hard at all to block everything from FB, wherever it is, just like anyone with a shred of sense blocks doubleclick and google's trackers.

People who can't be arsed to do that are going be tracked, but I don't feel too sorry for them. If you don't care about the issue enough to take 5 minutes of your time to prevent it, then it really wasn't very important to you in the first place.

Your computer **is your computer**. It obeys you. If you do not wish it to load FB tracking, it will not do so. You get to tell it what to do. That's what it's for: so you can tell it what to do. If you don't want it to do X or Y, by all means, feel free.

It's like: if I don't like McDonalds, I don't have to go. Nobody is making me eat their food. Nobody is making me load FB's tracking shit either, so I don't.

Re:Facebook opt-out (1)

mobets (101759) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057676)

Google Chrome and Disconnect [google.com] .

Problem solved

Consumers (2)

Allicorn (175921) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057156)

I don't recall agreeing to the change from "Netizen" to "Consumer"...

Re:Consumers (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057222)

Welcome to the 21st century; living under that rock must have really been tough. These days, the Internet is not about netizens politely sharing information and having vigorous discussions, it is an adversarial game designed to extract the maximum amount of money from you.

Re:Consumers (0)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057328)

It is an adversarial game designed to extract the maximum amount of information from you. The money comes after the ??? step. So many companies are just buying and selling copies of information, and very few actually do anything useful that people will pay for with that information.

Re:Consumers (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057392)

Actually the money comes right after the information step. Business make more money when they advertise to people who are more likely to buy their products. Investors make more money when they spot the next trend before everyone else. Entertainment companies make more money when they know what sort of entertainment people actually want.

In the end, the goal is to get your money, which starts by knowing as much about you as possible. That is how MTV made so much money: they figured out how to get teenagers to tell them what sort of music they wanted, and then they advertised that music to those teenagers (and then they began advertising everything else too). That is why Google has made so much money: they figured out how to fine tune advertisements, how to find trends, and how to collect lots of information about consumers. That is why everyone thinks Facebook is worth so much money: people are literally handing their entire life stories over to Facebook and agreeing (perhaps without being aware of it) to allow Facebook to use that information in whatever manner they see fit.

Do the advertisers really make more money? (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057462)

I used to pay Google to advertise my Nixie watches. Ho-hum results. Then time passed, and the Woz started to wear his Nixie watch when he talked in front of thousands of techno-geeks. I sell way more Nixie watches through Google's steering of folks searching for "woz watch" to my site, than I ever got by giving Google money for ads.

Well, okay (5, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057170)

Google may have said that - but I'm sure they said it in an un-evil voice.

ESA!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057186)

As in European Space Agency?

Translation (2, Insightful)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057202)

Translation: "Our business model is founded on doing stuff to consumers that they don't want. Please let us continue doing it."

Re:Translation (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057284)

I have said it elsewhere, but...the Internet has now become an adversarial game. "Consumers" do things that corporations like Google do not want either -- "consumers" make use of websites and run up bandwidth, power, and personnel fees, and try to do so without paying anything for it. The corporations thus try to force consumers to provide them with revenue, and have turned to things like tracking your use of the Internet and selling that data to marketers.

The solution will not be found in the law; it will be found be returning to a peer-to-peer Internet and leaving this "consumers getting services from corporations" model behind us. Sadly, a peer-to-peer Internet would require users who took the time to actually learn about their computers, which I doubt we will actually see any time soon.

Re:Translation (0)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057456)

Companies are going to keep marketing. People are going to keep buying stuff from them. I don't see what's wrong with getting some free services out of that if companies like Google and Facebook are going to provide them.

Even when I don't have adblock running, I don't feel like I'm somehow being raped just because the ads are *gasp* targeted. I prefer targetted ads to generic ones - at least there's a small chance I may see something cool that way.

Re:Translation (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057564)

The problem with tracking and targeted advertising, as far as I am concerned, is that it makes our 4th amendment rights just a little less meaningful. The government has already started turning to some of these companies to request information that they would otherwise require a subpoena or warrant to obtain, and they are now able to get that information without any court order. On its own that might not seem to be such a terrible thing; the problem is that it makes it easier for the government to pass more laws and imprison more people, which is the sort of thing the constitution is supposed to protect us from.

Another, more philosophical issue is that the Internet was originally envisioned as a peer to peer system, with people around the world communicating with each other and working together. The fact that we are now speaking in terms of "consumers" who seek "services," and that those "services" must be paid for by tracking "consumers" is an indication of the failure of that ancient ideal. Instead of empowering people, the Internet has just reinforced the consumer oriented mindset; rather than solving problems on their own or working with others to find a solution, people just wait for a service that provides the solution to them and never bother to use their own minds.

Re:Translation (1)

Dr Herbert West (1357769) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057694)

Exactly.

As betteruixthanunix said, it's more difficult to get a warrant to search someone's house than it is to ask (not subpoena, just ask) one of these data aggregators to turn over all their data. The problem for me isn't so much the loss of privacy to the ad networks (you got that anyway every time you signed up for a magazine subscription back in the day) it's the potential for abuse by overzealous/lazy government agencies and law enforcement that want to let profiling and data mining take the place of doing their actual jobs. I would feel a lot better about the whole thing if there was a clear cut line defining WHERE, WHEN, and to WHOM this information could be made available. And severe penalties for crossing this line.

And no, one line of text buried in a 500000 character EULA does not count.

FUD (0, Troll)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057224)

The definition of FUD in the dictionary needs to be updated with this as the cited example.

Silly (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057234)

'Opt-out' is kind of pointless anyway because it will require a cookie to say you've opted out, which can be used to track you. The only law which would make sense is requiring people to opt-in to being tracked.

Re:Silly (2)

cronco (1435465) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057320)

Why would it require a cookie for that? Wouldn't the "do-not-track" header be enough for that?

Re:Silly (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057366)

How would a cookie "opted_out=true" be used to track you, unless you were the only one that opted out?

you forget cookie name (2)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057584)

you forget the cookie name, such as _6079_Smith_W

Interesting group of signers (5, Interesting)

spopepro (1302967) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057236)

I found it interesting who was on the list and who wasn't.
-Experian is but Fair Issac (who has a couple of offices near here) isn't.
-Amex is but Visa, one of the Bay Area's largest employers, isn't.
-Many insurance companies. I know past behavior is important to these companies, but web tracking? I don't know enough to see why this is worth fighting for on their end.
-California Assoc. of Licensed Investigators. Probably the only honest ones on the list. "We want to be able to track you, because, um, we track people. That's what we do."

So I wonder if some of the companies that aren't on here don't care, weren't asked, or actively don't want to be on a list with PR nightmares like the MPAA.

Re:Interesting group of signers (4, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057316)

Many insurance companies. I know past behavior is important to these companies, but web tracking? I don't know enough to see why this is worth fighting for on their end.

Well, if you are someone who happens to frequent forums where people discuss depression and suicidal thoughts, you are probably not the person that the insurance company wants to offer a life insurance policy to; they might not advertise as heavily to you as to other people.

California Assoc. of Licensed Investigators. Probably the only honest ones on the list. "We want to be able to track you, because, um, we track people. That's what we do."

Congratulations on having written a comment that will be added to my personal "list of favorite /. comments."

Who signs with a black square? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057270)

I find it odd that Facebook, Aol, Yahoo, American Express, ValueClick, Amway, Experian, USANA all provide a joint "signature block."

I also wonder who are the 3 companies who signed with black squares. Is this the modern "X" for companies who can't spell?

Finally, this letter is written in MS Word with Arial font and the actual author of the paper did not sign his name. If I received a letter like this, I wouldn't even take it seriously.

do not track: it seems like the world is insane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057300)

It has been pointed out repeatedly and correctly many times on Slashdot that "do not track" as a polite request is idiotic. The real way to avoid this lies with a combination of client security (not loading tracking webbugs or running tracking scripts), using an IP masking proxy, and using a generic user-agent string. Otherwise, it cannot be trusted, and agencies outside US law can still track you, as can those inside the US who don't heed the string. It only works against "white hats".

At the moment, doing those things requires some knowledge, but they could be encapsulated by browsers into an easy single button along the lines of "do not track", but WITH REAL TEETH.

Why is all this energy put into something that is fundamentally broken, a mere header that asks nicely, rather than gives no choice? It seems to me like the world has gone insane sometimes.

How about trying paid service? (2, Informative)

rmdyer (267137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057312)

Does it not occur to some internet companies that I may actually be alright with um, oh I don't know, PAYING THEM for the services they offer, instead of being tracked and advertised to? Or are they too afraid of making money the traditional tried and true way of customers paying for their "apparently" superior offerings.
I mean if the only way a company can make money is by tracking and advertising to people then what business does a company like that have being on the stock market? Apparently they've just admitted in this "protest letter" that they really have no products or services that are worth being "sold".

Re:How about trying paid service? (4, Interesting)

BrianRoach (614397) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057402)

What you're likely to see if this comes to pass is that people who "opt out" are then bitching that they now have to actually, you know, PAY for things like email, search, social networks, etc, just like in the good 'ol days when GEnie, compuserve, AOL, Prodigy, and your local ISP were charging by the hour for access.

Re:How about trying paid service? (3, Informative)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057530)

Pay for something on the Internet? How quaint. Nonsense. People have grown up with the idea that the Internet is free and they aren't about to start paying now. No matter what.

We've spent the last 15 years figuring out ways to get money from people without their knowledge or consent. Google has become very, very good at it. There is no way we are going to return to a model where people willing pay money for services that were previously free. Not going to happen.

Re:How about trying paid service? (2)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057552)

You are unclear on what the service is. The service is information about you. You are the product. The customer is advertisers and other leeches.

Unconstitutional? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057324)

Since when did it say "We the companies?". Wait, never mind. People have been handing over the power to companies for glass beads and nice promises since many years.

Unconstitutional? (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057332)

Is that a joke? How is the state government requiring businesses licensed in the state to do something like this unconstitutional?

Re:Unconstitutional? (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057430)

The state is limited by the STATE constitution, the federal gov by the federal constitution.

Re:Unconstitutional? (1)

Raffaello (230287) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057632)

To be more precise, the usual argument made is that enacting such a law would constitute a barrier to interstate trade, and the US Constitution gives sole power to regulate interstate trade to the Federal Government.

IOW, such a law would likely be constitutional, but it may well require Congress and the President to enact it, not the California legislature and Governor Brown.

Re:Unconstitutional? (1)

thejynxed (831517) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057702)

Seeing as how every single one of those companies who signed, have headquarters in California, I don't see how they can cry unconstitutional barrier to trade, when the proposed law is dealing with California residents only. I could see this happen if they were trying to apply it to say, Oregon residents....

Wait what? (4, Insightful)

future assassin (639396) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057344)

'The measure would negatively affect consumers who have come to expect rich content and free services through the Internet

Lets forget about free services, why do you need to store my info if I pay for your rich content service. I'm more then happy to enter my CC details every time I need to renew your service.

would make them more vulnerable to security threats.

Sony? If my personal info is not stored anywhere how am I at risk to security threats?

Re:Wait what? (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057458)

Lets forget about free services, why do you need to store my info if I pay for your rich content service.

Probably because your information is worth more than what you are willing to pay for the service.

Re:Wait what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057562)

I think they are referring to all the free pop up virus scans.... now those are valuable. Hell, its so good, my C: drive has been scanned 10 times this week and i'm on an iPad. Probably saved me hundreds of hours of reformatting my "C:" drive to wash then clean myself. How do you like dem cookies......

Stupid consumers (1)

ichthus (72442) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057350)

If, indeed, these consumers "have come to expect rich content and free services through the Internet", then they won't likely opt-out, will they. And, "would make them more vulnerable to security threats"? Really? By keeping their location private? What a load of crap.

Usually, it's legislation that tends toward treating citizens as if they're too stupid to think for themselves. In this case, it's private industry asking the government to do so.

Re:Stupid consumers (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057388)

It's clearly fud but my guess is that they're claiming that having your personal data on your hard drive is less safe than on the cloud and, for the average computer user, they may well be correct.

Re:Stupid consumers (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057450)

It's clearly fud but my guess is that they're claiming that having your personal data on your hard drive is less safe than on the cloud and, for the average computer user, they may well be correct.

The problem is that in most cases it's stored on both.

Re:Stupid consumers (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057420)

Well, if you opt out of tracking then how are you going to use an site without sending your access credentials across the net every time you load a page?

Re:Stupid consumers (1)

ichthus (72442) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057480)

Your question doesn't make any sense. Access credentials have to be sent, regardless of whether your location data is available -- and regardless of who's transmitting it.

Also, I trust myself to keep my data safe far more than any cloud or online database (see Sony online [pcworld.com] .)

Re:Stupid consumers (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057624)

Well, if you opt out of tracking then how are you going to use an site without sending your access credentials across the net every time you load a page?

Sending access credentials should not be something that compromises your security. You know, like how I can send my SSH public key to dozens of different systems and not have to worry?

it is opt out (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057362)

This means that a person cannot be tracked without their knowledge. These types of bills always destroy disreputable or legacy firns, but legitimate firms always finds a way to survive. In the case of Google and Facebook, they will merely have to gind an incentive to encourage people to not opt out. Both firms already do this. This why Google is succesful. While many end users have no problem turning off all the cookies for Yahoo and 2o7, because they provide no services that require cookies, I suspect the majority of people who use google and facebook have active cookies for these sites.

I have said many bad things about Google, and now I add to that Google is officially a bloated and lazy firm, not capable of meaningful innovation. If it were it would not be pulling the 'lost jobs' argument. Such an argument is only made of irrelevant companies such as US auto makers and book publishers.

Google, and to a lesser extent, facbook has made huge sums of money through consumer ignorance. What this is going to require that they share a bit more of those proceeds with the end user. Yes it will effect profits, and conceivably it will effect proficts enough that they will get out of the business, or leave california. Perhaps they can move to a desperate state like mississippi, and perhaps enough employee will follow. The reality is that California knows it has something that exists in few other places, and can enforce a code of conduct on the companies there. Othwise everyone would move 400 miles east to Nevada.

It is California (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057704)

Remember that this is California we're talking about - the state where everything is known to cause cancer, thanks to badly thought out feel-good legislation. I wouldn't put it past them to come up with a law that's essentially impossible to comply with whilst still actuallly running a useful website.

Rich content con job (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057372)

Why would someone want to waste time on flash rubbish that they are not looking for , This whole rich content thing is nothing short of a con an easy backdoor into your system for those that have no business being in your system .

I have recently been asked to redesign 3 so called rich content sites for the simple reason they do not serve a purpose so they have gone back to the sanity of html css and java script and once again the sites actually do what they are supposed to do and whats more every single thing is within 3 clicks even archives that go back best part of 50 years..

   

Whatever Acxiom wants, I'm against (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057390)

Whatever Acxiom wants, I'm against.

These people were the slimy, IRL, version of google the last 30 years and most Americans have never even heard about them.

You know what... (2)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057400)

They had me nodding through that statement... The arguments being at least semi-reasonable. Right up until the last bit.

How does an opt-out system make things -less- secure?

Massive amount of obvious (but believable) self-interest, spoiled by trying to put a security spin on it that is total BS.

Contract Law (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057414)

Here's the thing with all of these sites. The 'free' content was originally provided with an 'understanding' that it would be supported by advertising revenue. Fine. I'll put up with banner ads and the occasional pop-up. But when these sites began selling my personal information, what they have done is to unilaterally modify the terms of this contract. Not only have they done so, but they are doing it with data that I may have entered before that ever announced (or possibly even envisioned) such a new business model. And they thing that they have a right to do so without telling me, giving me the right to refuse and retrieve all of my old data? Now IANAL, but this sounds like fraud.

Try running a self storage company and, without telling anyone renting the lockers, that you'll be auctioning their crap off to bring in additional revenue. Then see how fast the sheriff shows up.

Re:Contract Law (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057606)

Well, you started the escalation with ad blockers. And not clicking on ads. When the ad revenue dropped somewhere around 2000 everyone had to come up with a solution that didn't involve making people pay. Everyone over the age of 14 had already learned at home and school "all about the Internet" and how everything was free because it was ad supported.

So with the pretty much global crash of ad revenue what alternatives were there? Government support for web sites?

Google was built on the idea of collecting and selling marketing information along with a few ads here and there. The search engine is a false front that offers services that today consist of directing people to sites with ads - whos sponsors pay Google to put the ads up, whether they are clicked on or not. Also, Google gets to collect huge amounts of data that a lot of companies will pay large sums of money to have. Remember the whole Street View idea? Well, how much do you think DLink will pay to know what the market penetration of their routers vs. other companies' routers is in specific geographic areas? Do buyers in Beverly Hills prefer Belkin vs. South Central LA having more Netgear routers? What does that say about how DLink should change their marketing program? This information is incredibly valuable and is providing Google with a great income stream.

Now if you can think up a way to get money from people's wallets without them ever knowing it was there in the first place, great. Tell everyone and maybe we can have a new Internet. Until that happens, customer information will be packaged and sold because there isn't anything else of value involved.

Re:Contract Law (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057696)

Sometime around 2000 people started getting malware via ads, this is why much of the ad-blocking started in the first place (up until that time, it was merely an annoyance, after this, it was an infection vector and ads put your machine at risk), and of course, nobody was ever held accountable for these things like LOP.com, bonzi-buddy, CoolWebSearch and countless other junk, some of the "companies" involved in these things are very reminiscent of those that have later moved to the rogue AV market, and the practice of getting their "useful products" onto "end user" machines were in essence the same.

You can't blame people for blocking things that largely just provide them with viruses and little else.

heh (3, Insightful)

uberjack (1311219) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057438)

So much for "Don't be evil"?

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057532)

You got that all wrong - it's "Don't! - Be Evil!"

If i where mozilla... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057470)

...i would offer 'em a deal: "You don't oppose the Do-Not-Track Flag, and we don't include adblock-plus *preinstalled* with 42 different subscribtions with Firefox5. Deal...?"

Wow, I didn't know (1)

DeusExCalamus (1146781) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057518)

California had an economy; I thought they just had a clusterfuck.

Well it IS unenforceable... (1, Interesting)

MoNsTeR (4403) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057548)

I mean, seriously. There is no mechanism by which Do Not Track can actually be made to work as it is currently being proposed. This is more important than whether you think it's a good idea.

If you want to be able to opt out of being tracked, you need to built it in to browser behavior and/or web protocols themselves. You can't simply ASK sites not to track you and expect anything to happen, nor can you rely on a law to do this for you.

Rich content (2)

Angua (1732766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057558)

The measure would negatively affect consumers who have come to expect rich content and free services through the Internet,

Personally it freaks me out whenever I go on a random site and it shows me my own facebook profile picture along with a message such as "Be the first of your friends to recommend this article!!"

I'm still caving to peer pressure and keeping a FB profile, but I resent it always more and more. One thing is for sure - that's one company I'm not investing in any time soon.

Re:Rich content (5, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057650)

that's one company I'm not investing in any time soon.

...on the other hand, if you are an investor, Facebook is a godsend. Imagine asking Facebook this question: How many American users are posting messages that indicate they are out of work? The answer would be a far more accurate depiction of the number of unemployed Americans than any measurement based on official unemployment claims, and the answer would come sooner than official estimates. In a way, Facebook has so much information about so many people that you could probably make some accurate predictions about where the economy is going just by asking Facebook to answer the right questions, and adjust your investments accordingly.

Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057572)

Don't you just love it when things suddenly get new meanings?

Like "nano" things that are not a billionth the size of the normal things?

When "large" things are not large? Just because it is your biggest size does not mean it's large? (glasses of soft drinks, etc)

When it is unconstitutional to protect the citizens from the corporations?

When Harper (Canadian election) says while the opponent will raise taxes, he will "keep taxes low". (Excuse me, but Canadian taxes are not low, nor have they been any time in my life.)

Well, it does seem like a really stupid idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057622)

I think the companies, might be right. For the people who didn't actually read the protest letter backed by Google and the rest( the summary has a link, and it's just 3 1/2 pages, even less if you take out the legalese crap ), this bill gives thougher regulations to advertising companies for some stupid reason.

In addition to that, if it's true that this regulation would create conflicting rules( according to the letter ), it's a lose-lose situation; since you can't comply with both rules, you are always liable to be sued, which is pretty unfair.

Finally, if you read the article you'll note that a bunch of the info is pretty standard and useful for any webmaster, like the IP address( this would mean you can't even ban trolls ), e-mails( no more e-mail verification of registration ).

A great rant ruined after I read the fine article (1)

Tooke (1961582) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057642)

I was just about to post a rant about how consumers are greedy and ignorant, and 'free' services need to get paid somehow, and if people don't want to pay (with their data), then they shouldn't use the service. But then I actually read the article, and found these:

Entities that do not collect "sensitive information" would be exempt from the law, however. These are defined as services that do not obtain and store information that relates directly to a consumer's medical history, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or financial status.

In fact, Lowenthal's proposed law permits the Attorney General some flexibility. Exemptions can be made on behalf of online companies that are:

(A) Providing, operating, or improving a product or service used, requested, or authorized by an individual, including the ongoing provision of customer service and support.

(B) Analyzing data related to use of the product or service for purposes of improving the products, services, or operations.

[and]

(F) Complying with a federal, state, or local law, regulation, rule, or other applicable legal requirement, including, but not limited to, disclosures pursuant to a court order, subpoena, summons, or other properly executed compulsory process.

Exemption B in particular seems wide enough to drive at least several digital trucks through.

And of course, IANAL, so I've already said about as much as I have authority to.

I don't mind (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36057660)

I like free. I have no issue with them looking into things so they can provide more relative ads. I still don't buy anything, and I still get the service for free? Win! I think my generation (the x generation) has become use to not having much privacy. It's the way it is.

Solutions (1)

zigmeister (1281432) | more than 3 years ago | (#36057684)

I'd tell the CA legislature that if a user 'opts out' they also opt out of the ability to use my services.

On a more serious note, users already have multiple ways to opt out:
1) Use a different frickin website
2) Don't use the websites
3) disable cookies for that site
etc.

But never let it be said that the CA legislature thought through its actions or that it didn't try to stick its nose in other people's business while they had plenty of their own self-created problems.

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