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Internet Giants To Honor the 'No' In 'No Tracking'

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the mighty-gracious-of-them dept.

Google 118

theodp writes "The WSJ reports that a coalition of Internet giants including Google has agreed to support a do-not-track button to be embedded in most Web browsers — a move that the industry had been resisting for more than a year. The new do-not-track button isn't going to stop all Web tracking. The companies have agreed to stop using the data about people's Web browsing habits to customize ads, and have agreed not to use the data for employment, credit, health-care or insurance purposes. But the data can still be used for some purposes such as 'market research' and 'product development' and can still be obtained by law enforcement officers. Meanwhile, after Google got caught last week bypassing privacy settings on Safari, and was accused of also circumventing IE's P3P Privacy Protection feature, CBS MoneyWatch contacted Mozilla to see if it had noticed Google bypassing Firefox's privacy controls. After reports that Google ponied up close to a billion dollars to Mozilla to beat out a Microsoft bid, this seems to be one of those have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife type questions that has no good answer. Anyway, according to a statement attributed to Alex Fowler, global privacy and public policy lead for Mozilla: 'Our testing did not reveal any instances of Google bypassing user privacy settings.'"

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GreatBunzinni (-1, Troll)

Intelligenta (2568347) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136495)

GreatBunzinni [slashdot.org] has been anonymously accusing [slashdot.org] almost 20 accounts of being employed by a PR firm to astroturf Slashdot, without any evidence. Using multiple puppet accounts, he mods up his anonymous posts while modding down the target accounts in order to censor their viewpoints off of Slashdot.

GreatBunzinni is actually a 32-year-old C++/Java programmer from Almada, Portugal named Rui Maciel, with a civil engineering degree from Instituto Superior Técnico and a hobby working with electronics. He runs Kubuntu and is active the KDE mailing list. He has accounts at OSNews, the Ubuntu forums, and of course Slashdot. While trolling Slashdot, he enjoys music by bands like Motorhead, Fu Manchu, Iron Maiden, but lately he's been on a big Jimi Hendrix kick, with some Bootsy Collins on the side. He's also a fan of strategy games like Vega Strike and Transport Tycoon.

Rui Maciel accidentally outed himself [slashdot.org] as the anonymous troll who has been posting his baseless accusations to every Slashdot story. He wrote the same post almost verbatim, first using his logged-in account [slashdot.org] and then in an anonymous post [slashdot.org] submitted days later. Note the use of the exact same terminology and phrasing in both posts.

Feel free to email Rui Maciel at greatbunzinni@gmail.com or rui.maciel@gmail.com, or IM him at greatbunzinni@jabber.org. You can also visit his developer blog at http://rui_maciel.users.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] . Check out his poorly written parsers or his crappy cube apps [programmersheaven.com] .

Here is a reply from one of the persons he constantly harrasses and accuses of being a shill:

Well, he's listed me as one of those "shill accounts", so he clearly has absolutely zero proof (although I can't prove that to you, obviously).

I've been posting on slashdot since my first time around at university, so that would be 1999-2000 or something? Maybe 2001 - it might have been in my second year when I got a computer of my own rather than the ones in the lab. My UID is whatever was assigned to me when I made the account, and this is the only account I have.

In other words, I've been around here for a very long time (obviously not as long as some of the 4 digit UIDs), so either Apple/MS/Sony/Facebook whoever has been paying for my to post for over ten years, or they approached me recently and started offering cash (yeah, how very likely, that they'd trust some random guy living in the UK to shill for them. No risk at all that I'd tell anyone about it! no sir!).

In other words, the guy is full of shit, and if he'd been around on slashdot long enough he'd recognise that I've been posting here for a decade.

Still, let the kids have their grand conspiracy ranting and raving. I just wish it didn't reflect so poorly on a site I that I've been a member of for so long. How far it has fallen. Hard to have a proper discussion these days without being modded down or accused of shilling if you dare to say anything that isn't in lockstep with the groupthink.

Re:GreatBunzinni (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39136923)

I hope you get raped by a pack of niggers.

Re:GreatBunzinni (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137185)

Looks like overly critical guy registered a new account.

Re:GreatBunzinni (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39141425)

You forgot to log out or hit 'post anonymously', bonch.

They were using it for these purposes earlier? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39136547)

agreed not to use the data for employment, credit, health-care or insurance purposes

So, someone who is a really good coder, but keeps his identity anonymous but slips up once could have ended up getting a Google job offer if this hadnt been implemented?
Or, someone who really needs money could have made a fake online profile and got credit on the basis of that profile?

theodp needs a lesson in being objective (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39136949)

The Microsoft accusation was a PR farce that backfired on them big time. And the Safari accusation turned out to be a bug in Safari and was used by several companies including Facebook. How about editors doing their actual work and checking the submission for obvious bias?

Re:theodp needs a lesson in being objective (0)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39139171)

"All go to hell except cave 76! Rah!". Frankly this corporate cheerleading is getting a little old and one begins to wonder if there isn't something to the rumor that Google pays posters to hang around at geek sites to protect their branding. Lets break this down, shall we?

The way to understand a thing is to know its function I've always said, so lets look at Google, what is its function? Where does their revenue come from? Well according to their filing with the SEC more than 96% of their revenue last year came from advertising so its pretty obvious they are an ad company. The products like Chrome and GMail are simply used to get to the real product, which is eyeballs which they sell to advertisers (and make billions doing so I might add) so one can say their goal is ads. Now what makes Google's ads valuable? Is it merely the number of eyeballs? No its the data mining which is why MSFT was willing to spend stupid money for Yahoo and was able to distract folks with the thought they wanted the whole thing when all they wanted was access to search. The more information you can obtain on a person the more targeted the ads can become and when you are spending the money these advertisers are you want that target focused like a laser.

So you can see why Google is gonna do the bare minimum to look like they are going along and are gonna fuck with the other browsers whenever they can, its just good business for them. the more people opt out the harder its gonna be to get the data they require to make the profits they are used to and Google is a publicly traded company. they know there is ZERO loyalty in their business, just ask Altavista and Yahoo about search loyalty, so if they can't get that data and get those targeted ads its gonna seriously hurt them. Sadly some have bought into marketing speak and actually believes that Google "Does no evil" but then again i suppose those same people thinks Apple "Thinks different" but in the end all fortune 50 companies are pretty much the same, if they weren't they wouldn't have become a fortune 50 company. so look to see google do their damnedest to skirt the very edge of the wording of "do not track" and to have a shitload of "oopsies" which while they will publicly proclaim as an accident the guy that produced the oopsie will most likely be rewarded. its just business folks.

Re:theodp needs a lesson in being objective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39140379)

And 96% (or more) of any public broadcast company revenues come from ads. Shows and movies are simply used to get to the real product, which is eyeballs which they sell to advertisers so one can say their goal is ads.

Do you call them "ad companies" as well and look like an idiot, or do you reserve this treatment to Google, kinda subverting your own words ("Cave 76 go to hell! Rah!")?

Re:theodp needs a lesson in being objective (3, Interesting)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142155)

Frankly this corporate cheerleading is getting a little old and one begins to wonder if there isn't something to the rumor that Google pays posters to hang around at geek sites to protect their branding.

So which company is it that pays you to do it then? Should we look for evidence of you being a shill, if we're being so suspicious of people?

Google "Does no evil"

People who claim that Google's motto is "do no evil" instead of "don't be evil" in the face of basically anyone who pays any attention correcting them continuously is either being willfully ignorant or is being paid to be willfully ignorant. Shills prefer "do no evil" because it's an impossible standard: Nobody agrees what evil is. If they work with copyright holders then they're evil MAFIAA censors, if they refuse then they're evil pirate sympathizers wrecking the economy, if they look for middle ground then they're both.

Now let's consider the disregard for facts (typical of shills):

if they weren't they wouldn't have become a fortune 50 company

Apple and Microsoft are in the Fortune 50. Google is number 92 (on the 2011 list).

That's just this post. Do you want to see if anyone is interested in looking through your history for more evidence that someone is paying you to attack Google (like repeated postings of the same talking points), or are you finished trolling?

Re:theodp needs a lesson in being objective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142933)

Frankly this corporate cheerleading is getting a little old and one begins to wonder if there isn't something to the rumor that Google pays posters to hang around at geek sites to protect their branding.

Bringing some sanity back into the discussion isn't corporate cheerleading, praising Apple's innovations that aren't is.

Should be 'Opt-In' (5, Insightful)

sohmc (595388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136557)

On Firefox, the "Tell websites I do not want to be tracked" is not enabled by default. I don't understand why this is not the default action.

The option should be "Tell websites I'm okay with being tracked" and should be ticked off by default.

I know when the feature was announced and then released, it was talked about for a few days and then went by the wayside. This was primarily due to the fact that Google, et al, had NO obligation to actually abide by this setting.

With the White House (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46495868/ns/technology_and_science-security/) announcing a new privacy plan, it will be interesting to see if the companies decide to self-regulate or if it will take the force of law to make them regulate.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

Intelligenta (2568347) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136569)

Because that would be devastating to Google and all their tracking. No one would turn it on. That's why it's on by default.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (-1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136583)

Ok, but why Firefox would care about Google?

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (5, Insightful)

Svippy (876087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136611)

Ok, but why Firefox would care about Google?

Do you know from where Mozilla gets their money?

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136639)

Ok, but why Firefox would care about Google?

I don't expect people to read TFA, but can't you read TFS?
He who pays the piper calls the tune. And "close to a billion dollar" isn't pocket change either.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137219)

Actually didn't read that far...

Do you know from where Mozilla gets their money?

Ok, read that in another /. story (and, very recently, in TFS) but - maybe I'm a bit naive - I thought Mozilla spirit and all would be over that ... (oh I just hear people writing replies to this - calm down!)

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

firewrought (36952) | more than 2 years ago | (#39138607)

Ok, but why Firefox would care about Google?

Because they and other advertisers must honor the DNT flag in order for it to work. Since they don't have a natural incentive to do so, the question becomes: how much media attention, public pressure, and legislative action can you muster to force them? Answer: enough to get them to agree to an opt-out approach, but nowhere near enough to get them to agree to an opt-in approach... the latter would have them fighting tooth-and-nail because you'd basically be cutting off a major revenue stream and threatening their survival.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39139565)

I have that option checked and Ghostery still stops the Analytics and Doubleclick shit in pretty much every website I visit. Sorry Google, you can take your tracking javascript and shove it up your ass.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 2 years ago | (#39144153)

I block Analytics and Doubleclick at the network firewall. Ghostery and NoScript (or ScriptNo in chrome) are the way to go. You can't trust advertisers to do the right thing, ever. Just as you can't trust the word of a marketer.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

epdp14 (1318641) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136573)

I doubt FF or chrome will be opt-in as long as google is holding the purse strings for both (or directly developing as in chrome). Google is the world's number one internet advertising provider... they aren't going to automatically opt-out people and cost themselves millions of dollars.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39136657)

On Firefox, the "Tell websites I do not want to be tracked" is not enabled by default. I don't understand why this is not the default action.

The whole point of Do Not Track is that it indicates a specific conscious request by the user not to be tracked. Anyone ignoring it is explicitly deciding not to respect the user's wishes and can't claim otherwise. Having it enabled by default allows it to be handwaved away as some arcane browser setting that "real users" don't know or care about.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (5, Informative)

Derek Pomery (2028) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136733)

Insightful? Really?

This keeps coming up...
http://blog.mozilla.com/privacy/2011/11/09/dnt-cannot-be-default/ [mozilla.com]

"As Do Not Track picks up steam and standardization is well underway in the W3C, people have begun asking, âoeIf Do Not Track is so good for the web, why donâ(TM)t you turn it on by default?â

Frankly, it becomes meaningless if we enable it by default for all our users. Do Not Track is intended to express an individualâ(TM)s choice, or preference, to not be tracked. Itâ(TM)s important that the signal represents a choice made by the person behind the keyboard and not the software maker, because ultimately itâ(TM)s not Firefox being tracked, itâ(TM)s the user.

Mozillaâ(TM)s mission is to give users this choice and control over their browsing experience. We wonâ(TM)t turn on Do Not Track by default because then it would be Mozilla making the choice, not the individual. Since this is a choice for the user to make, we cannot send the signal automatically but will empower them with the tools they need to do it.

Do Not Track is not Mozillaâ(TM)s position on tracking, itâ(TM)s the individualâ(TM)s â" and thatâ(TM)s what makes it great! For that reason we have no plans to turn on Do Not Track by default."

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136789)

Similar argument was used when used were opted in by default into "allowing non-intrusive advertising" in adblock.

It makes sense. If everyone is opted out, no one will honour the opt-out and it will become meaningless.

That said, if you don't want to be tracked on firefox, you should be using ghostery.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142363)

Why would companies stop honouring it it everyone opts out? I mean, if the opt-out has teeth, that is. They'd have no choice.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#39143761)

Hint: they have a choice. Try using adblock on numerous sites that do not want you to use it and take measures against it for a great example of what they can do.

For example, one of the tabloids in my country blocks all videos on its homepage if I block tracking with ghostery. Don't want to be tracked? No videos for you. Just a nice black screen with a message "cannot show content because of your ad blocking".

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

zidium (2550286) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136835)

Mozilla's response in that article is an example of unadulterated Orwellian doublethink. They are just putting it there to placate the zealots. If they cared, they'd present the choice to the user.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (4, Informative)

Derek Pomery (2028) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136937)

??? They do present the choice to the user.
Options->Privacy (where you would expect privacy stuff to be)
And it is at the very top of the tab. A big checkbox.
Tracking:
"Tell websites I do not want to be tracked"

Really. This is just pure nonsense, people.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1, Troll)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137967)

No, They provide the choice to the user.

Presenting a choice to the user is not the same as providing a choice to the user.

Presenting would imply that you see a dialog box at launch asking you to decide what you want, they show you, they present you, and they don't just stash it away in a preference window without even telling you it is now there. Sure, its not hard to find, but how is the (common) user supposed to know what new options made it into their browser since they first installed it, or even at the time they installed it?

This is an important enough setting to actually request the user a forced decision on first availability or first configuration (or at next update if the user never manually configured it in the past.)

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39138859)

Regardless of whether one agrees with the parent poster's argument, his post is objectively NOT trolling, nor can it be honestly mistaken for trolling. Therefore, the person who modded it as such is a liar.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39138971)

Wow I have to applaud you for getting semantics into it and obfuscating the main point. The user has a choice. Period.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39139353)

if they gave a shit at first run they'd ask "here is the choice, do you want tracking or no tracking?" and that would be the end of that but THEY DON'T and instead hide it somewhere in the options where the average user will be afraid to go for fear of "messing something up" so...yeah its bullshit, they cashed the checked so their ass is owned.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (0)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145793)

Reading this thread is the first I knew about it, so the choice has hardly been presented to me.

No, Mozilla decided for me ever since this option appeared whenver that was that I do want to be tracked, which is not, nor has it ever been my choice.

If users aren't aware of, or aren't directly presented with the choice, then the net result is indistuinguishable from the user having never been given a choice in the first place.

It's not nonsense, but I have to ask, do you have any connection to Mozilla/Firefox? you seem to be pretty rabidly defending some pretty irrational points.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (0)

aevan (903814) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136863)

Bullshit.

If they really felt it was a hot political topic*, they'd not have it discovered by happenstance or independently-researching users, but by informed users. During installation (be it the patch introducing it or original install of browser) they'd have a page explaining tracking in an unbiased manner then present the options. Seeing as they don't, the resultant statistics are meaningless-an added hurdle to filter and skew results. Comes off more as an attempt to appease their customers while not angering their sponsors-valid approach for a business, but don't patronise us so.

*By this meaning they seem to want it to make a statement about people choosing to not being tracked, that eventually a critical mass will result and tracking be a relic of a bygone age

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

sohmc (595388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137025)

Yes, I read this blog and there are a lot of good points...

The average Joe Six-pack has no idea that he's being tracked. Furthermore, average Joe Six-pack has no idea how use browser outside of typing in a URL and doing some clicking. I can see someone making the argument that Joe Six-pack probably won't install Firefox because, hell, does he even know what Firefox is?

Most people install Firefox because they hate Internet Explorer, presumably because they know Firefox to be more secure that the default browser. Most people, even technical users such as myself, trust Firefox to make certain decision for me. (Be honest: when was the last time you inspected the code, top to bottom?)

I will concede that the desire to not be tracked is an individual choice; however, by NOT making the choice default, Mozilla has effectively made the choice for the user. If Mozilla offered, upon installation, "Do you wish to be tracked?", then I'd agree with their stance. Mozilla already does this when it checks to see if it's the preferred browser.

But since the DNT setting is within the preferences (albeit easy to get to), the average user would have to know about it to set it. Best analogy: you wouldn't know that In-And-Out burger had animal fries unless you knew about it.

Mozilla, as a corporate entity, may not enable DNT by default from a corporate policy standpoint. Other comments have mentioned that to do this by default would be biting the hand that feeds them. I'll be honest and say that I haven't checked all other browsers based on the Mozilla code to see if this is enabled by default.

This doesn't negate my opinion that DNT should be enabled by default, regardless of how pointless Mozilla thinks it would be (their opinion).

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

robmv (855035) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137275)

I think the problem with setting it by default will killed it from the start, all corporation tracking users would have ignored it becasue it would have killed all their advantage. At least this way they accept to honor it because they know not everyone will know about it, it is an acceptable compromise, now our work is to teach more people about it

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

sohmc (595388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137385)

I will concede this point. I'd rather have a corporation agree, even if it's begrudgingly, to not track me if I say I don't want to be tracked.

I'd still wish Firefox would ask the user if they want to be tracked...or at the very least, inform the user of their current privacy settings every once in a while.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137821)

Do Not Track is intended to express an individual's choice, or preference, to not be tracked. It's important that the signal represents a choice made by the person behind the keyboard and not the software maker, because ultimately it's not Firefox being tracked, it's the user.

If this was even remotely true, the right approach would be to ask the user, no defaults, force a choice, simple question: Do you want to enable "Do Not Track"?

Yes and No with no button mapped to Esc or Enter/Return. Force a mouse click on the desired option.

If a browser has never asked this question, it should, upon the next update that enables the question to be asked, ask the question.

Adding a "Do not Track" option is an extremely important feature addition, but no one is going to go hunting down for it, especially if it was not there the first time they installed it. Only us geeks would ever realize about it.

It's up to the individual user to decide how harmful tracking is for them, but no matter how little or strongly they feel about it, there is no way to undo any harm they feel was done due to the flag was set to allow tracking by default. Therefore if a default is going to be provided it should not be the one that leaves the user the most exposed, but the one that grants them the most privacy.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#39139361)

Yes and No with no button mapped to Esc or Enter/Return. Force a mouse click on the desired option.

And the first time it popped up, I'd be pissed and quit using the program simply because it is not allowing me to defer the decision until later. It would make far more sense to ensure that the Do Not Tack option is in the 1st Tools Menu Layer instead of the Options. This puts it in a prominent position where it will be seen by anyone who decides to examine the various options and tools provided. In regards to this being a mandantory choice durring installation, I do agree. Force the user to make a decision either way while Installing FF and include an explanation of what this setting means/does.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137827)

Yep, insightful. And interestingly, it is a response to the blurb you posted in response to it. Behold:

Frankly, it becomes meaningless if we enable it by default for all our users. Do Not Track is intended to express an individualâ(TM)s choice, or preference

from the post your replied to:

The option should be "Tell websites I'm okay with being tracked" and should be ticked off by default.

Do you see it yet? Their argument is that "DNT would be meaningless if enabled by default, because then it doesn't express a user's CHOICE(tm). That's all they got... and it would be completely, without any residue or lingering concerns, solved by renaming the option, so ticking the box would express the CHOICE(tm) they so feverishly claim to be concerned about.

And you moan that "this keeps coming up", as if that was silly, and then post something that simply reinforces how valid it is to be brought up... ? Heh. Just no. That's not even a nice try.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137979)

Frankly, it becomes meaningless if we enable it by default for all our users.

It becomes meaningless to whom? What Mozilla and Google and all these other ad-based/free-lunch services know, but hope users don't, is that this tracking data is the goose that lays their golden eggs. Turning on the "do not track" by default would kill that goose - because virtually nobody in their right mind would ever go in and say, "Wait, no, I WANT to be tracked by Google! That's awesome having a billion dollar conglomerate watching my every move online!" Most people are creeped out by this behavior when they think about it, and the only reason they don't think about it is that nobody's pushing that choice in their face and asking them what to do.

Mozilla - funded in large part by Google - and Google themselves, have NO interest in seeing their business models disappear overnight. Turning on Do Not Track by default would force them to change their model entirely - to one of serving customers, rather than advertisers. All this doublespeak is just intended to hide that very simple fact.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 2 years ago | (#39138033)

I'd prefer not to be cynical about a group like Mozilla, but that's blatant deceit. The default is what happens before a choice is made, so there is one unless you are physically restrained from using the browser until you make a choice.

The actual answer is that nobody knows what would happen to advertising, which like it or not is the underpinning of the web, if DNT was enabled for everyone. But you can't say that for two reasons.
1) It makes Mozilla look like a total sellout
2) If normal people actually understood that the web as we know it wouldn't exist without tracking-enhanced adverts, the magic would go away. They'd be hesitant to go to random websites about strange things because they're being tracked. They'd hesitate to be as honest about searching the web. They'd cease to believe that you can find everything you want online, because someone is watching. In other words, they'd become afraid of the internet, afraid of browsing, afraid of speaking out online.

Which, maybe they should be afraid, maybe they shouldn't. That's a different argument altogether.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

sohmc (595388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39140027)

Let's be clear: ADVERTISING -- not tracking -- is the underpinning of the web. Much like ads in the newspaper, it paid for the content you are reading, but newspapers don't track me. (Aside: Maybe this is why newspapers are slowly dying. I don't know. But I do know is that this is one area that newspapers has over websites.)

Personalized ads is a specialty. Is it required? No. Sure, it helps your bottom line, but ultimately, you can get by without it.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39138123)

We went through this with email spam. Opt-in is good. Opt-out is bullshit.

"As Do Not Rape picks up steam and standardization is well underway in the civilized world, people have begun asking, "If Do Not Rape is so good for the web, why don't you turn it on by default?" Frankly, it becomes meaningless if we enable it by default for all our citizens. Do Not Rape is intended to express an individual's choice, or preference, to not be raped. It's important that the signal represents a choice made by the victim, and not the perpetrator, because ultimately it's not Mozilla being raped, it's you! You, the person in that sexy revealing outfit! Mozilla's mission is to give users this choice and control over their sexual experience. We won't turn on Do Not Rape by default because then it would be Mozilla making the choice, not the individual. Since this is a choice for the individual to make, we cannot send the signal automatically but will empower them with the tools they need to do it. Do Not Rape is not Mozilla's position on raping, it's the individual's - and that' what makes it great! For that reason we have no plans to turn on Do Not Rape by default."

Fixed that for you.

I hope you get exactly what you deserve for walking through a part of town that's controlled by people from the Direct Marketing Association.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

Derek Pomery (2028) | more than 2 years ago | (#39138353)

Rape is illegal, tracking people online is not. But your absurd analogy was humerous all the same.

If browsers defaulted to saying "Do Not Track" then companies could (rightly) argue that the header was nothing more than a waste of bytes,
that it did not represent any consumer intent at all.

Mozilla's position completely makes sense, and is the only thing ensuring that my checking of Do Not Track (which I did) cares any weight of intent whatsoever.

If there is to be any laws about honouring the DNT flag, it has to actually have some significance.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39139469)

I agree he should have used stalking which is a better analogy. if I followed you all over town, writing down all that you did, and even trying to look at what you are buying in the stores i'd be busted for stalking and rightly so. So what makes it okay because the words "On the Internet" are added? Because its some fortune 50 company? does that make it okay?

In the end the whole thing is bullshit. if Moz or anybody else at first run explained what the choice was and let the user choose? then THAT is the user making a decision about tracking but then folks might actually care about being stalked so instead they hide it under options and lie their asses off. you tell me the choice to import favorites from IE is more important than whether or not every move i make is tracked? Does that make ANY sense people?

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142553)

Insightful? Really?

This keeps coming up... http://blog.mozilla.com/privacy/2011/11/09/dnt-cannot-be-default/ [mozilla.com]

"As Do Not Track picks up steam and standardization is well underway in the W3C, people have begun asking, âoeIf Do Not Track is so good for the web, why donâ(TM)t you turn it on by default?â

Frankly, it becomes meaningless if we enable it by default for all our users. Do Not Track is intended to express an individualâ(TM)s choice, or preference, to not be tracked. Itâ(TM)s important that the signal represents a choice made by the person behind the keyboard and not the software maker, because ultimately itâ(TM)s not Firefox being tracked, itâ(TM)s the user.

Mozillaâ(TM)s mission is to give users this choice and control over their browsing experience. We wonâ(TM)t turn on Do Not Track by default because then it would be Mozilla making the choice, not the individual. Since this is a choice for the user to make, we cannot send the signal automatically but will empower them with the tools they need to do it.

Do Not Track is not Mozillaâ(TM)s position on tracking, itâ(TM)s the individualâ(TM)s â" and thatâ(TM)s what makes it great! For that reason we have no plans to turn on Do Not Track by default."

Clearly GP, and at least 4 moderators disagree. I do, too. Just because the Firefox team says it is so, does not make it so.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (0)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39145441)

I find it a little sad that you criticise the GP for being modded insightful then go on to post what you did which makes absolutely no sense.

Mozilla in the content you've posted claims not to take a position on Do Not Track, and they claim it's the users choice. By determining that the default state is that users do not want to be tracked however they've already explicitly made a choice for the user, they've decided that any user who is not aware of the option wants to be tracked, which is false - I can say this with certainty as I wasn't aware of the option but found it not set. Mozilla has thus made a choice for me that I didn't want.

So you're defending the indefensible, Mozilla is doing the same, they're claiming to take the moral high ground by giving users choice, when in reality, for the vast majority of their userbase, they HAVE made the choice for them, by defaulting to off. Mozilla have decided they do want most of it's users, and certainly it's most vulnerable and technically illiterate users who don't know how to change the option to be tracked.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

Derek Pomery (2028) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148413)

If you do not check off "Do Not Track" no header is sent.
If a browser always sent "Do Not Track" without the user indicating that was what they want, that would be no different than the browser
sending a header saying "Hi! I'm a browser! Herp Derp"

For the header to have *any* meaning at all you have to *choose* to send it.
That way you tell the site. Hey site! This is me, that person you're tracking. I don't want you to do it!

It boggles my mind how hard it is for people to grasp this simple concept.

If it was always on, it would be meaningless. Simple as that. Sites would ignore it, and would have a trivial defense for ignoring it if they did.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

mwfischer (1919758) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136875)

You don't honestly think that for a billion dollars Mozilla going to disable that by default, do you?

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

Drummergeek0 (1513771) | more than 2 years ago | (#39138133)

It should be ticked on by default. Most people out there really don't care about being tracked. Tracking is extremely valuable to the market in terms ad conversion and sales. This allows businesses to stay in business and employ people. There are few people out there who really care at all about the fact that they are being tracked, and those people generally know how to find the privacy settings in a browser. No one is going to actively seek out a setting to allow websites to track them because if they don't care if they are tracked, they also don't care if they aren't.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (1)

AtomicJake (795218) | more than 2 years ago | (#39138509)

On Firefox, the "Tell websites I do not want to be tracked" is not enabled by default. I don't understand why this is not the default action.

The option should be "Tell websites I'm okay with being tracked" and should be ticked off by default.

Actually, it is unclear what the "do not track" actually means. Does in include "do not log" - or "wipe my IP address from the logs after x days"?

Anybody, who does want to not support the biggest trackers (facebook, google, twitter), should (a) deactivate sending cookies to third parties and (b) install ghostery in FireFox. That's much more effective than the "do not track" additional information sent to the tracking web sites.

Re:Should be 'Opt-In' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39140607)

You forgot c) stop using facebook, google, twitter and d) use browser that doesn't even have facilities for cookies or any other persistent data that could be used for tracking.

Still dont trust them (5, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136587)

I'm going to still use client side aggressive tactics to force them to do "no tracking" or at least make it hard for them. Sorry, but I don't trust them and all it takes is one scumbag company (doubleclick) to act as a harvester that everyone else uses.

Re:Still dont trust them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39136795)

Agreed. My boyfriend often berates me for it. Says things like I'm "the TSA of the internet" or "killing the free internet." I understand most websites don't exist so their owners have something they can drain their money into. I would have been OK with some stuff - anonymous data used to track trends for example. Still, you only need one dirtball company to justify initiating "lock-down mode." Aka: NoScript, Ghostery, DNT+, AdBlock Plus, Spybot, etc.

On the other hand, while I block the living daylights out of many sites, I reward those who aren't abusive. I disable that stuff (or at least lessen their hold) on websites I trust. DuckDuckGo has no problem getting ads through to me. Ars Technica also has relatively free reign.

Like I said in the beginning, I fully understand and respect a company's desire to make money off of their online efforts. Become too abusive however, and I'm quite willing to lash out through the means available to me.

Re:Still dont trust them (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136881)

I very much agree with this. I've disabled 3rd party cookies, delete all cookies after I shut down the browser (which I do frequently), and I have flashblock. I haven't gone so far as to use no-script, but that's another option for people who want to be tracked even less. Sure Google and other big sites can start adhering to the do-not-track stuff, but it's the smaller guys that worry me a lot more than Google.

Re:Still dont trust them (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136955)

I've added ghostery and do not track plus. Both are aggressive and blocking tracking info.

Re:Still dont trust them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137249)

http://www.youtube.com/user/castrtroy/feed

http://www.wowprogress.com/character/us/bonechewer/Castrtroy

http://www.gametracker.com/player/CastrTroy/178.63.72.133:28930/

http://www.gamedev.net/user/46426-castrtroy/

Re:Still dont trust them (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137913)

You are aware that internet handles are not universally unique. Even things get are spelled wrong aren't unique. Because given length limitations, most people will probably drop the same letters. Also, None of those people are me. Actually, I'm pretty sure I only use this handle on Slashdot. I may have used it on other sites in the past, but don't use it anywhere now.

Re:Still dont trust them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142749)

Okay, I've disabled third party cookies (allow first party cookies) and I run in the IE Medium High zone for any site that I don't have in the restricted sites zone.

So tell me why I get the message that "Your security settings do not allow HTML forms to be submitted" on some of these sites? Looks like several sites have advertisers that are trying that javascript invisible form submit.

For any rogue advertiser using that invisible form submit loophole in some browsers--if know its a bug, and they code to take advantage of it, then it's an exploit even if the browser vendor hasn't fixed it. Their scripts become malicious software if they are using an exploit.

Re:Still dont trust them (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137023)

Who owns Doubleclick? Maybe you should GOOGLE that to find out.

Re:Still dont trust them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137183)

Doubleclick is owned by Google now. Why is that a scumbag company?
And why isn't Microsoft or Facebook that use cookies for the exact same reason?

Re:Still dont trust them (1)

AtomicJake (795218) | more than 2 years ago | (#39138889)

Doubleclick is owned by Google now. Why is that a scumbag company?

I do not know. But I know several Web site owners, who stopped using Google Ads when Google bought Doubleclick - they had that kind of reputation, you know ...

Re:Still dont trust them (2)

RandomNick892 (2581109) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137295)

As that WSJ and other articles are pointing out, the "Internet Giants" will *not* be honoring the No in No Tracking. They've supposedly agreed to curtail only some specific narrow practices. They will continue a wide range of practices which are fundamentally inconsistent with the concept of No Tracking. Aggressive client side tactics are the only way to go. However, lets not forget that the "Internet Giants" want to lock us into cloud/SaaS models and control what our client platforms can and cannot do. Aggressive consumer tactics are needed in order to prevent the later from becoming our future.

Re:Still dont trust them (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39139919)

The ironic thing is that do not track actually makes it easier for unscrupulous companies to track you, by distinguishing you from those users who are too lazy to enable it (which is the majority).

But NoScript et. al works better... (3, Interesting)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136599)

I really doubt the efficacy of this privilege when it's currently completely optional and advertising companies, by their definition, rely on less privacy to make a profit.

Until the do-not-track feature becomes a law (which I hope it does, though I'm sure these companies will find ways around it), there should be more education about NoScript and other such alternatives to those who really care about controlling their privacy and exposure.

Re:But NoScript et. al works better... (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136893)

No script works better, but both together will work best. There are ways to track a user that get around no script completely, if the power players start honoring do not track that will be one less way for your privacy to be invaded.

Easy answer (1)

honestmonkey (819408) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136617)

> seems to be one of those have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife type questions that has no good answer.

"I have never beat my wife." Not sure why that's so hard.

Re:Easy answer (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137037)

answer the questions - yes or no.

Re:Easy answer (2)

Inconexo (1401585) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137109)

That trap is supposed to work only as a yes/no question.

Suppose a form:

Have you stopped beating your wife?

[ ] Yes [ ] No [ ] NR/DK

All three options are bad.

Re:Easy answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137439)

This kind of question actually happened to my dad in court once. He was asked a question that could not be answered (such as that one), but was forced to answer 'yes' or 'no'. When he attempted to explain why he couldn't, he was threatened with 'contempt of court'. Obviously, he lost the court case since the other lawyer and the judge were in cahoots. He was from out of town and that's all they cared.

Re:Easy answer (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 2 years ago | (#39138485)

The correct answer is QueryPremiseException: assumed wife was getting beaten in first place.

Should be transparen & opt-in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39136651)

The Do No Track button? is is a technical solution. It does not create the needed transparency.

What is needed:
- Simple policy by the service provider
- The option to opt/in on a granular level
- The serviceprovider to obey to my choice and being audited in case of a hint of screwup, eventually getting a crazy fines and the accountable person going to jail.

All technical implementations are mostly vapourware and will be sidestepped. One example: think about the fingerprinting that is going on.

Out of sight, out of mind (1)

Chibinium (1596211) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136837)

All this governance of one's users is a hassle. Why not simply pull a Mailinator and not pay attention? "We'd like to have all records pertaining to your users browsing for Widgets" "Bah! We don't keep those records and don't care about them. Pay us to implement it if you want it that bad."

Name one good thing (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39136927)

Can anybody name a single good thing that came out of all this enormous data collection effort? What is better for the consumer today than it was twenty years ago when there was no internet and no tracking?

Re:Name one good thing (1)

Merk42 (1906718) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137107)

Websites that aren't pay walled.

Re:Name one good thing (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137515)

You must have a short memory. Before the free internet sites we had free BBSs who worked just fine without any need to collect terabytes of data on usage. And before that we had free newspapers and newsletters. So no, tracking and ads are not required for free content to exist.

Re:Name one good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142791)

Actually, I think it's you who has a short memory.

It wasn't "free" back then.. "Free" BBSs lived off donations for the most part.. .

Servers and the bandwidth cost money even "back then" and on the flipside media "back then" wasn't as bandwidth hungry and most people didn't have access to fast enough connections "back then" so that whole-sale leeching wasn't that big a problem for most and still some BBS's charged a subscription fee to offset the costs.

Rose-tinted glasses my friend...

Re:Name one good thing (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137471)

Can anybody name a single good thing that came out of all this enormous data collection effort? What is better for the consumer today than it was twenty years ago when there was no internet and no tracking?

Gigabytes of free online data storage, Youtube, Hulu, Slashdot, Google Maps (and similar), and Google itself (by extension also Firefox). Oh and most of the Internet. Besides that, not much.

Re:Name one good thing (4, Informative)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137521)

Can anybody name a single good thing that came out of all this enormous data collection effort? What is better for the consumer today than it was twenty years ago when there was no internet and no tracking?

The problem here is that you see yourself as the consumer. For a great deal of sites where the money is made on the internet, you are not the consumer, you're the product.

SL - Easy Buttton. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137127)

Look! at the button on your browser that will turn off tracking until we need revenue and return to our old habits.

Bullshit. (4, Insightful)

fatbuckel (1714764) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137199)

"We lied earlier but NOW we promise to not track you". Bullshit.

Re:Bullshit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39139745)

"We lied earlier but NOW we promise to not track you". Bullshit.

What earlier lie are you referring to? From whom?

Re:Bullshit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39140959)

It's another self-regulation theater for a scumbag industry that fears regulation that will actually do something.

Sure! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137291)

I'll believe it when I don't see it.

Really? (1)

aglider (2435074) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137375)

The new do-not-track button isn't going to stop all Web tracking. The companies have agreed to stop using the data about people's Web browsing habits to customize ads, and have agreed not to use the data for employment, credit, health-care or insurance purposes.

And I should trust you, right?

Use Firefox (0)

aglider (2435074) | more than 2 years ago | (#39137407)

As it's not belonging to "web companies" (Microsoft, Apple, Google) its "anonymous navigation" is likely to actually do the expected/claimed work.
And possibly stop surfing while logged into your 10+ websites. If you are logged out, there's much less information about you thay can track!

Re:Use Firefox (1)

windcask (1795642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39138597)

As has been pointed out many, many times: Google pays Mozilla's bills. That's why it's so unnecessarily hard to change the default search engine and why new search engines have to be added by special plugins instead of configured manually.

I will give you that Firefox is open-source, but then again, so is Chrome...and it tracks the shit out of you whether you like it or not.

Re:Use Firefox (1)

Skuto (171945) | more than 2 years ago | (#39139525)

The original article seems to be totally ignorant of the fact that Do Not Track *was introduced by Mozilla*.

Google was *the last one* to add it, because they hate it, of course. So no, Mozilla doesn't give a shit what Google thinks.

Also, Chrome is *not* open-source. Chromium is.

Re:Use Firefox (1)

windcask (1795642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39140761)

Also, Chrome is *not* open-source. Chromium is.

What you're saying is that the source code is open but the binary is not. No sense do you make.

Re:Use Firefox (1)

Skuto (171945) | more than 2 years ago | (#39139809)

That's why it's so unnecessarily hard to change the default search

Click search box. Select alternate one. Done. That was hard

Do not track? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137723)

Seems do-not-track should be called do-not-personalize-ads as they still collect the information.

"But the data can still be used for some purposes such as 'market research' and 'product development' and can still be obtained by law enforcement officers."

Re:Do not track? (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 2 years ago | (#39138747)

"We're not customizing our ads, we're developing our flagship advertising product based on individual consumer preferences obtained through our patented market research."

*clears throat*

Conflicts of intrest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39137933)

how can google fight SOPA and the like and still track people. tracking empowers the thing they are trying to stop. surly only tracking what they need to track your web searches and not what and where you go after the search is complete. makes the SOPA type acts toothless. as there would be no data to use to make SOPA and the like work....

or am i missing something.

I don't trust you (1)

wzzzzrd (886091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39138817)

I don't trust you. I'd rather trust ghostery [mozilla.org] .

Also... Hey apk: this is your hour to shine! Tell 'em 'bout host files!

modify your hosts file (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39139385)

I recommend modifying your hosts file to completly block all advertisers domains.

Gee, objective and factual article you have there. (2)

Skuto (171945) | more than 2 years ago | (#39139665)

I don't understand why the editors even post such crap. The comments are supposed to be stupid here, not the articles themselves!

Do Not Track was a feature *introduced in Firefox and promoted by Mozilla*. Every browser ended up implementing it, and last of all Chrome did so grudgingly, mostly because Google didn't want to be the only one not to have it. Whether it's effective or not I'll leave up to debate - I prefer to use Ghostery myself and not rely on sites to cooperate. Call me cynical.

The second paragraph of the article is entirely a troll: the "have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife type questions that has no good answer" turns out to *have* an answer, it just didn't fit the viewpoint of the poster, who doesn't want to acknowledge that.

All tracking Should Be Illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39143497)

All tracking should be illegal. Full stop. I don't care about your ability to make a profit. Your ability to do so is not a right or a guarantee. Stop the BS tracking and sink or swim on the merits of your products and advertisements alone. If you cannot find a way to do this, you don't deserve to be in business.

As a result of the insidious tracking that occurs on the Internet, I have blocked ads, cookies, scropts, beacons, web bugs, and tracking pixels for a long time. No one has the right to know who I am. I hit your page. So what? I have http referrer turned off as well. If I want to buy your product I will, but you will not track me, follow me, or attempt to make money from me unless I choose to buy from you. Full stop.

Disagree all you wish. My computer, my payed-for bandwidth. I decide.

Re:All tracking Should Be Illegal (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 2 years ago | (#39144183)

How about you don't use the services that are being offered to you for FREE.

Re:All tracking Should Be Illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39144271)

they are not free if they track you. you lose your privacy while someone else profits. not a fair exchange. my privacy is worth more than your profit. if you offer a service, don't track me. be like ixquick. no logging, no cookies, nothing...

Countermeasures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39145299)

1. Remove all accounts from Google services.
2. Remove all references to Google from your computer.
3. Send an e-mail to Google, telling them you do not agree to their new end-user agreement. And that you demand that they respect it from the beginning of the validity of the new agreement(1 mar).
4. Apply a firewall rule to block any connection/data regarding the domain google.*.
5. PROFIT IN MASS AMOUNTS!

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