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Do Not Call Site Has AT&T Stats Tracker?

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the ring-ring-doh dept.

Privacy 323

hookedup writes "The Register is carrying an article about suspicious content at the FTC's Do Not Call site. It has been a runaway hit with US consumers, with over fifty million signing up to avoid spam calls from telemarketers. But the web site hides a little secret: a 1x1 pixel image tracking visitors... and where does the trail lead but to the AT&T, one of the most persistent telemarketers." However, the tipster, James 'Kibo' Parry, notes: "There isn't any evidence proving they _are_ up to anything improper, but this relationship between the FTC and AT&T fails to avoid the potential for impropriety."

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323 comments

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second post? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166685)

WAHA~~~~~~~~~!
4chan pwns

Off by a power of ten? (1)

Delphix (571159) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166689)

shouldn't that be FIFTY million, not five million?

Re:Off by a power of ten? (1)

Aidtopia (667351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166768)

It's fifty million phone numbers that have been registered, not customers. Many (most?) customers register more than one phone number, so there are probably fewer than 50 million customers, but certainly more than 5 million.

Re:Off by a power of ten? (5, Funny)

c0dedude (587568) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166817)

You must be new here. That's only one order of magnatude. Around here, that's pretty good.

Re:Off by a power of ten? (4, Funny)

Murdock037 (469526) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166910)

Wait until the story is duped a few times, they should all add up to the right number eventually.

should be called (2, Interesting)

joeldg (518249) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166690)

the "don't call me, spam me" list.. saying they are collecting millions of email from users and have a dubious privacy policy.

Re:should be called (1)

elmegil (12001) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166767)

how precisely does the 1x1 gif collect my email address for AT&T?

It doesn't... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166831)

Back when you could register online for the DNC list; they asked for an e-mail address in addition to the phone number you wanted blocked. What reason would the government or AT&T have for wanting that e-mail address, much less linking it to a phone number, and through a directory of phone numbers a real name and physical address? One wonders...

tin foil cap time.

Putting on my tinfoil chapeau (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166779)

Your e-mail address can be nearly anonymous, but once you confirm a DNC entry from an e-mail; you might as well dump that address from a privacy chain. The government has now linked your e-mail with your phone and through that your physical address. Even if you use a free e-mail service and lie on the service's application; you're now linked at the government level through your own confirmation. Sneaky, huh?

I'm not saying there aren't other ways to track you down, but to just give away a piece of your privacy is a bit much, yes?

turning on my brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166966)

If you've got a real domain with real email, you set up an account of the form donotcall.gov@example.com.

Use that as the confirming email address, then you know who is responsible for the spam. I faked out InfoUSA just like this, Baaaaaahstids.

Turn your brain on, duuuuuuuude. Gotta go, time to turn my love light on.

Re:should be called (2, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166796)

the "don't call me, spam me" list.. saying they are collecting millions of email from users and have a dubious privacy policy.

Agreed. So, why do Slashdotters, a group I consider more privacy-aware than most people, sign up through their website? Use the 800 number, and you don't need an email address (and you don't really "give up" any info by telling them your phone number, since they need to know it to block it anyway).

Strange. I agree completely this looks a tad bit unkosher, but a very very simple way around it exists. Use the phone, Luke!

Re:should be called (1)

joeldg (518249) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166926)

I think I used a mailinator.com address when I signed up.

Re:should be called (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166932)

so why not use a throwaway hotmail account?

All this carp... (1)

Atario (673917) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166950)

...is exactly why I haven't signed up (and don't plan to) with the no-call list. Seems like a giant reverse honeypot. "Get on our website [tracker bug] so you can sign up [provide all your juicy contact & demographic info] so we can make sure you don't get bothered again [make sure ultra-crosslinked, up-to-date data on you is in all our 'affiliates'' clutches so you'll never recover from the flood you're about to get]."

It's like the occasional spams I get with the subject "Tired of spam?".

I'll take filtering any day.

(On the other hand, suing the bejesus out of spammers (of the phone or email persuasion) for boucoup bucks does sound tempting...)

Hm.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166693)

This could get bad.... 2nd Post.

What could this do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166697)

The phone number would never be sent to AT&T, so all they would know is IP addresses and any cookies they set.

--
uaY erA diputS

And what would AT&T do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166698)

Call me? And risk getting fined?

If this is not the first post. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166700)

I will login as my account and mod my self down! As always, links to posters will be posted.

So what? (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166703)

Slashdot runs MS ads.

Re:So what? (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166753)

Dear God your RIGHT! Lock the doors Martha, there gona be comming for me any second now. Get out my good shotgun and push the couch up against the window. You'll never take me alive Slashdot Bastards! You or your Microsoft Overlords.

where has the GNAA gone? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166709)

where is the Gay Nigga?

Re:where has the GNAA gone? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166818)

where is the Gay Nigga?

You're right here.

In Soviet Russia..... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166712)

government telemarkets YOU!.....

Re:In Soviet Russia..... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166746)

All your lists are belong to us!!!

blah blah blah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166816)

To improve your slashdot reading experience:

grep -v "In Soviet Russia" < /slashdot.articles/*

Re:In Soviet Russia..... (-1, Troll)

Bull999999 (652264) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166868)

The political organizations are exempt from the list so I guess you can also say... In U.S., government telemarkets YOU!

Nitpick (2, Informative)

trveler (214816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166713)

Just a small nitpick - the article fails to mention that only users of browsers capable of (or set to by default) showing images can be tracked by this method.

Long live lynx!

Re:Nitpick (1)

wankledot (712148) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166776)

They fail to mention it because there are so few instances of that... it's not worth mentioning.

Maybe we should include a "this does not affect the .01% of tinfoil hat-wearing weirdos that use lynx" disclaimer for any article having to do with anything related to the web.

Yes, and I'm sure ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166827)

all of the 7 people out there still using lynx are feeling mighty vindicated about not jumping on that crazy "graphical browser" nonsense.

Re:Nitpick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166897)

They also fail to mention that AT&T is only a small part of the origional AT&T and that all the baby bells where once part of AT&T.

Your post doesn't make a point just states a fact. That's my point.

Re:Nitpick (1)

rmarll (161697) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166939)

Just a small nitpick - the article fails to mention that only users of browsers capable of (or set to by default) showing images can be tracked by this method.

Long live lynx!


Heh moderately funny.

Almost as funny as being moderated informative.

More Info (3, Redundant)

c0dedude (587568) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166716)

I went to ftc.gov to see if such a link is standard operating procedure for them. It isn't on that site. Strange, no? Why would they track anyone who wants to stop receiveing phone ads? <conspiracytheory> To make up for it in spam!</conspiracytheory> :-)

Re:More Info (1)

WTFmonkey (652603) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166743)

Fine by me. Spam's a lot easier to filter than telemerketers.

Re:More Info (1)

wankledot (712148) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166814)

right, since they can spam me if they know my IP and that fact that I'm using a Mac.

I know you're just joking around, but I don't see how this related to spam in any way, in fact, I don't see how it related to the DNC list, they can't gather any data from me loading that image that points to me as Tom Smith, (206) 555 -1486, tsmith@foo.com. So who cares, really?

But where is it? (1)

EggMan2000 (308859) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166717)

I can't find the referenced att pixel in the html. Is it on the actual DNC list? only see the page saying the list is closed.

There it is!!! (2, Informative)

EggMan2000 (308859) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166742)

It is http://aens.net/ [aens.net]

Att Managed Services. I assume that it the ISP that is hosting this site or something?

Re:There it is!!! (3, Informative)

jsprat (442568) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166864)

And it is inside a <noscript> tag, which will only be fetched if javascript is disabled. Lynx and links will only fetch it if you ask them to.

It looks like its purpose is tracking how many people surf with javascript disabled.

Re:But where is it? (1)

Nerull (586485) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166811)

From the 'list is closed' source:

<noscript>
<img BORDER="0" NAME="DCSIMG" WIDTH="1" HEIGHT="1" SRC="http://g6589dcs.nyc2.aens.net/DCS000003_6D4Q/ njs.gif?dcsuri=/nojavascript">
</noscript&g t;

Oh NO! A tracking pixel! (2, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166722)

I don't really see where this is cause for alarm. For all we know it could be a counter.

Anyways, what's the worst that could happen? AT&T knows which web browsers people use and what resolution they're at? Oh no!

-- Dr. Eldarion --

Re:Oh NO! A tracking pixel! (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166792)

Sure, it seems like nothing now. But once all the Opera and Mozilla users have been rounded up, put into camps and executed it'll be too late.

Re:Oh NO! A tracking pixel! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166813)

Good riddance! I'm tired of the elitist bastards.

Re:Oh NO! A tracking pixel! (1)

wankledot (712148) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166844)

You LOSE! [astrian.net] ;)

Re:Oh NO! A tracking pixel! (2, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166913)

For all you know I could have been talking about the Japanese occupation of China, the US handling of accused terrorists, the US imprisonment of American citizens of Japanese descent or any other instance of mass imprisonment. Nothing said has anything to do with Goodwin?s Law, so bugger off ya Nazi. Oh dang.

Re:Oh NO! A tracking pixel! (1)

c0dedude (587568) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166863)

I know you're joking, but that information is really valuable. On a page with that many hits, a survey to be used in web design could be quite accurate of the general population and could likely be sold for quite a bit. Bet that wasn't in the contract... I'm not saying it is, or is going to be, but it could.

Re:Oh NO! A tracking pixel! (1)

Wyzard (110714) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166869)

And what IP address they came from, which can tell them the ISP, geographic location, and potentially other sorts of demographic information.

If the user has a tracking cookie from AT&T, that'll be sent back as well, which could potentially provide a link to personally-identifiable information. For example, if you pay your AT&T phone bill online, you could get a cookie that way. Then when you visit the DNC site, AT&T knows exactly which of their customers it was.

AT&T is more than a phone company (1)

pudding7 (584715) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166725)

Maybe the site is hosted by AT&T, maybe they contracted AT&T for some managed servers and DB support. Maybe AT&T is doing nothing more than generating traffic reports for the FTC. Or, maybe AT&T is collecting all the phone numbers to sell to a subsidiary so they can call them during dinner time!

Re:AT&T is more than a phone company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166980)

BINGO! [slashdot.org]

Yes, I checked, you posted before the poster in the link above.

Re:AT&T is more than a phone company (1)

JayBlalock (635935) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166989)

Then why doesn't the FTC own up to it? I agree, simple user tracking would be a completely legitimate use for the "bug" - but if that was the case, they'd be completely up-front about it, wouldn't they?

Then again, in this government, it seems nebulous quasi-denials that sound suspicious are the defacto norm...

Not a peep... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166726)

Conspiracy? What are you talking about?...I signed up for the not call list and my phone hasn't ru...oh wait, hold on, there's someone on the other line I'll call you back...

Kibo? (2, Funny)

kaden (535652) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166732)

Kibo [kibo.com] is submitting to Slashdot? Party like it's 1989!

Re:Kibo? (3, Informative)

joe_bruin (266648) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166978)

wow, the same kibo of usenet fame now graces slashdot.
for those of you not familiar with one who has been once declared a "USENET Deity", here's a brief article [wired.com] describing the man, the myth, the legend.

It's a managed service. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166738)

So they use this to manage it. DUH.

Typical YRO baby-poo. It was better when YRO just output RSS ban messages [slashdot.org] .

IP / Phone Number Database (1)

Bitwick (618204) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166741)

... or just maybe AT&T is trying to link your phone number to your IP address. Imagine what you could link up with that kind of cross referenced database. That is scary!

Re:IP / Phone Number Database (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166826)

Yeah, they could get one of the dozens of ip's that a dialup user might be assigned when they call in and link it to..... ummm.....

Well, they could get your geographical location and ISP and then pay some money under the table to get your personal information and then link your ADDRESS TO YOUR PHONE NUMBERS!!!!! ... Wait a second... *flips through a phone book* ... those evil Bastards! They are farther ahead of us than we thought!!!

Seriously though, it is this kind of tinfoil hat article that makes me weep for the future of slashdot.

Deceit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166747)

Could this plan be as deceitful as Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine [hardylaw.net] ?

ATT has the contract to impliment the DNC (5, Informative)

Christopher_G_Lewis (260977) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166751)

So? (2)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166805)

Why do they need a 1x1 pixel tracking bug to maintain a Do-Not-Call list? Aren't the telephone numbers of the participants sufficient? What reason directly related to the administration of this list is there for this? If the answers to these questions were obvious, the Register (to give them the benefit of the doubt) wouldn't be asking them.

Re:So? (5, Interesting)

Christopher_G_Lewis (260977) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166855)

The web bug is to http://g6589dcs.nyc2.aens.net

Aens.net is
AT&T Enhanced Network Services (AENS6-DOM)
POB 919014
San Diego, CA 92191-9014
US

Which is basically AT&T Managed Services.

I'm assuming its a bug to make sure the site is up and running...

Course I could be wrong, and it is a part of a national conspiracy to make my dinner get cold.

Re:So? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166867)

Well, I guess they want to be able to monitor the site to make sure it's working correctly. Sounds reasonable, once you know they are the contractor. What do you think they are using it for?

BTW, The Register seems the be The National Inquirer for nerds. I don't believe anything they say without a second source.

Re:ATT has the contract to impliment the DNC (0)

edrugtrader (442064) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166824)

dead on.

there should be no more posts to this story, and "simoniker" (who the fuck is simoniker) should be squarely kicked in the balls.

oh no, AT&T wants to gather the browser versions and screen resolutions we are using on a different server... EVIIIIIIIIIIIL.

Re:ATT has the contract to impliment the DNC (1)

phutureboy (70690) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166961)

oh no, AT&T wants to gather the browser versions and screen resolutions we are using on a different server...

Is it possible to determine the screen resolution with a hidden single-pixel gif?

I know it can be done with Flash, but can't see how it could be done with a regular .gif.

AT&T has the server logs! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166752)

The article says, "The FTC confirmed that AT&T Managed Services is its contractor, and hosts the website."

They don't need a 1x1 image to track usage... they have the server logs!

ATT = host (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166857)

Mod parent up.

Re:AT&T has the server logs! (1)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166885)

The admin has access to the system logs, yes.

However, does the person who WANTS the data has that? If the admin is a bit like me, he'll laugh at the request for access to the logs and tell the person who requested log access to take a hike and find something creative instead.

Re:AT&T has the server logs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166948)

yes, he will heartly laugh - until he got fired. how naive are you?

Re:AT&T has the server logs! (4, Informative)

matthewn (91381) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166969)

Server logs don't tell you everything you need to know if you're going to run a serious, full-service Web site -- things like what resolution your lusers are running at, etc. You need to use 1x1 shenanigans for that. Period.

Re:AT&T has the server logs! (1)

Back in Brown (586733) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166979)

The 1x1 pixel makes it easier for them to match IP address, etc. to the phone # you submit. Matching server logs requires intelligence and time, items prob. in short supply in their marketing dept.

The worst telemarketers... (1)

Soulfader (527299) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166761)

...are the damned phone companies. In our first apartment, 1 out of every 3 calls was Qwest offering us new services. That was the only DNC list I've ever felt the need to be put on.

I can't fathom what they think they might do with this information, though. Maybe my mind isn't quite twisted enough...

Incest? (2, Funny)

rlandrum (714497) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166764)

Big Brother and Ma Bell in cahoots? Say it's not so!

I'd be willing to bet that after the collosal failure of the FTC site after launch that the FTC sought the hosting services of a more robust entity. AT&T probably said "IT" first.

I did a whois on the tracking pixel code (1)

colenski (552404) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166774)

Conspiracy theorists, go nuts. Registrant: AT&T Enhanced Network Services (AENS6-DOM) POB 919014 San Diego, CA 92191-9014 US Domain Name: AENS.NET Administrative Contact: CERFnet (CA597-ORG) cerf-admin@CERF.NET PO BOX 919014 SAN DIEGO, CA 92191-9014 US 619-812-5000 Technical Contact: AT&T Enhanced Network Services (CERF-HM) hostmaster@ATTENS.COM AT&T Enhanced Network Services P.O. Box 919014 San Diego, CA 92191 US 858-812-5000 fax: 858-812-3990 Record expires on 28-Jan-2012. Record created on 08-Oct-2002. Database last updated on 8-Oct-2003 18:18:32 EDT. Domain servers in listed order: NS-WEST.CERF.NET 192.153.156.3 NS-EAST.CERF.NET 207.252.96.3

Here's the HTML (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166777)

Here's the URL for the "Bug" that they are speaking about I hope this line is longer than that filtered by the "lamness" filter.

Too bad they also get the referred, otherwise one could ramp up the counts on this from weird places.

http://g6589dcs.nyc2.aens.net/DCS000003_6D4Q/njs .g if?dcsuri=/nojavascript

The real question (3, Funny)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166782)

Kibo is the one who found this?

In that case, what everyone really wants to know is: "Is AT&T allowed [slashdot.org] ?

But.... (2, Funny)

MobileDude (530145) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166783)

It's just a tiny, wafer-thin image...

(please review Monty Python Meaining of Life prior to modding down)

Over rated (1, Insightful)

Dorothy 86 (677356) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166788)

Ok, so there is a "tracking bug" on the FTC do not call list that links back to AT&T. Well, it could be used for FTC tracking purposes, since AT&T hosts them. It possibly gets info on where they came to the site from, etc. This is all overrated.

AT&T is a huge corporation (3, Insightful)

dcocos (128532) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166801)

I'd be willing to be that AT&T hosting people don't even know that the AT&T phone people exist.

Whack a mole (0, Offtopic)

ninthwave (150430) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166804)

For no reason other than curiosity what would happen if the slashdot users went to this web page

http://g6589dcs.nyc2.aens.net/DCS000003_6D4Q/njs .g if?dcsuri=/nojavascrip

and hit reload or refresh as many times as possible in the browser of choice and to see if the slashdot effect would happen on a 1x1 gif. I don't think it could happen but who knows is it worth doing????

Hmmm (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166809)

Checking the page info with moz Firebird...i don't see it. Maybe they got rid of the thing?

Ahem... (4, Insightful)

inertia@yahoo.com (156602) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166819)

Will someone please tell me what would prevent a telemarketing company outside the US from obtaining this very accurate list of phone numbers?

Re:Ahem... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166870)

Nothing, considering they will be getting it on cd from the FTC in order to comply with the program if they are conducting buisness within the US, just like every other telemarketing company.....

Re:Ahem... (1)

keesh (202812) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166886)

From most countries it costs a fair bit to call the US... So probably not worth the money.

Re:Ahem... (1)

outZider (165286) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166909)

Not much, they're running IIS on Windows 2000. ;)

Re:Ahem... (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166945)

Long distance charges.

Re:Ahem... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166957)

Will someone please tell me what would prevent a telemarketing company outside the US from obtaining American phone books?

huh? (2, Insightful)

scovetta (632629) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166841)

How is this a problem? The URL is not dynamic, so unless there is a back-end conspiracy between the dnc list and AT&T, what the hell is AT&T going to do with 50 million IP addresses? They can't look them up to people unless they get info from elsewhere. If AT&T and the dnc list were sleeping together, then the dnc list could give AT&T the IP/name/phone/etc ANYWAY, and that would be a MAJOR betrayal of trust. It's probably just for web-traffic analysis-- pretty standard these days, so the dnc people can say, ooh, 3000 people per second are signing up, and the such.

hm... (0, Redundant)

kevin lyda (4803) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166849)

does kibo do /.?

just curious...

The Kibo guy is a dick (0, Flamebait)

dcocos (128532) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166851)

The whole if you have web tv page will crash your browser on a PC. The question is do you have a web tv? The answer is yes, but I'm not surfing with it right now

Not for "tracking" (1)

Bretski (312912) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166878)

The last few hops of a traceroute to the 1x1 image at g6589dcs.nyc2.aens.net:

10 tbr1-cl1.n54ny.ip.att.net (12.122.10.1) 131.906 ms 95.429 ms 104.953 ms
11 gar4-p300.n54ny.ip.att.net (12.123.3.2) 89.893 ms 101.538 ms 101.920 ms
12 mdf16-gsr12-2-pos-7-0.nyc2.attens.com (12.122.255.214) 101.880 ms 182.536 ms 104.979 ms
13 mdf18-bi4k-2-eth-1-1.nyc2.attens.net (63.240.0.222) 92.881 ms 191.542 ms 104.929 ms

And the traceroute to the site itself:

10 tbr1-cl4.wswdc.ip.att.net (12.122.10.29) 96.025 ms 89.429 ms 89.945 ms
11 gbr5-p10.wswdc.ip.att.net (12.122.11.170) 92.848 ms 86.531 ms 89.952 ms
12 gar3-p360.wswdc.ip.att.net (12.123.9.65) 89.904 ms 89.535 ms 86.961 ms
13 mdf1-gsr12-1-pos-7-0.wdc1.attens.net (12.122.255.182) 89.883 ms 89.537 ms 89.938 ms
14 mdf1-bi8k-2-eth-2-1.wdc1.attens.net (63.240.192.250) 101.848 ms 101.584 ms 101.936 ms

They look similar, no? AT&T hosts the site, and the image isn't necessarily a "tracking" image at all. To jump to this conclusion is a bit paranoid.

Re:Not for "tracking" (1)

NotAnotherReboot (262125) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166953)

There is no reason to have a 1x1 pixel image except to track usage. Whether this is shady or not is up for debate; AT&T is contracted to run the site.

Re:Not for "tracking" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166982)

Bretski@subfloor17.hq.fbi.gov wrote:

They look similar, no? AT&T hosts the site, and the image isn't necessarily a "tracking" image at all. To jump to this conclusion is a bit paranoid.

Just why are you so eager to make us think we're a bit paranoid?

Some news from the future (0)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166879)

Sept 11, 2004 - US-AT&T-DHS - On the day of the 3rd anniversary of the Al Qaeda attack on the United States, the head of the US Dept. of Homeland Security Adolf Hitcroft announced today "new levels of cooperation between major telcos and the [Department]". The DHS has revolutionary new software tools to connect "suspicious internet activities with actual people", Hitcroft said, without revealing more details due to the recent new Government Secrecy Act.

AT&T Runs the site! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166882)

IIRC, AT&T runs and hosts the site for the FTC - there's no way they could do it themselves... And the webbug is probably part of the standard configuration...

No it ought not to be there, but I assume they are all over the friggin place, and run WebWasher to filter them...

AT&T does in fact manage it (2, Insightful)

Qbans (470478) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166906)

I remember seeing one of AT&T's agents concerned about the amount of E-Mail being generated from the site and posted it on NANOG (North American Network Operators Group) which you can see here. [merit.edu] I don't really think that there is any "shady" tactics going on here, I think it's more for one of their in house monitoring apps, especially considering the amount of traffic [merit.edu] that they received initially.

Good grief! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7166908)

In soviet russia the web bugs track AT&T!

Everyone, don your Linux-based tinfoil hats!

check the privacy policy (5, Informative)

I Want GNU! (556631) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166927)

First off, they can log information with or without these "web bugs." I know this because I run my own websites and I track visits because I like knowing how much traffic I'm getting, with what terms, etc.

Given that, this article is useless.

But even more so, if you go to the site it says at the bottom:
This site is operated by Consumer.net and is not operated or controlled by the US Government or the telemarketing industry

Consumer.net testified at Federal Trade Commission Workshops for Internet Privacy in 1997 and the "Do-Not-Call" Forum in 2000.
Consumer.net authored a paper for an Online Profiling workshop at the Department of Commerce in 1998.

The Consumer.net Privacy Policy is found at PrivacyPolicy.com
This privacy policy states:
Web Site Log Files: We site log files are generated that collect the IP Address of the visitor, date, time, and pages visited. Aggregate reports for web site visitors are generated that do not contain personally identifiable information.


Advertising reports are generated that show the IP addresses of visitors who clicked on ads. This information may be sent to the advertiser to confirm the number of "click-throughs." The advertiser normally already has this information as a result of the user clicking on the adverstisement. No additional information about the visitor is supplied to the advertiser. The log files are eventually deleted.
There. Case solved. Stop being paranoid about such silly things. If you want to be paranoid, be paranoid that the MPAA might accidentally associate your IP with file sharing even if you don't file share, or be paranoid that John Ashcroft is using the PATRIOT Act or Patriot Act II (to be introduced in Congress soon) to spy on you for reasons unrelated to terrorism (as he has done). Better yet, donate some money to the ACLU [aclu.org] to protect your civil liberties or to the EFF [eff.org] to protect your electronic freedoms.

Just because you're paranoid... (1)

markt4 (84886) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166947)

doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.

Copy and Paste? (3, Funny)

akiy (56302) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166963)

Soooooo....

What would happen if all of us started putting the below image on all of the websites that we run?

Hmm...

<img BORDER="0" NAME="DCSIMG" WIDTH="1" HEIGHT="1" SRC="http://g6589dcs.nyc2.aens.net/DCS000003_6D4Q/ njs.gif?dcsuri=/nojavascript">

Now THIS is interesting... (2, Informative)

MP3Chuck (652277) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166981)

Shortly after I signed up for the Do Not Call list through the website, I began recieving calls (about 4 calls since around Sept 1, I believe) from AT&T about getting long distance service. Or I was eligable to recieve a phone card. Or something. I wasn't really listening. Since I live on a college campus there's really no reason for them to be calling.

Its to count the number of people w/o javascript.. (4, Insightful)

molo (94384) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166983)

Here is the snippet from the page http://www.donotcall.gov/ Note that the img tag is embedded in the noscript tag. That is, this img is only loaded in graphical browsers that don't use javascript. Since AT&T has the government contract to implement the DNC list, I don't think there's anything sinister going on here, they just want a count of the number of users that don't use/enable javascript.

-molo

<noscript>
<img BORDER="0" NAME="DCSIMG" WIDTH="1" HEIGHT="1" SRC="http://g6589dcs.nyc2.aens.net/DCS000003_6D4Q/ njs.gif?dcsuri=/nojavascript">
</noscript>

And finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin mint. (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166987)

KABOOM!

Warning (1)

nochops (522181) | more than 10 years ago | (#7166991)

Warning:

Your computer is broadcasting an "IP Address" which others can use to track your activity on the Internet.

Gimme a break. This is every bit as lame as the above message we've all received as popup spam.
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