Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Berners-Lee Rejects Tracking

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the along-with-everyone-else dept.

Privacy 155

kernowyon writes "The BBC has an interview with Sir Tim Berners-Lee during his visit to the UK on their website currently. In it, he voices his concern about the practice of tracking activity on the internet — with particular reference to Phorm. Quotes Sir Tim with regard to his data — "It's mine — you can't have it. If you want to use it for something, then you have to negotiate with me.""

cancel ×

155 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

It's all nicey (4, Insightful)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772632)

...but will it have any effect on powers that are in charge? As for influence on us, most users who know who he is already share this position.

Maybe... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22772648)

He isn't the FIRST to think so...

Negotiation done! (5, Insightful)

TheGreek (2403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772682)

"It's mine -- you can't have it. If you want to use it for something, then you have to negotiate with me."
"This content is mine; you can't have it. If you want to access it for free, you have to let me track your activity."

Renegotiation done! (4, Interesting)

BaphometLaVey (1063264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772714)

I will allow you to track it and to use it in house, but the moment a third party touches it or you attempt to sell it, I want a share of the profits.

Also, if you make me pay a subscription fee (or like slashdot, if I was to choose to), and you STILL sell want to sell my data, I also want a share of the profits.

I also want a list of all the organisations you supply my information to and I also do not want them to be able to resell it without observing the above conditions: I get a share in the profits, I get to see who the sell it to, people they sell it to have to... etc

This is the only way I would be happy to allow tracking.

Re:Renegotiation done! (1)

TheGreek (2403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772820)

This is the only way I would be happy to allow tracking.
Unless you can get the content provider to agree to your terms, you'll either have to do without the content or start an escalating game of technological cat-and-mouse.

Re:Renegotiation done! (1)

BaphometLaVey (1063264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773156)

Online, I can't think of anything I could possibly need or have needed that I couldn't have found somewhere else.

Capitalism, done right, feet voting.

If they asked for DNA samples, would you say sure? Course not, there is a line, probably somewhere in between the current state of things and DNA sampling that is a reasonable compromise. If they thought they could get away with pushing for DNA samples, they would do it. Why shouldn't we push our end?

Re:Renegotiation done! (0, Flamebait)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774456)

Unless you can take "your" data and keep it in your pocket, you can't own it. All you can do is sic tax-paid thugs on people for doing things with data that you don't like, and then only if there are arbitrary rules in place that say you can do it.

Tim, you're a dickhead. If you want to enforce what people are doing with bits and bytes that you claim are your own, why don't you go grab a stick and enforce it yourself rather than fucking with the legal infrastructure.

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

toritaiyo (1108795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772740)

I think even when the content isn't free they track.

Re:Negotiation done! (3, Interesting)

jrumney (197329) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772776)

This content is mine

Only it isn't. They are tracking user activity beyond the websites that use Phorm for their advertising, and even if they were to limit it to those websites, there is still dubious data sharing going on which is probably illegal in the UK if it is not opt-in.

Re:Negotiation done! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22772938)

It is illegal in the UK under RIPA without the consent of both parties -- the ISP subscriber and web site operator. There's an implied consent for public web content but once a user has some form of authenticated session, it's illegal interception.

The real problem with the Phorm system is that it's purposely designed to grab every users click stream. Phorm are misrepresenting their opt-out cookie, which relates to targeted advertising and not the interception and profiling. The only way Phorm would be legal in the UK is for ISPs to use ACLs and isolate opt-out subscribers from Phorms "anonymous" profiling entirely.

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773368)

probably illegal in the UK if it is not opt-in.

In cases like this, I really don't see the difference between opt-in and opt-out. All the ISPs have to do to make it "opt-in" is include a clause saying that you agree to share your data in amongst the dozens of existing clauses in the terms and conditions when you sign up.

Re:Negotiation done! (3, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772796)

It is easy to state a price, but negotiation means that both parties have different prices and different means of pressure. What's our ? We are the first to say that Internet is somehow a jungle where almost anything is fair game. So, how do we defend, technologically ?

Old Skool - Static (4, Interesting)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772842)

Perhaps the old hacker trick of lowering your signal/noise ratio via injecting bad/misleading data (somewhere in the flow)? If you can't be very quiet, you can usually benefit from being very loud.

Re:Old Skool - Static (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772996)

There was a stuff like that in a Doctorow story about Google becoming evil and tracing your search habits. In the story Google rogue engineers, made a "search normalizer" that automatically made searches for you that neutralized any deviant trait that could show up.

So, how do we get this done ? We have to find many trackers and activate them regularly to make noises to pollute the signal ? Anyone knows of such a project ?

Re:Old Skool - Static (4, Informative)

Janos421 (1136335) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773164)

So, how do we get this done ? We have to find many trackers and activate them regularly to make noises to pollute the signal ? Anyone knows of such a project ?
Well that's exactly the purpose of obfuscation tools like SquiggleSR and TrackMeNot, two Firefox extensions. They generate fake queries on search engines to create noise and deceive data mining algorithms.

As developer of SquiggleSR, I was thinking to extend it to simulate fake browsing as well to create more noise and deceive track based on cookies. But since some ads are charged when they are displayed, this could actually be assimilated to something like "fraudulent view". What do you think?

Re:Old Skool - Static (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773480)

Are teh user or you party to the ad contract? If not (which is probably the case unless the user agrees to something), then it's not your problem.

Re:Old Skool - Static (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773698)

I think it is fair game. It is not fraudulent in that the goal is a fair use. The day tracking becomes optional, this fraudulent input won't be necessary any more.

Re:Old Skool - Static (1, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774010)

I think you will be fine as long as you follow robots.txt. Personally I think disallowing cross-site cookies is the best way to handle it, though.

Re:Old Skool - Static (1)

Thwomp (773873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774196)

There is already a Firefox extension named Dephormation [dephormation.org.uk] . It doesn't fake browsing habits it just automatically sets the Phorm 'opt-out' cookie for each page view.

Re:Old Skool - Static (1)

CheShACat (999169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774404)

I've just installed SquiggleSR and it looks ideal. I like the idea of fake random browsing on top of the fake searches because that simple change would hugely increase the scope of the privacy provided. The only people I can see that would be harmed by this are those who wish to exploit exactly this data - advertisers. And besides, as others have said: it really isn't your problem to worry about content providers arguing with their sponsors over views. Great work on the plugin, fella.

Re:Old Skool - Static (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 6 years ago | (#22775468)

If this goes ahead (which I don't think it will as RIPA is quite specific on the matter), I'm all for polluting the Phorm database. A screen scraper that, for example, every few minutes:
Picked two random words from a dictionary
Plugged them into a random search engine (google, youtube, ask... list is endless)
Visited n of the first i links
Visited x of the links on each of those pages, and thereafter a 5% chance of following any other link on that page

would do a great job of confusing the hell out of anything trying to track your browsing habits.

Exactly who would you be defrauding though? Unless it becomes illegal to browse random websites? If they're making money on a false assumption (i.e. every website you visit is something you're interested in buying something related to it) then how is it your fault if your predeliction for browsing random rubbish results in them feeding you worthless data? Is the pattern above really that difficult from this http://xkcd.com/214/ [xkcd.com] ? Maybe when our corporate plutocracies make not providing Innovative Marketing Solutions the Ability to Upsell via Creative Strategic Online-Enabled Mandatory Advertarial Enablement Solutions a criminal offence, until then they can fuck right off. I don't click on ads, I don't even look at ads, I've been trained since I was young enough to see to ignore ads. Hell, everyone who cold calls gets added to a list of Companies I Will Never Buy Anthing From. You can't force me to think ads are relevant, or even essential.

Disclaimer: I am not a BT customer, as in the past they have made their intentions of fucking over the user for the pursuit of greater profits highly visible to me. Their marketing and former monopoly status (switly turning into another monopoly that *isn't* state controlled), combined with most non-techies ignorance of how the internet works has made them exceptionally complacent, to the extent that the UK is beginning to resemble the US's dire telecoms market.

Re:Old Skool - Static (0, Redundant)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773452)

I guess they (Phorm) just track web URLs; I was thinking just a simple dictionary attack with a bit of depth to it should take care of this. I just pulled this from my butt at this moment, but I think it would work if you created a shell script or even batch file to do the following...

Get your favorite tar balled dictionary, pull a random word from it, google the random word with elinks or something, and follow a random link with wget. From that site, pull 3 unique links and visit them, from those sites pull 2 unique links and follow them, from those sites pick a single unique link and follow that.
Rinse, lather, repeat.

This should give a deep enough tree with a large enough fanout over enough topics to mask your normal usage patterns. Bonus points for switching up protocols and ports every now and then.

Re:Old Skool - Static (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774532)

and what happens the first time you randomly wget yourself some kiddy porn?

Re:Old Skool - Static (4, Informative)

Dude McDude (938516) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774918)

I guess they (Phorm) just track web URLs
Nope. The content of every page requested by a user gets sent to Phorm's profiler for analysis, but the profiler ignores* the contents of form fields.

* according to Phorm, which, in the company's previous incarnation as 121media, was a spyware peddler.

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

BaphometLaVey (1063264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773250)

Don't use them. Go somewhere else. You do not need to defeat a technology, just make it unprofitable by not using websites that employ it.

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773656)

But websites that use them do not advertise it. These trackers are hidden.

Re:Negotiation done! (5, Funny)

Marcion (876801) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772800)

Its mine, my precious, get away pesky data-mining hobbits.

Re:Negotiation done! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22772832)

that's exactly it. the ability to track people's activities is simply an unintended consequence. I don't like it, and the inventor of the innernet doesn't like it, but there it is. If you don't want to be tracked, use an encrypted solution or TOR or VPN that makes you look like you're in another country or something. the superpower governments are pushing people in this direction anyway with their interminable snooping.

Ignore it and work around it, and if you feel dirty, pollute the data.

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774672)

"the inventor of the innernet doesn't like it"

Al Gore doesn't like tracking?

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

mrbah (844007) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772872)

"This content is mine; you can't have it. If you want to access it for free, you have to let me track your activity."
That's basically the business model of the current web bubble. None of the services are really free, it's just that you're getting something in return for something you may not have known you had. There's still no such thing as a free lunch.

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

ShiningSomething (1097589) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772906)

That's perfectly acceptable. But most sites do not advertise the fact that they are tracking you. They could post prices: you can access this page/site by agreeing to be tracked for the next 48 hours. But they don't.

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772962)

But most sites do not advertise the fact that they are tracking you.

Depends on what you mean by "advertise". A site's Privacy Policy and/or User Agreement will normally state plainly whether the site collects any information about your behavior, and if so how they use that information.

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

ShiningSomething (1097589) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773004)

That's true, but I think it should be stated more clearly. Just as credit card companies need to state their interest rates in really large print in their contracts (even if they still try to mislead you).

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774748)

It doesn't matter. How many software agreements have you clicked the "I agree" on without reading the entire thing (or any of it at all)? Having a privacy policy that is easy to find on a site is as clearly stated as you are going to get. If people don't care if their information is tracked and how it is used (and that is about 95% of the internet which is why fighting tracking is an uphill battle) it doesn't matter how clearly it is stated. It is just like when they made the warnings on cigarettes bigger. I'm pretty sure that the problem isn't most people don't know cigarettes are harmful to your health, and if only the lettering were bigger they would somehow obtain this knowledge. The fact is that smokers do know cigarettes are bad for you, but don't care and smoke anyways.

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772912)

"This content is mine; you can't have it. If you want to access it for free, you have to let me track your activity."
I prefer: the content is mine. If you want to access it for free, that's okay, just keep my notices intact. If you want to change it or redistribute it, you gotta let everyone else do what I've done for you.

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772916)

For free? I don't know about you, but I pay my ISP £35 a month to access your free content. If your content is of particular interest to me (for instance, an MMORPG) i'll pay you too to access that particular content.
 
What I don't expect is for you to automatically forward all the data i'm paying to access, plus all the data I submit to you as the receiving party (which may be confidential), to a third party, previously linked with less than legal practices, with limited or no choice in the matter, which has no discernable benefit for me.
 
If you think you can get away with that, expect me to give my money and business to a competitor, and to recommend to all I know to do the same.

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773098)

Sorry, you're not paying for the data from your ISP. You're paying for the ability to access it using the ISP services. Second, the data you submit to me is part of the technology used to request data from me. You can't get it without telling me where you want to send it. Third, I can enter into any contract I want with whomever I want in relation to what data I choose to serve. You wanna touch my content, on my host, you play by my rules.

Or you just don't come to my server and request my things. Oh, and don't go to any other server and request their data if they have negotiated the same group policy as I have in regards to collecting your observable data. See, we don't have to forward all the data of where you have been to each other, we already know the content on each others sites. We just know in what order and when you requested it. We can figure out the rest on our own.

See, fishing on your computer looking at your files to determine what you have been up to is intrusive. Analyzing server logs across multiple servers to determine behavior is not.

Re:Negotiation done! (2, Insightful)

Sczi (1030288) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773256)

I think this is getting OT a bit.. as I understand it Phorm runs at the ISP level and then sells the data to content providers. I, for one, am getting really sick of this trend of uppity ISP's trying to get in the racket of playing monkey in the middle with our data. They get their monthly check simply for being a conduit. How about requiring the ISP's in question to call every one of their subscribers and say "we just wanted to inform you that we are going to sniff all of your traffic and sell the data to advertises" and see what kind of response they get.

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773754)

Agreed.

The above post isn't intended to defend, it's intended to lay out how it is. Know your enemy and all that.

BTW, the consumers really don't seem to care that the financial industry has been doing this with their ATM, Debit, Credit, and gift cards for a while now.

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 6 years ago | (#22775018)

"BTW, the consumers really don't seem to care that the financial industry has been doing this with their ATM, Debit, Credit, and gift cards for a while now."

I was going to say the same. I know someone who is freaky about personal information issues, then I come to find out he has a couple "rewards" cards from various retailers. When I tried to explain to him that all those cards do is collect information about his habits for retailers, he laughed and called me "paranoid". Yet he searches through his logs religiously to get rid of any "tracking cookies". Hilarious stuff.

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

coats (1068) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774426)

What I don't understand is why the following sort of argument shouldn't work:

The amalgamation of the set of links I follow and the set of queries I make is a literary work that I own, under the Berne copyright treaty. (Note that I'm not talking about the content found at the links but rather the set of links themselves).

Therefore it is my copyright work, and selling it to a third party is copyright infringement to which both civil and criminal penalties should be applied.

FWIW...

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

discogravy (455376) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772922)

but note that, like most transactions, this is dependent on how the item in exchange is valued and by whom -- in the beginning of the p2p days, napster was used by some record companies to measure the success of certain albums/songs etc. once they noticed they were actually bleeding, they squashed it and decentralized all the p2p downloads. to get that kind of data now, they'd have to compile it from 10 or 15 sources and still not have a complete picture (oink being the last real bastion of almost cetralized music sharing, other p2p torrent sites sprang up to replace oink, but some users went to usenet no doubt).

Most users will have no problems giving away their info in exchange for services, assuming that a) it's not hard and b) it's nothing they perceive as Really Intrusive. Anyone can fill in "John Smith" on those New York Times registration pages, but asking for an ID #, or a CC # to verify would be harder for people to agree to (although they do that to, if they want in bad enough -- e.g., ebay.com). Considering the amount of data available about most people via their credit card bills, it's mostly academic anyway.

Re:Negotiation done! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22773328)

This content is mine

This is not the case. The content is everybody else's; e.g. if the ISP's user was surfing Slashdot, the content could be yours.

If you want to access it for free

This is not the case. The ISPs charge a fee for the Internet connection.

you have to let me track your activity

This is not the case. They allow you to opt-out.

Congratulations, the only thing that isn't completely wrong about your comment is the bit you quoted, and that is because it was written by somebody else.

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

Instine (963303) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774202)

"Phorm has said its system offers security benefits which will warn users about potential phishing sites - websites which attempt to con users into handing over personal data. "

They just turn EVERY SITE YOU VISIT into a phishing site! Sorted.

Re:Negotiation done! (1)

MacDork (560499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22775206)

This content is mine; you can't have it. If you want to access it for free, you have to let me track your activity.

Uh, no I don't... My web browser controls what is loaded in a very fine tuned manner. When I load a page at slashdot.org, I only load what I want.

My browser didn't load those 'mc' and 'uid' quantserve cookies that are tracking people everywhere online from slashdot to hotornot.com. I did however load, store, and will later use the Slashdot.org cookies. I have granular control over all my cookies, and they are one click away.

At my command, my browser also blocks swf files, other known ad sizes, and blocks data entirely from known bad guys like doubleclick. If something does slip through, eliminating it is a simple control click away. The PERL wizards will appreciate that I can blackhole data based on regular expressions in URLs. Any domain, path, file extension... I can nuke it. It's certainly much more powerful than a hosts file.

My browser also blocks the popups that other browsers like Safari miss... If I need something that didn't get though, there's a little icon for everything that was blocked in the form of cookies, popups, images, etc on the status bar at the bottom of my window. Images and SWFs are a grey box. Hover and it tells me the domain. Click and it loads. Everything is one click away.

I can even change all of those settings on a domain by domain basis. My browser gives me complete control over what I load and what gets displayed. My browser even makes it simple to snatch images from websites like flickr that attempt to block me from saving images. I just view page info and there's an list of every image on the page. No more hunting through page source to find a image. Click the display button to see it. Click the save button to keep it.

I don't even have to load your front page to use your site in many cases. In my url bar, I type "google macdork site:slashdot.org" and I get a google search for "macdork site:slashdot.org." I can do the same with yahoo, msn, ebay... I can shortcut any search box on any site with one click simplicity. Why should I have to be subject to Yahoo's front page and their latest "Top 10 ways to spend your money" list and other info-tainment-mercials, when I just want to use their search engine without the distraction? For sites with different parameters like the RIAA Radar [riaaradar.com] I can dictate which parameters are used in the search, so "riaakey" shortcut does a keyword search while "riaaart" does an artist search.

You two can bicker about who has "the power" in the arrangement, but reality dictates that you do not define what I can and cannot do with the data your web server spews at me. My browser is in control of that. You're only able to dictate your terms to people who use limited, crappy browsers. The entire ad based internet is based on that assumption. For people like myself however, I am able to view "your" content on my terms unless you decide to shut your site down. If anyone is wondering by now, I use Omniweb. [omnigroup.com] Registered user since 2004. (^_^)

You have to negotiate, and I'm very expensive. (2, Insightful)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772688)

I agree with ol' Tim. An ISP's job is to provide a pipe for the Internet, charge for usage, and stay out of the way. That's all.

Unless I want them to do something else. And tracking me is not something I want. That's right, spam filtering is something else that I want to be "opt-in", and content filtering, and every other bloody sort of filtering.

Actually though, I would be happy if they paid me, but for one week at a time. For that one week I'll happily browse Goatse, Goatshe, Tubgirl etc. (images downloaded, but not displayed, I'm not that crazy). Any real browsing I'll do via my own encrypted proxy set-up at my webhost.

Basically, I'm not the target audience for tracking.

Anyway, it's great to see this sort of issue on mainstream media. Now just to get the 'normal' people to read it...

Re:You have to negotiate, and I'm very expensive. (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772892)

The trouble is that everyone wants helpings of everyone elses' pies. Phone hardware makers now bolt services and content on their phones, phone service companies sell TV, Apple sells music, so why shouldn't ISPs want to wander off the reservation into the lush green 'services' pasture?

Re:You have to negotiate, and I'm very expensive. (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772950)

Did you think about what 'ISP' stands for before you wrote that?

Phorm ..... (1)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772694)

Sure this isn't a typo?? :-)

Re:Phorm ..... (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772956)

Sure this isn't a typo?? :-)
The summary could have been written in clearer English, however, that is not a typo. RTFA.

Re:Phorm ..... (1)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773574)

RTFS . . . . read the f***ing smiley !!

And yes, I read the article before posting.

free internet? (2, Interesting)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772710)

Quite honestly, if they want to track my internet usage, and exert some control over my online experience, then they can.

In return, I want high speed internet access to be provided free of change, with no download limit.

Sound fair?

Re:free internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22773184)

Quite honestly, if they want to track my internet usage, and exert some control over my online experience, then they can.

In return, I want high speed internet access to be provided free of change, with no download limit.

Sound fair?
Except they still wont let you use bittorrent.

Re:free internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22773568)

Only if your data is worth that little to you.

I see this is an English company, it is clear that your Stasi needs to keep a check on you where it's cameras cannot watch you. They will be checking your turds next too.

"quotes" (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772718)

I don't know that the usage of "quotes" is correct in that submission (I am seriously wondering if someone with access to a more comprehensive dictionary could find out for me).

    Certainly, "Quoth" would be correct in its place -- but archaic -- or just "Said".

Re:"quotes" (4, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772850)

Certainly, "Quoth" would be correct in its place -- but archaic
Why am I suddenly reminded of "The Raven?" -

So that now to stop the tracking
with ISPs not lending backing
stoping only shy of hacking - hacking at my gateway door
Quoth Sir Berners: "Nevermore"

felonious corepirate nazi billionerrors bailing... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22772736)

each other out, whilst the rest of US go DOWn in their dUSt. let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Disappointed (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22772746)

First, I'm disappointed that a progressive, law-abiding person like Tim Berners-Lee doesn't support the safety of his fellow men. I am also disappointed that he doesn't realize it's not his data. It's data *about* him, created by other people's technology watching him.

Phorm's own CEO doesn't even get it (5, Funny)

Scutter (18425) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772768)

Kent Ertugrul, chief executive, of Phorm, told BBC News: "We have not had the chance to describe to Tim Berners-Lee how the system works and we look forward to doing that.

You think you need to explain how your tracker works to the father of the internet , and that once you do, he'll be ok with it. Boy, if that ain't arrogance right there, I don't know what is.

www != Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22772794)

You fail.

Re:www != Internet (1)

Scutter (18425) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772822)

Wow. Yeah. You're right. My blatant error of typing "internet" instead of "www" completely changes everything and utterly invalidates my point! Thanks so much for pointing that out.

Re:www != Internet (0)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 6 years ago | (#22775134)

The "Internet" and "World Wide Web" are not the same thing, and using them interchangeably is incorrect usage. (WWW is just a part of the Internet)

Webopedia [webopedia.com]
Many people use the terms Internet and World Wide Web (aka. the Web) interchangeably, but in fact the two terms are not synonymous. The Internet and the Web are two separate but related things.

The Internet is a massive network of networks, a networking infrastructure. It connects millions of computers together globally, forming a network in which any computer can communicate with any other computer as long as they are both connected to the Internet. Information that travels over the Internet does so via a variety of languages known as protocols.

The World Wide Web, or simply Web, is a way of accessing information over the medium of the Internet. It is an information-sharing model that is built on top of the Internet. The Web uses the HTTP protocol, only one of the languages spoken over the Internet, to transmit data. Web services, which use HTTP to allow applications to communicate in order to exchange business logic, use the the Web to share information. The Web also utilizes browsers, such as Internet Explorer or Firefox, to access Web documents called Web pages that are linked to each other via hyperlinks. Web documents also contain graphics, sounds, text and video.

The Web is just one of the ways that information can be disseminated over the Internet. The Internet, not the Web, is also used for e-mail, which relies on SMTP, Usenet news groups, instant messaging and FTP. So the Web is just a portion of the Internet, albeit a large portion, but the two terms are not synonymous and should not be confused.

Besides, everybody knows that Al Gore invented the internet...

Re:Phorm's own CEO doesn't even get it (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772830)

Not only that, he's a CEO. People that keep track of what executives say know better than to trust what they say at face value.

Re:Phorm's own CEO doesn't even get it (1)

unbug (1188963) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772862)

Mate, it ain't arrogance, it's certainty. Even if he's the father of the internet his kneecaps are still soft for those non-verbal descriptions.

Re:Phorm's own CEO doesn't even get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22772958)

Dude, they were talking about Tim Berners-Lee, not Al Gore (or maybe Al isn't the father of the internet either; he just invented it).

Re:Phorm's own CEO doesn't even get it (3, Funny)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772970)

The article mentions nothing about Al Gore.

Dear Mr Father-of-Internet (2, Funny)

wsanders (114993) | more than 6 years ago | (#22775566)

What kind of parent are you? Your kids are all vandals, taking drugs, driving around drunk, and causing trouble all over town. Please ground them or cut off their allowance or something.

I Agree With Tim (4, Interesting)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772788)

After having read the article, I would have to agree with Tim. Where I go on the 'tubes is none of my ISPs business. And this is not about trying to hide some illicit activity, but a defense of my right to live without being watched everywhere I go. I must say, though, that I am not surprised to see this coming out of England. When are its citizens going to finally stand up for their rights and put and end to all of the cameras and tracking? V's speech begins to come to mind.

Re:I Agree With Tim (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773084)

And this is not about trying to hide some illicit activity, but a defense of my right to live without being watched everywhere I go.

Personally, I visit religious sites and political sites all the time in which they are a personal thing. Does my ISP need to know which religion I belong to or who am I going to vote for?

Hell no.

Not surprising but... (1)

florescent_beige (608235) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772932)

In TFA's page source is:

<!-- Code for :bbc -->
<!-- START NetRatings Measurement V5.1 -->
<!-- COPYRIGHT 2003 NetRatings Limited -->

NetRatings being a tracking service of some sort.

Anyway. I always wondered about the philosophical implications of allowing someone to own the vibrations in the air. What I mean is, if someone makes the air around me vibrate in a particular way, I'm not allowed to observe it as I wish. One way of observing the vibrations would be to observe the effect those vibrations have on a particular machine. Call it a "recording machine".

The same goes for photons that impact my body. I'm not allowed to observe them in arbitrary ways, only in certain prescribed ways.

The reason such a strange rule makes sense, they say, is that the vibrations and photons aren't the real issue, the thing in question is the *meaning* of those phenomena. Those phenomena represent "performance".

So ok. I hereby attach meaning to every single action that I make for the rest of my life. They are to be considered a performance. Anyone seeking to observe or record my actions without my consent is hereby committing a copyright violation.

Re:Not surprising but... (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773966)

If you look down the bottom right of all the BBC News pages, you'll see two little tabs called 'Most Read' and 'Most Emailed'.

The 'tracking' involved doesn't amount to much more than a page impression counter to enable the BBC to see what interests people most (though I have my worries about such data being used to promote a dumbing-down of editorial policy - lowest common denominator and all that...).

Re:Not surprising but... (1)

Jane_Dozey (759010) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774106)

Also, I am free to not visit the BBC's website or just plain old block scripts and such things that they may use to help them track me. I can also use a proxy if I'm that worried and can't live without my daily BBC fix. However, if I'm understanding Phorms tracking correctly it's done on the ISP side and I have no say in the matter.

It's mine! You can't have it! (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772990)

with regard to his data - "It's mine - you can't have it. If you want to use it for something, then you have to negotiate with me."

Jack Valenti? Is that you?

Seriously. I skimmed the summary, and thought this article was something completely different.

Easy Fix (1)

SlashWombat (1227578) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773046)

Phorm should be easily defeated. Just need a script to "harvest" various random sites, and have the script running in the background, clicking away merrily. Phorm will track this random spew and will not be able to differentiate your real traffic from the "noise".

Should call this script/program DEPHORM, guess it could easily ruin some halfwits dreams of embarrassing riches!

Re:Easy Fix (1)

Thwomp (773873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774162)

I haven't had a chance to look into it properly but there appears to be a Firefox extenstion called Dephormation [dephormation.org.uk] . The site states "But Dephormation is not a solution. It's a fig leaf for your privacy."

If you, dear reader, live in the U.K. and are with an ISP that's thinking of dealing with Phorm then take a look at Bad Phorm [badphorm.co.uk] to see what you can do about it.

Privacy Terms of service (1)

Benjamin_Wright (1168679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773080)

Legally, we are coming to a conflict between what companies like Phorm say consumers have agreed to give and what consumers say they have agreed to give. Tracking companies like Phorm will say consumers agreed to their terms of service that allow tracking. But consumers can publish their own privacy terms of use [blogspot.com] that legally forbid tracking. [This idea is not legal advice to anyone, just something to think about.]

What we lose sight of.. (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773134)

Believe it or not, the Internet, just like Electricity, is NOT a given right.

We enter into a contract, pay some money, and get a service.

If you dont want to be tracked, profiled, and served steaming hot piles of ads, then build your own network, backbone, etc and see how far you can go with that.

The other option is to simply not use the Internet or find someone with a contract/TOS you can live with but as long as there is money on the table (feeding you ads) tracking and profiling will always be one board meeting away.

In a perfect world, maybe it is your data. In the real world, you dont own the network, the board of directors, or any part of their business. In the end, it is theirs to do with as *they* please and your right to walk away as *you* please.

Re:What we lose sight of.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22773356)

Wow, what an amazing and realistic solution you have. I for one salute your democratization of the market.

Anonymous Coward
CEO ${Last Mile Internet Company}
CEO ${Worldwide IP Transit Company}
CEO ${Search Engine Company}
CEO ${Advertising Company}
CEO ${Cable Television Company}
CEO ${Grocery Chain Store}
CEO ${Private Airline Company} ...

Re:What we lose sight of.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22773654)

We enter into a contract, pay some money, and get a service.

If you dont want to be tracked, profiled, and served steaming hot piles of ads, then build your own network, backbone, etc and see how far you can go with that. ...

In a perfect world, maybe it is your data. In the real world, you dont own the network, the board of directors, or any part of their business. In the end, it is theirs to do with as *they* please and your right to walk away as *you* please.


Dude, we already paid for them to build this one. Who do you think paid for all the infrastructure currently controlled by the government-granted monopolies also known as telecom companies? Hint: have you paid your taxes for this year?

Re:What we lose sight of.. (2, Interesting)

PriceIke (751512) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773850)

That's a good comparison. Come back to this thread when electric utilities start offering to sell data collected about what kinds of electrical devices YOU own and use, how often you use them and for what purposes to advertisers, the government and whomever ponies up $$. Hey, you don't own the power lines.

Re:What we lose sight of.. (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774214)

And you dont think if they could that they wouldnt?

Re:What we lose sight of.. (2, Interesting)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774582)

They already sell data based on usage from areas, times of peak usage, and number of users (monitors) in a given area. They can give your exact usage for a day, week, month, year. Damn, they friggin trade it. Hell, I can go look at it if I want by looking at your meter myself.

It's not they TYPE of data that you get, its whether or not it can be gathered through passive observation. In the case of the internet, it can.

Phorm Phollows Phunction (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773172)

For those of us outside merry old Englande, Merry Olde Yew Nark, or Merry Old Moosecow (IN soviet... never mind) Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] says "Phorm, formerly known as 121Media, is a digital technology based in London, New York and Moscow. The company drew attention when it announced it was is in talks with some United Kingdom ISPs to deliver targeted advertising based on a user's profile."

Am I the only one who had to look it up? I thought "Is phorming like phishing"?

For the humorless cretin who mods me down for linking uncyclopedia, since there is no uncyclopedia entry for Phorm I'll link something that sounds similar [uncyclopedia.org] .

Re:Phorm Phollows Phunction (2, Informative)

Thwomp (773873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774074)

It looks like the article has been edited by the 'Phorm Comms Team' [wikipedia.org] . The edits are summarised with "Factual changes on behalf of Phorm".

Read in to that what you will. :-/

Not Against Tracking (1)

sjaguar (763407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773278)

I am not against my ISP tracking which sites I visit. In fact, I would not mind a summarized list of the sites my family visits and how long they are online. Phone companies automatically track which phone numbers I dial, why cannot it be the same for ISPs?

I am, however, vehemently against sharing that data with other companies. Of course, unless the ISP is providing me with tracking information, any information that they would track would be useless to them unless they do share it with others.

Re:Not Against Tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22773680)

Phone companies automatically track which phone numbers I dial, why cannot it be the same for ISPs?

AFAIK, the phone company isn't telling rival pizzerias how often I dial my favorite take-out place. Yes, I would be pissed if usage of the phone increased my junk mail (or spam). As is, the phone doesn't even ring so telemarketers don't have that access route.

Phorm on cookies (1)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773382)

"We believe Phorm makes the internet a more vibrant and interesting place. Phorm protects personal privacy and unlike the hundreds of other cookies on your PC, it comes with an on/off switch."


So... that 'accept cookies from sites' checkbox in my options menu isn't an on/off switch then?

copyright (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773946)

Is it not copyright ?

After all - I need do nothing to cause anything original that I write or say to be copyright, would that not extend to patterns that I make as I walk around, or sequences of web sites I visit or some other such original act that I perpetrate.

What if it turned out that the sequence of URLs I visited was a poem.

slashdot.org/there/was/a/young/man/from/Venus
google.com/who/had/an/enormous... etc.

Re:copyright (1)

Rary (566291) | more than 6 years ago | (#22775128)

After all - I need do nothing to cause anything original that I write or say to be copyright...

Actually, you do have to do something to copyright a work -- you have to "fix" it. In other words, write it down or record it in some way. If you're not recording it, then you have nothing to copyright. If someone else is recording it, then they have something to copyright. However, even if you did record it in some way, it's not the content that would be protected by copyright, but your recording of that content that would be protected.

You can't copyright facts, but you can copyright a presentation of facts.

Re:copyright (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22775332)

So, for example, after MLK Jr wrote his "I have a Dream" speech and delivered it from the steps of the Lincoln memorial, the TV and radio networks who recorded it at the time have copyright over their recordings of it, but who has copyright over the speech itself - surely MLK's heirs ? Surely I can't make a cover version of "Dark Side of the Moon" without getting permission from Messrs. Pink and Floyd. It sounds like I have some terribly confused idea of what copyright is.

And what, exactly, can he do about it? (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774278)

About as much as Westinghouse could do about alternating current being used to electrocute criminals, or Lee de Forest could do about television commercials, or Leo Szilard could do about the atomic bomb being used against Japan.

On behalf of Phorm (5, Informative)

Phorm Comms Team (1257670) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774542)

Hi all As the name suggests I work for the Phorm Comms Team. In response to Tim's comments and the raft of commentary tht has followed, we also believe that it is wrong to store Internet users' personal data. Our technology is a real turning point in the protection of privacy online - it does not store personally identifiable information, does not store IP addresss and nor does it store browsing histories. By contrast, ad targeting from other major Internet companies means that potentially identifiable personal data is stored for over 12 months before it is even anonymised. Also, because these companies reach nearly all UK Internet users, consumers effectively have no real choice about being targeted in this way. With the Phorm technology, users can choose - they can opt out or in at any time; and again, no personal data is stored . We look forward to speaking to Tim Berners Lee to explain how our technology is a ground breaking advance in delivering targeted ads while protecting privacy online and consumer choice, as we have with other experts.

Re:On behalf of Phorm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22774682)

Your technology is clearly a violation of RIPA because all requests are intercepted and mirrored to your profiling system -- even when a user has "opted-out" by getting a cookie.

With the Phorm technology, users can choose - they can opt out or in at any time

This is an outright lie! The only company that has announced it will allow an opt-out is TalkTalk, the cookie is a non-issue. You either do not understand how your own system works or are deliberately attempting to deceive the public -- which is it?

Re:On behalf of Phorm (5, Insightful)

thechanklybore (1091971) | more than 6 years ago | (#22775192)

Again, like the other respondent, I question your understanding of your own system if you believe that a simple cookie is a valid "Opt-Out" from Phorm. Maybe you could enlighten all of us Slashdotters as to how redirecting all of the traffic from a customers
internet connection to the Phorm network even when the "opt-out" cookie is set is opting out?

"By contrast, ad targeting from other major Internet companies means that potentially identifiable personal data is stored for over 12 months before it is even anonymised. Also, because these companies reach nearly all UK Internet users, consumers effectively have no real choice about being targeted in this way.
"

This is completely disingenuous. Whatever Google et al do with my data *I* have chosen to go to their site, *I* have chosen to perform a search. The Phorm method of gathering data is not comparable. If all of a person's HTTP traffic was routed through Google you may find a few people disagreeing with this too!

Re:On behalf of Phorm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22775202)

Two things: 1. Stay away from my network traffic (no need to act on that, I'll instantly move away from any ISP that gives you access to it) 2. Stick your "targetted advertising" up your arse

Re:On behalf of Phorm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22775220)

The problem being, if you remember the AOL breach, that even anonymized search queries are enough to figure out who the person attached to them is. With enough data attached to a single source, even if the identity of that source is anonymous, you could still construct the identity

Re:On behalf of Phorm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22775392)

Is this service opt in from day one? I mean, if a user does nothing, is the data collected and used? That seems like an acid test.

Re:On behalf of Phorm (1)

ydrol (626558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22775848)

Unfortunately Technical people will not believe marketing/PR oriented comments, who often use technical terms inprecisely.
They will only understand and trust a precise technical description of the system, something which Phorm may, understandably, be reluctant to give for IP/Business reasons.
What does "no personal data is stored" mean. Is data stored or not? Is it anonymized in the same way as the AOL Seach scandal was anonymized?
Will there be cross-pollination of adverts amongst users sharing the same account - I can answer that for you - Yes.

Tracking the advertiser, not the user (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774964)

We've been doing some tracking recently, but aimed at the advertiser side. We have a plug-in for Firefox which rates ads. [sitetruth.com] A little icon is displayed next to each ad, showing what our system knows about the advertiser. As we tell users of the plug in, "AdRater 'phones home', but tells us as little as possible. AdRater sends the domain name associated with each advertisment you see to SiteTruth." SiteTruth then sends back advertiser information, in XML, which the plug-in turns into icons.

We use this to find out what the advertisers are doing. Individuals are entitled to privacy; advertisers are not. We're building up a picture of the on-line advertising market. We now have, for example, a list of Google's AdSense advertisers.

Soon we'll be issuing reports on advertiser quality. (Ads on Bloomberg: mostly legit. Ads on LinkedIn: quality varies, mostly OK. Ads on MySpace: mostly bottom-feeders.) More on this in coming weeks.

It's not just advertisers tracking users any more. Sometimes it's the other way round.

Phorm 'illegal' says FIPR (1)

c_g_hills (110430) | more than 6 years ago | (#22775228)

The Foundation for Information Policy Research [fipr.org] has recently published an open letter [fipr.org] in which it argues that the Phorm system that many British ISPs have signed up to is illegal. I am definitely having no regrets about having emigrated from the U.K. to Denmark.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?