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Study: Ad Networks Not Honoring Do-Not-Track

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the show-of-hands-who-is-surprised dept.

Advertising 133

itwbennett writes "According to a new study from Stanford University's Center for Internet Society, almost half of the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) members that Stanford studied left tracking cookies in place after a Web user opted out of targeted ads. NAI's executive director said that with no consensus on what do-not-track means, ad networks continue to gather data for business reasons other than providing targeted advertising. 'Under the NAI self-regulatory code, companies commit to providing an opt out to the use of online data for online behavioral advertising purposes,' Curran said. 'But the NAI code also recognizes that companies sometimes need to continue to collect data for operational reasons that are separate from ad targeting based on a user's online behavior.'"

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But self regulation works !!! (1, Funny)

unity100 (970058) | about 3 years ago | (#36777452)

And the 'invisible hand' will always be watching our back.... or is it ...

Re:But self regulation works !!! (3, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 3 years ago | (#36777500)

Unlike the government the 'invisible hand' is not watching our back. Of course, the reason the government is watching our back is because it is looking for an opportune time to stick a knife in it.

Re:But self regulation works !!! (4, Insightful)

jazman_777 (44742) | about 3 years ago | (#36777562)

The government will stab you in the back. Globalist multinationals will stab you in the front. It's a two-headed monster.

Re:But self regulation works !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36777712)

And the Internet has given "anonymous" the ability to stab you in the balls - quick, click on this link [goatse]!

Shocked! (2)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 3 years ago | (#36780180)

I am shocked, shocked, I tell you, to discover that "do not track" preferences are being ignored.
It's almost as if the trackers actually wanted to track you...

Remember to flush your cookies regularly in every browser you use, and to use a different browser for financial stuff (including purchases) than for regular browsing. And don't get me started about BaseFuck (or was it FaceBook).

Re:But self regulation works !!! (2)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 3 years ago | (#36777870)

Indeed, the 'invisible hand' is more interested in what we have in our pockets.

Re:But self regulation works !!! (2)

imric (6240) | about 3 years ago | (#36778358)

ROFL - don't you understand? When the market is abused, the invisible hand DOES correct things... Through government regulation. That's what capitalism in a democracy (even in a Republican Democracy like ours - the level of abstraction just creates 'lag' - though that lag IS painful) is all about. The error most who call themselves 'Libertarian' make nowadays is considering government to be separate from markets; that regulations maliciously spring from nowhere simply to server politicians who are never serving constituents - they don't look any deeper than the businesses they favor over the citizens that make up the markets.

Re:But self regulation works !!! (4, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 3 years ago | (#36778738)

My experience has been that most new government regulation is designed to "fix" problems that were created by government regulation in the first place. When the market has been abused (almost always the result of government regulations), it results in government regulations that make the market even more susceptible to abuse.
It has gotten to bad that the current administration has the guts to call for new laws and regulations to "fix" a problem that was created by them actively not enforcing current laws and regulations (look into "Operation Fast & Furious").

Re:But self regulation works !!! (-1, Flamebait)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#36779830)

My experience has been that most new government regulation is designed to "fix" problems that were created by government regulation in the first place.

This is standard left-wing tactitcs. First you create a problem, then you come along offering to 'solve' it if it only people will give you more power.

Re:But self regulation works !!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36780128)

As opposed to right-wing tactics: first, create a problem; then, don't fix it.

Re:But self regulation works !!! (1)

imric (6240) | about 3 years ago | (#36780208)

No. Simply no. Government regulations may fix older regulations, true. The market is both complex and dynamic, and the 'invisible hand' doesn't come down like a hammer and pin things in one place, forever. If that was the way things worked, 'gaming the system' be even worse than it is normally.

As to your example, that is an example of government social engineering, NOT economic (save of course, black-market economics). The 'invisible hand' is a part of free-market, economic dogma, not religious or social dogma. And it was worse than not enforcing laws, they actively encouraged law-breaking so that they could catch law breakers, point to the lawlessness, and proclaim that people couldn't be trusted with guns. The plan (predictably) backfired, and since the consequences (death) are terrible and irreversible, everyone involved is hiding instead of crowing their 'success'.

The fact remains that the invisible hand that corrects the market IS manifested by the market, the market is the consumer, the consumer is the voter, and the voter ultimately controls legislation. The folks in government want power, to keep it they must keep the voters happy, and the voters are the market.

Further, tipping control to businesses is foolish in the extreme; the only thing that keeps businesses stagnation and abuse is competition, but competition minimizes profits - so business minimizes competition wherever possible. Without regulation to preserve competition there is no development, and prices rise until there is no room for new products to be bought, and progress ceases. Regulations serve more purposes as well. Not all transactions are reversible (for instance, environmental regs are necessary to prevent businesses from poisoning the land and the people for the sake of profits for people unaffected by local misery). Not everything is a luxury, either - when your life depends on a product, the supply-demand curves go ALL to hell.

Never in history has a totaly free-maket economy both existed and thrived, and there's a reason for that - it doesn't work. In fact, the closer people have gotten, the worse it's been!

In summary, government regs ARE the invisible hand, they are the result of market failings, and not all are bad. Businesses sure want you to think so for the sake of their short-term profits, though.

Re:But self regulation works !!! (1)

halivar (535827) | about 3 years ago | (#36777698)

AdBlock Plus, and browsers with cookie whitelists. That's your invisible hand. Unless you meant something else, in which case you'll need to sit on your hand in a comfy chair for about 2-3 minutes...

Re:But self regulation works !!! (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 3 years ago | (#36777992)

AdBlock Plus, and browsers with cookie whitelists. That's your invisible hand

Exactly. My ABP invisible hand is displaying the universal greeting [] to those advertising leeches.

Re:But self regulation works !!! (1)

obergfellja (947995) | about 3 years ago | (#36777864)

bubbah! grab my tin hat, we've got some ideas to share!

Re:But self regulation works !!! (2)

Jawnn (445279) | about 3 years ago | (#36777934)

And the 'invisible hand' will always be watching our back.... or is it ...

...applying the lubricant between our blithely parted cheeks? Yeah. Pretty much.

Re:But self regulation works !!! (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 3 years ago | (#36778202)

Well, it has to keep an eye on your back in order to stab the knife in correctly.

Re:But self regulation works !!! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 years ago | (#36778590)

And the 'invisible hand' will always be watching our back.... or is it ...

Oh, it's watching ... but it plans on stealing your wallet.

The 'invisible hand' doesn't do what its worshipers claim it does ... the only question is if they know that, or are still deluding themselves that it works.

Re:But self regulation works !!! (1)

tixxit (1107127) | about 3 years ago | (#36779532)

Honestly, I don't use an ad blocker as, mostly, ads don't bother me and I understand their need. However, I'd not feel so bad about installing an ad blocker that only blocks ad agencies known to not honour the do-not-track header.

shocked. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36777454)

Just absolutely shocked.

Re:shocked. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36777592)

Just absolutely shocked.

Me too! We all know that businesses never lie, are always out for the interests of the public, and are always good citizens of society. Just look at the cigarette companies with their honesty about their product, the pharmaceutical companies and their complete disclosure about their drugs and their complete lack of political pressure on the FDA, the banks and how they were completely up front with the Fed and Congress about their operations regarding the financial meltdown, every company on Wall Street that was completely transparent about their activities, and every other corporate citizen of the World. Why, I don't think I could ever live up to the integrity of the typical American business!

Re:shocked. (1)

bonch (38532) | about 3 years ago | (#36779768)

A corporation made the computer you used to type that. Your anti-business tirade is every generic, stereotypical dorm-room philosophy that's ever been written.

Adblock, Cookie Monster, Better Privacy (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | about 3 years ago | (#36777456)

These are three things I like.

You can probably still track me if I visit you site, but I'm damned if I'm going to help you.

Re:Adblock, Cookie Monster, Better Privacy (2)

sphealey (2855) | about 3 years ago | (#36777628)

Throw TrackMeNot in there too to confuse the sniffers installed at your ISP.


Re:Adblock, Cookie Monster, Better Privacy (2)

al0ha (1262684) | about 3 years ago | (#36777650)

Add Request Policy and NoScript to that list and cross domain pixel tracking will cease as well.

Of course there is always browser footprinting, so do not, for one minute, think that your activities can not be tracked regardless of what you do unless you also go about dynamically changing the data your browser sends with HTTP requests; but adding these simple helpers ups the game a little at least.

Re:Adblock, Cookie Monster, Better Privacy (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 3 years ago | (#36778124)

Sounds like a new Firefox add on that will randomly generate this data with each request is needed.

Re:Adblock, Cookie Monster, Better Privacy (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 3 years ago | (#36778468)

Toss in TACO [] for good measure

Why is that weird? (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 3 years ago | (#36777474)

I always assumed that when I checked the "Do Not Track" box, they set a special cookie.

Re:Why is that weird? (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 3 years ago | (#36777560)

I figure that too, which is why I point ad servers (especially slow ones!) to or in my hosts file.

Re:Why is that weird? (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 3 years ago | (#36777872)

Damn! I knew I should have ended that with a winky emoticon ;-)

To your point, it's best to be running a local Apache returning 404 Not Found if you're using hosts to block certain sites. Avoids timeouts. I find Adblock Plus does a faster job.

Re:Why is that weird? (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | about 3 years ago | (#36778084)

wouldn't the local apache serving a single transparent pixel as a 404 be a better idea?

Re:Why is that weird? (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 3 years ago | (#36778198)

That's not a bad idea. My point was to send a response of some kind back, rather than just simply not answering. Your way probably involves sending fewer bytes.

Re:Why is that weird? (2)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 3 years ago | (#36778226)

Nah when I have apache installed locally instead of ads I get a bunch of porn ...

Re:Why is that weird? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 3 years ago | (#36778432)

If is timing out, your network stack (or firewall implementation) is fucked.

You should be getting back (immediately) an ICMP Connection Refused. This should actually be /faster/ than a proper HTTP response.

Re:Why is that weird? (2)

houghi (78078) | about 3 years ago | (#36778050) [] is a good place to start. Even though it is directed at Windows users, it works on any OS that uses a hosts file.

Re:Why is that weird? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36778740)

My 80,000+ line custom hosts file approves. Thats my opt out. I never contact your site again. Ever. I don't exist to them anymore.

I can't stand to use the internet on machines that are not mine anymore. It's amazing how many ads, tracking, stats, and plain ol GARBAGE being loaded there is on most pages.. And at home i don't see any of it. Pages load much quicker. Layout is much cleaner. Bandwidth is saved as well.

hosts file + noscript + flashblock = Internet looks and works pretty damm smooth.

Someday i should package up the hosts file i've created over the years.. It's been building since windows 95.
I could personally cost all the ad networks millions or BILLIONS if i got wide distribution.

Re:Why is that weird? (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 3 years ago | (#36779538)

0.0 and 127.1 are bad if you run a local web server.

If you want an error, or run a special-purpose web server that only returns blanks, set it to 127.2 instead.

Re:Why is that weird? (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 3 years ago | (#36777908)

The browser may ask the server to do something, but it doesn't mean the server will honour the request.

If you don't want to be tracked, then you need to do it yourself, instead of trusting those 'honourable' marketing people.

Slashdot Ads (1)

AdamInParadise (257888) | about 3 years ago | (#36777504)

Is it just me or did /. disabled the option to hide the ads for people with good Karma?

Re:Slashdot Ads (2)

Flyerman (1728812) | about 3 years ago | (#36777522)

Just you.

Re:Slashdot Ads (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 3 years ago | (#36777672)

It's still up there for me.

Re:Slashdot Ads (1)

danaris (525051) | about 3 years ago | (#36777692)

Ads reappeared for me the other day, too. I wasn't sure whether it was because my karma slipped below an invisible threshold or because they'd removed the option—particularly since they never explained why I got the option, or why, 2-3 times, it randomly turned itself off and had to be re-checked.

Dan Aris

Re:Slashdot Ads (1)

cpicon92 (1157705) | about 3 years ago | (#36777708)

It's just you. I still have the option on the upper right of this page.

Re:Slashdot Ads (4, Funny)

Talderas (1212466) | about 3 years ago | (#36777874)

It's still there but even with it checked I still keep seeing slashvertisements for Bitcoin. It must be broken.

Re:Slashdot Ads (1)

Pop69 (700500) | about 3 years ago | (#36778552)

It's still there for me, your karma must just be shit

Re:Slashdot Ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36780142)

Is it just me or did /. disabled the option to hide the ads for people with good Karma?

Unless you're stuck on some shitty Internet Explorer install at work, I can't imagine anyone that would visit Slashdot not running Adblock Plus.

Isn't that a surprise... (2)

madhatter256 (443326) | about 3 years ago | (#36777510)

Not surprised at all. Look at how effective the "do not call" list has been?

It works for the most part, but the information is still available and for sale for scrupulous telemarketers.

Not surprised that this "do not track" can easily be worked around.

Re:Isn't that a surprise... (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 3 years ago | (#36778094)

Seeing as I haven't had a telemarketer calling in most of a decade, it worked pretty damn well. Of course, that has federal law backing it.

Re:Isn't that a surprise... (1)

drpimp (900837) | about 3 years ago | (#36778340)

Same holds true for those "No soliciting" signs.

Didn't Expect Much, Didn't Get Much (2)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | about 3 years ago | (#36777514)

I checked the "Do Not Track" checkmark, and honestly didn't expect ANY of the advertisers to respect the completely voluntary setting. The fact that any of them, let alone 50% are actually respecting it is a big improvement.

Re:Didn't Expect Much, Didn't Get Much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36777770)

I checked the "Do Not Track" checkmark, and honestly didn't expect ANY of the advertisers to respect the completely voluntary setting. The fact that any of them, let alone 50% are actually respecting it is a big improvement.

Same here. Checked it. Did not expect compliance. So I still run Ad Block and Better Privacy, and cookies are killed when I shutdown the browser.

Re:Didn't Expect Much, Didn't Get Much (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 3 years ago | (#36777898)

I would actually be astounded if they actually honored it. However, because there are no laws (unlike the do not call list), the cookies, LSOs, and "ever-cookie" stuff still persists.

This makes me glad for not just AdBlock, and BetterPrivacy, but for sandboxie so anything that gets missed will get completely deleted once the browsing session is done.

This can't be right! (1)

karmicoder (2205760) | about 3 years ago | (#36777532)

I, for one, am SHOCKED that ad networks aren't honoring my polite request not to make money off of me. I'm also puzzled that I continue to get emails about Viagra after dutifully clicking on the "opt-out" link in those e-mails. I should write a letter to my congressional representatives. They'll listen!

Justification for Adblock et al (5, Insightful)

CelticWhisper (601755) | about 3 years ago | (#36777536)

For those people who tried to argue against Adblock and other tools to help users control how their information is used and how their browsing experience plays out, this should take the wind out of their sails at least a little. Browser developers and advertising companies came up with a standard for not tracking the users who don't want to be tracked and the ad companies promptly turned around and fucked those users over. Why should we respect the wishes of marketers who don't want us blocking ads now?

Re:Justification for Adblock et al (4, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | about 3 years ago | (#36777666)

There is no need to justify Adblock or the like, an http request is just a request for some information, it is not a promise to treat that information in a certain way.

Re:Justification for Adblock et al (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36779692)

There is a need to justify it, because you're screwing the people who are providing content to you. If you don't want to see their ads, then don't visit their site.

Re:Justification for Adblock et al (1)

CelticWhisper (601755) | about 3 years ago | (#36779970)

Only now, it's tit-for-tat at worst because the ad providers have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to be honest and respect people's wishes for privacy. For those sites that users really want to support, there are targeted whitelist rules or simple old-fashioned donations.

Re:Justification for Adblock et al (1)

maxume (22995) | about 3 years ago | (#36780386)

It doesn't screw anybody. Or does browsing with images turned off also screw the people providing content?

How about using Flashblock?

How about changing the channel on a television when the advertising comes on?

If they don't want to take the chance that people will browse their content without viewing the associated advertising, they had better not serve it as html over http.

Re:Justification for Adblock et al (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36780704)

If they show me no good will, why should I show them any by allowing ads?

Re:Justification for Adblock et al (1)

npsimons (32752) | about 3 years ago | (#36780540)

For those people who tried to argue against Adblock and other tools to help users control how their information is used and how their browsing experience plays out, this should take the wind out of their sails at least a little.

Those people arguing against AdBlock, et al had no wind to begin with. It's MY computer, I decide what runs on it. If they don't like people copying their data without paying for it, perhaps they should have considered that before they posted that data on the public Internet, that I also paid for with my taxes and ISP fees.

"do not track" is insane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36777598)

When these stories went around slashdot before, I posted that this is crazy. The only way to avoid tracking is to avoid leaking the data to begin with. That is, mostly, up to your local browser. You get to pick whether to accept cookies, run tracking scripts, and so on. But I was modded to -1 for saying this. It looks like it wasn't really so crazy after all.

Re:"do not track" is insane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36777676)

Yeah and the whole argument for it was "OMG you have to have a special do-not-track http header because it is impossible to do this with cookies, because then you could track people using that do-not-track cookie!"

Actually it is a lot easier to handle than that. Sure, if they set a unique do-not-track cookie for everybody who doesn't want to be tracked, then that unique cookie could be tracked. So just set a cookie called "do-not-track" with a value of "1" for thousands of people. Now we get the utility of a do-not-track header (if there is any) using only cookies.

This whole thing is stupid.

Delete'em (1)

sphealey (2855) | about 3 years ago | (#36777600)

Better Privacy + Cookie Monster + separate browser just for Facebook. Seems to do a fairly good job in total.


Re:Delete'em (1)

zero0ne (1309517) | about 3 years ago | (#36778512)

amen to that.

I hadn't logged into Facebook for something like 6 months, and the changes that happen to sites when they see you as a logged on Facebook user is astounding... and annoying!

A separate browser isn't a bad idea.

Re:Delete'em (1)

Artraze (600366) | about 3 years ago | (#36779324)

Rather than a separate browser, you can use Firefox's profiles. It's easy to do: just set you firefox shortcut to "firefox -no-remote -ProfileManager" (works on Windows and Linux). Separate profiles are, as best as I can tell, completely independent. They have separate caches, extensions, and of course cookies, bookmarks history, etc.

Keep in mind that plugins (Flash!, Java, etc) have permissions outside the browser, so absent of disabling them or using something flashblock the profiles can still be linked. If you want to be super paranoid, then, run Linux and create multiple user accounts. Then run firefox as a secondary user (via su) and you should be good.

Confusing NAI with DNT... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36777604)

The NAI opt out has little to do with DoNotTrack. I do agree though that how cookies are supposed to be handled via DoNotTrack are unclear based on the standard. When working on an implementation of it, my company decided to actually put a cookie on any machine that has the DNT flag set. This cookie contains no tracking data and is ignored by our servers, but the consensus was that when opting out users have been trained to look for the presence of an opt-out cookie and so not putting one there may be confusing.

Actually better than I feared (1)

danaris (525051) | about 3 years ago | (#36777642)

"Almost half"? I would have expected the number of ad networks ignoring do-not-track to be closer to 80%.

This indicates that more than half are honoring it, which is, IMHO, quite a victory for our side.

Dan Aris

Re:Actually better than I feared (1)

Translation Error (1176675) | about 3 years ago | (#36777716)

Sounds like quite the Pyrrhic victory to me. Sure, it's a nice surprise that half the ad networks are honoring it, but unless the vast majority of them do, I don't see how the flag is actually useful in practice.

Re:Actually better than I feared (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 3 years ago | (#36777824)

Half of them were dumb enough to get caught.

I expect pretty much 100% of them are still tracking, but some of them are a little bit better at it.

Re:Actually better than I feared (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36778212)

Who are you referring to when you say 'our side'? It sure as hell isn't the average consumer, as most consumers do not have the advertising phobia demonstrated here. Hell, Amazon recently announced that it's best selling Kindle is the one where, in exchange for a slightly lower purchase price, you agree to have ads displayed on the home screen.

It seems that there are three groups of people who have this ad phobia: paranoids, the 'everything I want must be free' crowd, and people who are so weak-willed they can't resist purchasing anything advertised to them.

Re:Actually better than I feared (1)

praxis (19962) | about 3 years ago | (#36779682)

I though from the context of a do-not-track mechanism, "our side" was pretty clearly referring to those that do not wish to be tracked. I'm not sure why you'd think it means the average consumer.

They need a TSA (1)

ChilyWily (162187) | about 3 years ago | (#36777696)

That is a "Trusted Shopping Associate" - if only people registered then they could opt-out you see. oh wait.

integrity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36777704)

Ah yes, we all know the advertising market is full of honesty and integrity...

Re:integrity (3, Interesting)

TwinkieStix (571736) | about 3 years ago | (#36778148)

I work as a software engineer for an affiliate networking advertising company. Our business wouldn't exist if we couldn't track a click from a publisher (affiliate, like a deal blog or a search engine) to an advertiser (merchant, somebody selling stuff). I am extremely familiar with how we handle customer data, and we have no use for it. Our tracking technology aggregates the majority of the information related to sales fairly early on in the data pipeline and discards a lot of it after a relatively short time (hours). We have external and internal auditors that check up on the methods we use to clean personally identifiable information (PII, as they always call it). Even something as relatively benign as our own client's e-mail addresses are secure. When it comes to the likes of our actual advertisements, our company culture is nearing paranoia about NOT storing PII because even an accidental leak would reflect poorly on our clients and be devastating to our business. I really hope the other advertising companies see the risk of collecting this information as expensive as we do and take as much effort to avoid letting it be traceable back to individuals.

I have to say this: the opinions and statements are my own and not those of my company in any way.

Well, duh (2)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | about 3 years ago | (#36777732)

Who in their right mind expected that if you give anyone full control over a lucrative resource and then tell them not to use it although you have absolutely no power to enforce your demand that they would respect your request? I mean, not even your kids respect anything you say that goes against their will if there isn't a consequence for their infraction.

Not surprised (2)

bragr (1612015) | about 3 years ago | (#36777752)

Data is how these companies make money. No one wants to buy ads if the ad company can't tell their clients how many views and unique views the ads are getting. Data is their lifeblood and they aren't going to stop because we asked nicely.

Re:Not surprised (1)

lawnboy5-O (772026) | about 3 years ago | (#36778386)

Data is uber primo facto and all things important. Its the package.

I witnessed the printing/advertising/publishing industry evolve into a variable data and targeted-intended-onslaught-beyond-your-privacy advertising nightmare...

and you think Murdoch has problems.

They know your neighbor's last big purchase and sent you swag based on your sex, income, (very) local community, religious beliefs, to see if you want to purchase the same thing... and they know so much more - its an indoctrination into consumerism, but only because They know all the cards in your hand.


Re:Not surprised (1)

bragr (1612015) | about 3 years ago | (#36778750)

On the up side, advertising companies have stopped sending me bras.

Same old story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36777774)

That's because Open Source projects are about what was said about Microsoft around the time Windows '95 was out. The only difference is the complexity of the project is much much lower and normally just a clone of something else creaded by some other team. Yet the marketing is strong with them. They can lie all the way and than some more. How about the tiny Firefox, smaller at every minor version? How about it being standard compliant? More compliant than an old Internet Explorer that is. How about it being faster? It used to compare with browsers a few years old. When even that was stalling they started comparing with their own older versions. How about Evince, the universal viewer which can read only a few of the formats used today and in a suboptimal manner? Ekiga? A wonderful project where the standard is at fault each time they fail a comparison with Skype. And so on, the list can make a small encyclopedia.

well duh (3, Informative)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 3 years ago | (#36777822)

"Hi, we would like you to voluntarily limit your sources of revenue by not giving your customers, advertisers, the tracking options that they want."

doesn't work folks

sorry, the market doesn't regulate itself in some respects. mostly in those respects that involve moral behavior. you need regulation and enforcement for that

Re:well duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36778128)

So can we conclude that capitalism promotes immoral behavior?

Re:well duh (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 3 years ago | (#36778232)

capitalism promotes maximal market function, which results in maximum financial yields. this is good. capitalism will also happily market baby organ donation and human slavery as well. this is bad

pure capitalism then is a form of evil. capitalism is a great beast. it must be harnessed and yoked and it must be controlled and it must be tightly curtailed. or it will run roughshod over your society

having said all this, noncapitalistic societies are doomed to grinding poverty. so you NEED capitalism. you just need to keep the great beast harnessed under a strong yoke

Re:well duh (2)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 3 years ago | (#36778282)

Exactly. The market will not help you curtail others' natural rights to suit your own "moral" code. That sort of thing requires organized, "legitimized" aggression, i.e. a government.

Re:well duh (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 3 years ago | (#36778318)

i especially like the part where random assholes define for themselves what their natural rights are. these "natural rights" often run roughshop over other people's actual natural rights

you need government because on their own, people act irresponsibly. doesn't even have to be menace involved, just abject stupidity usually suffices for irresponsible behavior

Re:well duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36778812)

You could make a movie about governmental zombies. That would be great.

Re:well duh (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#36779796)

you need government because on their own, people act irresponsibly. doesn't even have to be menace involved, just abject stupidity usually suffices for irresponsible behavior

If people are irresponsible and stupid, how do you improve that by giving guns to those people and telling them they won't be punished if they use them?

Of course. (2)

liquidweaver (1988660) | about 3 years ago | (#36777830)

People respond to incentives. You cannot just ask someone to do something. I'm not sure why it continues to be a surprise when someone does/doesn't do something, when they have no incentive to change their behavior. We've been wired this way since the beginning - shouldn't this be obvious?

Re:Of course. (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 3 years ago | (#36778470)

I propose pulling a Milton form office space then.

TSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36778894)

Yes, we need incentives to go through TSA checkpoints. It's not like we're forced by law or anything.

Re:Of course. (1)

jfruhlinger (470035) | about 3 years ago | (#36779906)

Self-regulation can be a response to incentives, actually; one of the incentives is to not have regulations imposed by the government. The history of movie ratings in the U.S. -- first the Hayes Code, and then the current rating system we have now -- are examples of industry self-regulation that was designed to stave off government censorship. Technically you don't have to have your movie rated by the MPAA, but since virtually everyone in the film business participates in the system, it's difficult if not impossible to bypass it and still make money.

Of course, as this study shows, it's lots easier to break the rules when you're the one setting the rules and enforcing them.

Simple concept (1)

HideyoshiJP (1392619) | about 3 years ago | (#36778064)

Do not track... I assumed this was a simple concept. "Don't track me, bro!" Admittedly, these companies have a vested interest in not wishing to honor such requests on technicality, to say that they need to due to certain functions seems only partially true. If it's technical issues, such as capacity planning or performance benchmarks, there are other metrics one can use. If it comes to business metrics... well... tough. Use server-side stuff and either accept the market change or innovate.

Re:Simple concept (1)

mmcuh (1088773) | about 3 years ago | (#36778258)

We obviously need to be more clear. I'm making my browser send the X-Do-Not-Fucking-Track-Me-Motherfucker header.

They need to track.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36778324)

the behavioral differences between those who opt out and those who do not. See?

I am shocked, SHOCKED!!! (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 3 years ago | (#36778398)

Who'd have thought that ad networks wouldn't give up their source of revenue?

You have shaken my worldview to its core (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | about 3 years ago | (#36778842)

This is so thoroughly at odds with everything I know and understand of this world that I am now in a horrible existential crisis. I will time to deal with this.

I have little to no faith in that (3, Insightful)

amn108 (1231606) | about 3 years ago | (#36779210)

I don't get all the hype with the Do-Not-Track, because from the beginning, I had zero faith in the method. Frankly, it's almost funny to read this now, when I knew this to be exactly what would happen. If not worse.

I mean, do you trust in a sign you'd put up on your front door, saying "Do not rob"? Thought so.

On Internet anno 2011, in the world we live in, with the kind of overpopulation and hunt for resources and money, the kiddie stuff that is "Do not track" does not work, at least not for your common greyzone law hustlers. The thinking needs to go in to other places, like a comfortable cookie policy that can also communicate to and from the user. So that people save some cookies they want, and reject the others. I could go on and on, but it's not really that hard, but I am surprised this "Do not track" thing has gotten so far off the ground. One would think it'd die in infancy, like all the other obviously lousier ideas.

Flawed study (1)

rgviza (1303161) | about 3 years ago | (#36779336)

As an HTTP expert (16 years working with the protocol at a low level, often writing code to use the protocol directly through socket connections) and programming professional, his results raised two flags for me after reading his methodology.

He stated that he only reloaded the browser after opting out. Non persistent cookies don't get deleted until you completely kill every process for a given browser because they share cookies across browser processes. Simply shutting one of the tabs off or closing one browser window won't work.

Reloading isn't going to do shit and that's all he did to see if the cookie got deleted. If it was a cookie with an expiration date, it would get deleted. Per session cookies don't get deleted based on a header from a web server. They stick around til the browser processes are closed.

To see this for yourself, open two browser windows. Go to Log out if you are logged in. Uncheck the "Stay signed in" checkbox (You DO do this already right?). Now log into gmail with one of your browsers. Close the browser. Go to the other window and go to You will still be logged in. Now log out of gmail. Open your cookie list and look for the cookies that will still be there.

These are per session cookies. They'll get deleted when you close all your chrome windows.

As well it's very likely that some people leave a cookie and mark the ID as "do not track" in the database so they can still serve ads and know not to collect tracking data on that ID.

Unless DoNotTrack has some mighty beefy servers, that's about the only way for you to keep track of who not to track on a permanent basis.
DoNotTrack is also a browser plug in written by Stanford. Hmmm...

He is jumping to flawed conclusions based on incomplete data.

He didn't call a single ad network to ask what the cookie is used for. Irresponsibility combined with hubris and ignorance.... What is Stanford Law coming too... oh wait a minute!

I work in the security industry, not ad serving. I used to work in the ad industry. I wrote a third party ROI tracking server. I actually do know what I'm talking about.

Of course they still track (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36779840)

Even reputable websites that allow third party adservers to post ads to their servers get tracking cookies installed. Advertising companies don't care, when they are caught they get warned at most so why bother stopping? So they all chance their arm doing it. The likes of Google text ad services generally don't I don't think. I just use an adblocker, it is my information and it is actually worth money. Ad companies will pay for this information if they can't get it for free so why are we letting them collect our information for free? There are online surveys and you can get vouchers for popular online websites for filling them in and they only take 10 minutes. I used to do it when working in a help desk at lunch time. Made about a 100 Euro in 3 months doing it. Alcohol ones pay best.

Advertisers dishonest? Amazing! (1)

straponego (521991) | about 3 years ago | (#36780192)

Their entire purpose in life is to lie and cheat in order to make money. Anybody who expect voluntary ethical behaviour from a marketer doesn't know marketers. And don't talk to me about the mythical wise, long-term thinking marketers.

Translation- Analytics =/= Advertising (1)

LordNicholas (2174126) | about 3 years ago | (#36780284)

Do-Not-Track opts you out of receiving targeting advertising. That's completely separate from something like, Google Analytics, which tells businesses how their sites are being used and measure traffic. Asking businesses not to collect analytics data is like asking a shop owner to wear a blindfold and earmuffs when you come through the door.

Misread Title (1)

Bratmon (1649855) | about 3 years ago | (#36780346)

I originally misread the title as:

"Study: Ad Networks Honoring Do-Not-Track"

My jaw almost hit the floor before I figured it out.

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