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Google will fight to keep AdMob, calls Apple's iAd discriminatory - Page 2

post #41 of 66
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Originally Posted by bloodstains View Post

Does Google allow other competing ad networks to place ads in their web apps? As far as I understand only Google can place ads in gmail. How is that less discriminatory than what Apple is doing? In fact it seems to me Apple is being very generous.

Google owns GMail. Does Apple own every app on the App store? Shouldn't the developer get to choose which advertiser can get on there and shouldn't that advertiser have access to the same info as iAds? Given that iAds will be baked into the OS, it's more akin to Apple running ads in your browser from OS X and then feeding back info from your computer to advertisers that only deal with Apple. I don't know if it's right or wrong. Should Apple be allowed to gain an edge on advertisers because they control the hardware and operating system? Is that the same or different from Microsoft's dealings during the browser wars for example? Oh well, the feds will answer all those nagging questions.

All that said, I can't see why anyone wouldn't use iAds when putting apps with ads on the App Store. iAds is a far better integrated product anyway.
post #42 of 66
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Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Really? Where?

Yahoo and Bing are two options of the top of my head for search. But if you don't like those, then develop your own search engine or use trial and error to find the website you want. But nothing requires you to absolutely use Google search. And last I checked, Google's even been slipping a bit in US marketshare no? I could be mistaken, but I had read that Yahoo and Bing were actually gaining some traction.

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Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Better yet: demand legislation that prohibits service providers from tracking you and requires service providers to maintain your data (such as e-mail) in encrypted formats.

Sure. Let's see how much the general public likes it, when they have to pay for absolutely every web-based service out there. I am sure there's lots of public support for paying for internet search, email, maps, social networking services, etc. in exchange for their privacy.

Anyway, if the privacy nuts constituted enough of a market, I don't see why some enterprising individual or company couldn't offer equivalent services for fee and do well. By the sounds of it, at least on this thread, there's lots of people who are willing to pay for absolutely every web-based service they use because they value their privacy so much.

Apple's got 40 billion bucks in the bank. They would be a great candidate. Why can't Jobs spend some of that to provide absolutely ad-free and 100% private internet search, email and maps to every iPhone user out there? Or why not start with making MobileMe absolutely free if you own any Apple product? Of course, they should keep ads off it, even if it's free. I am sure AAPL shareholders would love this idea.
post #43 of 66
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Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

Yahoo and Bing are two options of the top of my head for search. But if you don't like those, then develop your own search engine or use trial and error to find the website you want.

Oh, puleaze. You know Bing and Yahoo aren't substantially different alternatives to Google search when it comes to privacy. I was hoping someone would at least suggest a service like Scroogle's Scraper
http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/scraper.htm


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Let's see how much the general public likes it, when they have to pay for absolutely every web-based service out there. I am sure there's lots of public support for paying for internet search, email, maps, social networking services, etc. in exchange for their privacy.

Many corporations pay for their privacy.
As for the general public, why do you feel it has to be an all or nothing proposition? Why can't anonymous search ads cover the expense? Just stop the tracking and snooping and give users encrypted data.

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Anyway, if the privacy nuts constituted enough of a market [...]

IMHO you're a privacy nut, because you're at least a little bit aware of what's going on, you know at least what some of the possibilities for abuse can be, and you must know about at least some of the abuses and disasters that have already occurred, yet you think the present state of affairs is acceptable and have no apparent concerns about where things are going.
post #44 of 66
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Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

How is it different? You are choosing to use Google. And you are choosing to sign up for their services. There are plenty of other options out there, if you don't like Google. ...

You aren't "choosing" to use Google when Google Analytics is tracking what you do on websites that have nothing to do with Google.

And, this isn't an issue of choice. Google hides what they are doing from the public and most are not even aware. Simply put, this sort of corporate Big Brother intrusion into peoples lives ought not be allowed under any circumstances. In some ways it is much more dangerous than government intrusiveness since there are few checks to begin with on corporate behavior, certainly fewer in most cases than there are on government behavior.

And, as I have previously stated, the idea that people should just be ready to give up all privacy if they want to use the Internet is offensive, and even undermines the maintenance of a healthy democracy. Privacy is and ought to be a fundamental right, and is a necessary condition for a healthy free society, and no one should be allowed to violate that privacy for gain, be they a public or private entity.
post #45 of 66
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Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

Complaining about Google's invasion of privacy is no better than those who complain about Apple's "walled garden". And equally annoying. Don't like the "walled garden"? Don't use it. Nobody is forcing you to buy an iPhone or an iPod Touch. If you want Flash and Jobs doesn't allow it, go somewhere else. It's Apple's platform. They can do as they please. And the same goes for Google. If you don't like Google, don't use their services. And don't frequent websites that use Adsense/Adwords. Nobody is forcing you to use Google. Just like nobody is forcing anybody to buy anything Apple.

That you would equate these indicates that you have absolutely zero understanding of what you are talking about, they are in no way analogous. That probably also explains why you have zero problem with what Google does.
post #46 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Oh, puleaze. You know Bing and Yahoo aren't substantially different alternatives to Google search when it comes to privacy. I was hoping someone would at least suggest a service like Scroogle's Scraper
http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/scraper.htm

ooops. Forgot about Scroogle. There ya go. There's an alternative. And it's still better than Bing!

Anyway, the point I was trying to get across is that you don't have to use Google itself if you don't want to. There's people here that seem to have issues with Google tracking them (though how much they are tracked personally is debatable), as opposed to being "tracked" in general. For such people, there are alternatives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Many corporations pay for their privacy.
As for the general public, why do you feel it has to be an all or nothing proposition? Why can't anonymous search ads cover the expense? Just stop the tracking and snooping and give users encrypted data.

It's an issue of profitability plain and simple. Target ads get Google more money (same for Bing, Yahoo, and everybody else). Now is it right for government to dictate how internet companies should run? Any regulation on this front, is an assault on Google/Yahoo/Bing's profitability. Plain and simple.

If there's that much demand (to the point that regulation is being called for), then why can't the free market respond and provide an alternative? Why the heavy hand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

IMHO you're a privacy nut, because you're at least a little bit aware of what's going on, you know at least what some of the possibilities for abuse can be, and you must know about at least some of the abuses and disasters that have already occurred, yet you think the present state of affairs is acceptable and have no apparent concerns about where things are going.

I've worked in the security and intelligence sector. I know what kind of data is collected. And how its collected. Google is the last thing that keeps me up at night.
post #47 of 66
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Originally Posted by gin_tonic View Post

I'm sorry to read this at the site, but this is BS and 100% lie. An user on Android platform must explicitly give permissions an application to do something like accessing to internet or using GPS

http://developer.android.com/guide/t.../security.html

Thanks for this. It was the one big point in the article that I think would be highly problematic to most people. I also am sorry to see scaremongering go on here, but glad to see the source material and your comments.
post #48 of 66
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Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

You aren't "choosing" to use Google when Google Analytics is tracking what you do on websites that have nothing to do with Google.

You choose the websites you visit. You are free not to patronize them anymore if they use Google Analytics which by the way (if Wiki is correct) is only employed on 40% of the 10 000 most popular sites on the internet. You can also use ad filtering software if you are that concerned about privacy. You can also block cookies outright if you really wanna ensure privacy.

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Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

And, this isn't an issue of choice. Google hides what they are doing from the public and most are not even aware.

I highly doubt that people don't know how Google targets its ads. They may not know the details. But I am fairly sure most people have a vague idea of how targetted advertising works. And I daresay that most people are fine with it.

But I must question. Why just target Google? Why don't you go after all Web Analytics companies? Kill the industry.

And why stop there. If I were an iPhone or iTouch user, I'd be far more concerned about iAds being baked into my OS. What's to stop Apple from tracking any iDevice in real-time 24/7? After all, you can't do location based advertising without getting somebody's location. And surely Apple's going to get there at some point. Shut that down too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Simply put, this sort of corporate Big Brother intrusion into peoples lives ought not be allowed under any circumstances. In some ways it is much more dangerous than government intrusiveness since there are few checks to begin with on corporate behavior, certainly fewer in most cases than there are on government behavior.

Why stop with the web? Do the same for credit cards and loyalty programs too. I am equally concerned about the fact that Air Miles knows I buy toilet paper once a month on Thursdays. And before you say cash is an alternative, just ask Apple if they'll accept non-electronic payments for an iPad....

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Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

And, as I have previously stated, the idea that people should just be ready to give up all privacy if they want to use the Internet is offensive, and even undermines the maintenance of a healthy democracy. Privacy is and ought to be a fundamental right, and is a necessary condition for a healthy free society, and no one should be allowed to violate that privacy for gain, be they a public or private entity.

Privacy is a right. Internet usage and privacy on the internet is not a right...and while we've got some laws and regulations on internet privacy in Canada, it's most definitely not true in the USA. Your entitlement to privacy does not extend to the public domain. And that's what the internet falls under. You are no more entitled to privacy on the internet, then you are when you're outside your home. Anybody is free to track your movements on the street. Same goes for the web. They can't however take your picture without your permission or use your personal data (name, address, social security number, etc.). Same on the web. Why should there be any more impositions on the internet than there would be on any other public domain?

It's always been known that you don't transmit information over the internet (or any other unsecure electronic medium) that you would not want revealed publicly. There's a good reason why major corporations and government agencies still use paper, secure intranets, etc. The public should learn to be equally cautious. We should not have to protect every ignorant soul. Case in point: sexting. Should we ban or restrict MMS/SMS because a few ignorant individuals don't understand the privacy issues behind those technologies?

As for the preservation of democracy, I'd rather have the internet we have here, then that nicely regulated version they have in China or North Korea. Or how about what they are doing in Britain or France with internet access bans for piracy (regardless of whether it was you who did it or not....as long as you own the connection...), etc. Once you start down the slippery slope of regulation, there's no telling where it'll lead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

That you would equate these indicates that you have absolutely zero understanding of what you are talking about, they are in no way analogous. That probably also explains why you have zero problem with what Google does.

I understand how they work and I understand the trade-offs. And I accept them.
post #49 of 66
anonymouse,

You should probably stay away from AI as well, if you are really concerned about privacy. You do know this site uses Google Analytics as well, right?
post #50 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

It's an issue of profitability plain and simple. Target ads get Google more money (same for Bing, Yahoo, and everybody else).

I'm not saying I speak for everyone but targeted ads from search terms happen to be fine with me, as long as I'm not being tracked.

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Now is it right for government to dictate how internet companies should run?

Actually, yes. Internet companies aren't anything special. Laws exist to regulate how medical information is treated--information that is essential to providing adequate healthcare. Why should other aspects of our personal/private lives be any different? Other than helping to boost Google's profit margins, what is so essential about our individual browsing habits and contents of our e-mail, IMs, PMs, etc. that this information needs to be tracked?

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Any regulation on this front, is an assault on Google/Yahoo/Bing's profitability. Plain and simple.

IMHO the companies shouldn't have gone there in the first place. They're not dummies, they're bullies. It's long past time for everyone to wake up to that fact.

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If there's that much demand (to the point that regulation is being called for), then why can't the free market respond and provide an alternative? Why the heavy hand?

Why? Why is the FTC evaluating Google's proposed acquisition of AdMob? Before the free-market alternatives appear, somebody the likes of Google needs their hiney tanned, to wake the public up to what's going on and to set appropriate ground rules.

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I've worked in the security and intelligence sector. I know what kind of data is collected. And how its collected.

I'll only allow that you can imagine what kind of data are collected. If you knew what data and how, then you should have been all over Google 3 years ago before they started skimming wi-fi networks around the world. If you knew what Google was going to do with the data, then you should have warned them away from the Buzz fiasco a couple months ago. If you knew how Google safeguards the data, then you would have blocked them from entering business in China.

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Google is the last thing that keeps me up at night.

Glad to hear Google keeps you up at night, although it's perhaps only their share price that's of concern.
post #51 of 66
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Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Actually, yes. Internet companies aren't anything special. Laws exist to regulate how medical information is treated--information that is essential to providing adequate healthcare. Why should other aspects of our personal/private lives be any different? Other than helping to boost Google's profit margins, what is so essential about our individual browsing habits and contents of our e-mail, IMs, PMs, etc. that this information needs to be tracked?

Are you equating your e-mails and IMs and PMs with your medical history? If that's the case, you'd better tell your phone company that you expect your call history to be as secure as your doctor's records. And if privacy is a concern on that front...again, you don't have to use web-based services for that. Don't use IMs or PMs or web-based email. Why is it that you think you should have an inherent right to these services but be able to dictate on what grounds these services are delivered to you by the service providers? You might have a point on tracking browsing habits. But I can't agree that legislation is required to force companies to secure email services (that you choose to use) to the same standard as medical records.

Regulating the internet also does raise serious questions about regulating, what until this point, has largely been treated as public domain. Is that what you have an issue with? That the internet is considered a public domain? Before we go that far, how about people actual start using the privacy settings on their browser?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

IMHO the companies shouldn't have gone there in the first place. They're not dummies, they're bullies. It's long past time for everyone to wake up to that fact.

Do you share that opinion across the board? How do you feel about iAds being baked into your phone's operating system?

Anyway, assuming you are sincere, how then do you keep up innovation while stifling a very important source of income for these companies. Where would Google be today without Google Analytics for example? Would they have had the money to do GMail or Google Maps, etc.? Heck, where would the whole internet be today without this?

And by the way, how is their behaviour bullying? I don't see it. Are they forcing webmasters to employ web analytic tools? Does Google hold a gun to your head and insist you use only Google Search. If that's bullying, then how do you defend Apple's entirely closed ecosystem? How do you describe Apple's behaviour over locking Palm out of iTunes? Personally, I think Apple was well within its rights to do so. I fail to see how Google or Yahoo or Microsoft/Bing is "bullying" anybody.

Heck, just imagine if Google was Microsoft of the 90s. The moment Jobs and Schmidt had that falling out, every iPhone would have been blocked from Google Search, youtube, Google Maps, etc. That would be bullying. Microsoft's behaviour during the brower wars. That's bullying. Apple publicly targeting Flash for elimination and coercing content creators into dumping Flash. That's bullying. Google insisting that they have the right to scan your GMail (that you voluntarily signed up for) so they can give you targeted ads is not bullying. Google tracking your visits to a website that you voluntarily went to, using software that the host of website consented to, is not bullying.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Why? Why is the FTC evaluating Google's proposed acquisition of AdMob?

It certainly isn't for privacy issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Before the free-market alternatives appear, somebody the likes of Google needs their hiney tanned, to wake the public up to what's going on and to set appropriate ground rules.

Why does Google need to be targeted to raise public awareness? Is this about Google or about privacy on the internet? If it's about privacy, then target the public. Inform them about the privacy issues. And if (and it's a big if) they perceive that legislation is needed, then craft solid legislation that applies across the board. Not just with web tracking. Target location tracking too. One would think far more people would be freaked out about location based advertising than web advertising. And hit up other privacy issues too. If it's truly about privacy of information, then surely it's about more than your web browsing history.

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Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Glad to hear Google keeps you up at night, although it's perhaps only their share price that's of concern.

Google is the last thing from my mind when I sleep. And not being an investor, I couldn't care less about their stock price.
post #52 of 66
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Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

Are you equating your e-mails and IMs and PMs with your medical history?

Nope! I'm just pointing out an obvious problem area for data retention.

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If privacy is a concern on that front...again, you don't have to use web-based services for that. Don't use IMs or PMs or web-based email. Why is it that you think you should have an inherent right to these services but be able to dictate on what grounds these services are delivered to you by the service providers?

Where did I indicate anyone has an inherent right to use Internet services? Get a grip. Where are the patent laws in the Constitution? Inherent/Constitutional rights have nothing to do with many of the regulations we live by and that benefit society.

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You might have a point on tracking browsing habits. But I can't agree that legislation is required to force companies to secure email services (that you choose to use) to the same standard as medical records.

Why use a nuclear bomb when a hand grenade would suffice? Companies don't have to secure anything, except to provide users with the encryption tools to do the job themselves.
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Regulating the internet also does raise serious questions about regulating, what until this point, has largely been treated as public domain.

You're confused. The Internet has never been about being Public Domain, at least not fundamentally. Copyright law has existed for eons and applies even on the Internet. You're maybe thinking information on the Internet is freely available, but even that hasn't been true for many, many years.
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Anyway, assuming you are sincere, how then do you keep up innovation while stifling a very important source of income for these companies.

I think Google can make serious money without the tracking, and the company has already grown too big for everyone's good, as witnessed by its numerous privacy and IP rights screw-ups.
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Where would Google be today without Google Analytics for example?

How much of the data collected via Google Analytics is really necessary?
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Would they have had the money to do GMail or Google Maps, etc.?

Yes, I believe so.
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Heck, where would the whole internet be today without this?

We'd be just about in the same place, but without Google and others snooping through our files.
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And by the way, how is their behaviour bullying? I don't see it.

You're blind. Consider Google's copying every book they can get their hands on and posting them on the Internet without permission of the copyright holders. Or the Google Buzz fiasco.
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Are they forcing webmasters to employ web analytic tools? Does Google hold a gun to your head and insist you use only Google Search. If that's bullying, then how do you defend Apple's entirely closed ecosystem?

My, such fine straw men! Let's stick to the privacy issue.
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How do you describe Apple's behaviour over locking Palm out of iTunes?

Not a problem there. It's not a privacy issue.
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Personally, I think Apple was well within its rights to do so. And likewise, I fail to see how Google or Yahoo or Microsoft/Bing is "bullying" anybody.

Did I say Yahoo and Microsoft were bullying? No, I'll leave it for you to say...
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Heck, just imagine if Google was Microsoft of the 90s. The moment Jobs and Schmidt had that falling out, every iPhone would have been blocked from Google Search, youtube, Google Maps, etc. That would be bullying. Microsoft's behaviour during the brower wars. That's bullying. Google insisting that they have the right to scan your GMail (that you voluntarily signed up for) so they can give you targeted ads is not bullying.

We're gonna build a bonfire with all these straw men!
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Why does Google need to be targeted to raise public awareness? Is this about Google or about privacy on the internet? If it's about privacy, then target the public. Inform them about the privacy issues. And if (and it's a big if) they perceive that legislation is needed, then craft solid legislation that applies across the board. Not just with web tracking. Target location tracking too. One would think far more people would be freaked out about location based advertising than web advertising. And hit up other privacy issues too. If it's truly about privacy of information, then surely it's about more than your web browsing history.

Congratulations. You got that right!
post #53 of 66
"Google so far has not agreed to turn over one of its hard drives to German [officials] for inspection. Under German law, a conviction for illegal data gathering carries a 2-year prison sentence or a fine."

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/20/te.../20google.html

What is the penalty in Germany for covering up a crime?
post #54 of 66
ahhhh yes and when this is in your new chevy volt google will be placing ads all over your dash as you drive using gps.
post #55 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

You choose the websites you visit. You are free not to patronize them anymore if they use Google Analytics which by the way (if Wiki is correct) is only employed on 40% of the 10 000 most popular sites on the internet. You can also use ad filtering software if you are that concerned about privacy. You can also block cookies outright if you really wanna ensure privacy.

a) I'm not aware of any websites that announce to visitors that their site is using Google Analytics and that their privacy may be compromised by visiting, and give them a chance to leave before they are tracked.

b) Most people aren't familiar with how to block this stuff or comfortable attempting to do so, or even aware that it's possible.

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I highly doubt that people don't know how Google targets its ads. They may not know the details. But I am fairly sure most people have a vague idea of how targetted advertising works. And I daresay that most people are fine with it.

I dare say that most people have no idea how much information is being collected about them.

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But I must question. Why just target Google? Why don't you go after all Web Analytics companies? Kill the industry.

I agree, it's an industry that ought to be killed.

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And why stop there. If I were an iPhone or iTouch user, I'd be far more concerned about iAds being baked into my OS. What's to stop Apple from tracking any iDevice in real-time 24/7? After all, you can't do location based advertising without getting somebody's location. And surely Apple's going to get there at some point. Shut that down too.

There's no indication that Apple will be maintaining databases of information on people, or revealing any information used for ad placement with third parties. However, if that is their intent, they should be prevented from doing so.

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Why stop with the web? Do the same for credit cards and loyalty programs too.

I agree, these companies and programs should not be allowed to collect information besides the absolute minimum required for the purpose. For example, a credit card company doesn't need to know anything about what you bought, only the charge amount and the merchant id. Stores ought not be able to store information regarding purchasing habits beyond the amounts applicable within the loyalty program. The difference with these at least is that most people do actually have some notion of what is being tracked and it is a real choice whether to participate.

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Privacy is a right. Internet usage and privacy on the internet is not a right...and while we've got some laws and regulations on internet privacy in Canada, it's most definitely not true in the USA. Your entitlement to privacy does not extend to the public domain. And that's what the internet falls under. You are no more entitled to privacy on the internet, then you are when you're outside your home. Anybody is free to track your movements on the street. Same goes for the web. They can't however take your picture without your permission or use your personal data (name, address, social security number, etc.). Same on the web. Why should there be any more impositions on the internet than there would be on any other public domain?

First, there's a very big difference between specific tracking of persons "on the street" and systematic tracking of everyone on the Internet. So, I reject your analogy outright as fundamentally flawed. Second, it is an intrusion into my home if they track what websites I am visiting and what I am doing on them when I do that from my home.

Systematic collection of data regarding peoples personal habits on the internet is so fundamentally different from the examples you give, and represents a possibility of abuses of that data so great, that it does justify stricter regulation. I understand that you think it's all fine, but my opinion is that you just aren't a person who tends to fully and carefully think things through to their full implications.

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As for the preservation of democracy, I'd rather have the internet we have here, then that nicely regulated version they have in China or North Korea.

This is simply a false dichotomy. There is a continuum of options for the type of internet we have. Regulating privacy abuses does not automatically turn the Internet into North Korea.
post #56 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

anonymouse,

You should probably stay away from AI as well, if you are really concerned about privacy. You do know this site uses Google Analytics as well, right?

I actively block Google Analytics, as well as a number of other scripts and content this and other sites use.
post #57 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

Are you equating your e-mails and IMs and PMs with your medical history? ..

If you are emailing your doctor about some medical condition or treatment, then there is no difference at all. If you are visiting medical websites to research something you may have, there is very little difference.
post #58 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

anonymouse,

You should probably stay away from AI as well, if you are really concerned about privacy. You do know this site uses Google Analytics as well, right?

That's the problem. It's nearly impossible for a user to know that they're being tracked. Nor does the typical user know how to protect their privacy.
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post #59 of 66
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Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

That's the problem. It's nearly impossible for a user to know that they're being tracked. Nor does the typical user know how to protect their privacy.

Why bother trying to determine if they're being tracked or not? In this day and age, I think it's a safe assumption that you are being tracked constantly.
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post #60 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Where did I indicate anyone has an inherent right to use Internet services? Get a grip. Where are the patent laws in the Constitution? Inherent/Constitutional rights have nothing to do with many of the regulations we live by and that benefit society.

And nowhere did I say privacy has to be a constitutional right. Privacy is an established right. I've never disputed that. Privacy when accessing services and a website you don't own, however, is not a right. Keep in mind that these site owners are choosing to put Google Analytics on their website. So the issue isn't just about Google. Or do you feel that website owners should have no right to track who visits their website? If this was the physical world, would you insist that property owners have no right to track who comes and goes?

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Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

You're confused. The Internet has never been about being Public Domain, at least not fundamentally. Copyright law has existed for eons and applies even on the Internet. You're maybe thinking information on the Internet is freely available, but even that hasn't been true for many, many years.

Nobody is disputing IP laws here. And I have never said that information is or should be freely available on the internet....and you accuse me of building up strawmen, eh?

Even the right to privacy of your information and its transmittal is not disputed. However, insomuch as you are employing services provided by others (whether that's web-based email or accessing somebody else's website) there is no inherent right of privacy for you, since it's not your property to begin with.

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Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

I think Google can make serious money without the tracking, and the company has already grown too big for everyone's good,

In other words, "I don't like Google. Google bad. Google should go."

If they can make more money tracking visitors to a site, and if the owners of that site can also make more money doing so, why should those two parties not be allowed to enter into an arrangement? And why should you as a customer, not be bound by their terms and conditions? You don't have an inherent right to access any website.

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Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

...as witnessed by its numerous privacy and IP rights screw-ups.

And we have laws that deal with that stuff. And they are penalized appropriately. You want to kill an entire industry because of a few screw-ups? How about we ban autos because Toyota made a few bad cars? Or ban oil production altogether because BP can't manage one oil well properly?

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Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

How much of the data collected via Google Analytics is really necessary?

That it's necessary or not is irrelevant. It makes Google and the partner site money. Killing off the entire industry (and it's not just Google Analytics we're talking about here), would result in entire sectors of the internet losing revenue. How much would advertising on AI be worth, if they didn't have data on their visitor/reader/viewer base?

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Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

We'd be just about in the same place, but without Google and others snooping through our files.

Right. So a company that's less profitable would continue providing the same level of service and innovation?

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Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

You're blind. Consider Google's copying every book they can get their hands on and posting them on the Internet without permission of the copyright holders. Or the Google Buzz fiasco.

And you keep saying I'm building straw men. "Quick. They screwed up. Ban them!"

In both cases you cite, the law and public outrage effectively quelled the issue. Google paid dearly for their mistakes.


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Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

We're gonna build a bonfire with all these straw men!

Don't forget to add yours to the pile.
post #61 of 66
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Originally Posted by AsianBob View Post

Why bother trying to determine if they're being tracked or not? In this day and age, I think it's a safe assumption that you are being tracked constantly.

And, as I have pointed out elsewhere in these forums, that's not a good thing. Among other problems are these:

a) You have to trust those doing the tracking to not use the information inappropriately. Can you? Should you? Should you have to?

b) You have to trust the employees of those doing the tracking to not use the information inappropriately for personal purposes. Getting a job at Google would be a stalkers dream.

c) Google especially, provides "one stop shopping" for governments and hackers (who seem to have no trouble getting what information out of Google) to obtain information on someone. In the case of governments, this might well be information they could not legally compile themselves, but which they might be able to subpoena or, more disturbingly in the US, at least, simply use the unconstitutional National Security Letter to obtain.

The "I don't see anything wrong with this tracking" crowd will, I know, be smirking over this last point, very knowingly pointing out that, "If you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to hide." That's a very naive view, however, as many a life has been turned upside down when the government has wrongly decided that some person did have something to hide when in fact they had done nothing wrong.

The poor state of security at Google, and very probably other trackers, is all the more reason this data collection is dangerous.
post #62 of 66
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Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

a) I'm not aware of any websites that announce to visitors that their site is using Google Analytics and that their privacy may be compromised by visiting, and give them a chance to leave before they are tracked.

And this is one point, I might agree with privacy advocates. Visitors should be made aware that they are being tracked and given the option to leave a site if they don't want to be tracked.

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Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

b) Most people aren't familiar with how to block this stuff or comfortable attempting to do so, or even aware that it's possible.

That calls for a public awareness effort, not an industry killing campaign.

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Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

There's no indication that Apple will be maintaining databases of information on people, or revealing any information used for ad placement with third parties. However, if that is their intent, they should be prevented from doing so.

We'll see. Till now, Apple wasn't an advertiser. Now they are. And if the iAds anti-trust case shows anything, it's that they clearly have the intention to collect data and pass it on to potential clients. What and how much they collect and pass on is debatable of course. But if anybody thinks that Apple the advertiser will somehow be more innocent than Google the advertiser, they are sorely mistaken.

Should they be stopped? Hard to say. Ultimately, you are choosing to use Apple's hardware and software. Shouldn't they be allowed to do with it as they please? Don't like an OS with advertising software baked in? There are other alternatives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

I agree, these companies and programs should not be allowed to collect information besides the absolute minimum required for the purpose. For example, a credit card company doesn't need to know anything about what you bought, only the charge amount and the merchant id.

Double edged sword. A lot of that information is also used to prevent identity theft and fraud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Stores ought not be able to store information regarding purchasing habits beyond the amounts applicable within the loyalty program. The difference with these at least is that most people do actually have some notion of what is being tracked and it is a real choice whether to participate.

Actually, I doubt most people know that Air Miles or their Sears Card tracks their purchases. Most people think that you get the points simply for shopping there. Hence the term "loyalty card". Very few people are probably aware that part and parcel with those loyalty rewards is a loss of privacy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

First, there's a very big difference between specific tracking of persons "on the street" and systematic tracking of everyone on the Internet. So, I reject your analogy outright as fundamentally flawed. Second, it is an intrusion into my home if they track what websites I am visiting and what I am doing on them when I do that from my home.

Fair enough on the first point. But on the second point...again...you don't own the website you visit. Somebody else does. And they are entitled to track who comes and goes. I do agree that you should be made aware that you are being tracked (just like signs in a mall that say you are being monitored via CCTV). But I fail to see how a website tracking visitors is any more intrusive than the security cameras in a mall filming your every step. You are on their premises. It's their right. Ditto for when you visit somebody else's site.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Systematic collection of data regarding peoples personal habits on the internet is so fundamentally different from the examples you give, and represents a possibility of abuses of that data so great, that it does justify stricter regulation. I understand that you think it's all fine, but my opinion is that you just aren't a person who tends to fully and carefully think things through to their full implications.

Actually, I just don't think the implications are as severe you and some other folks on here make the out to be. I feel there are reasonable options for people sincerely concerned about privacy (adblockers for example). I believe people who care deeply about privacy should take personal responsibility for their privacy. They should make sure their privacy settings are on, the appropriate software is installed and that they avoid sites which they know track them. But I fail to see why legislation is required across the board because a very, very tiny minority of people thinks everybody should wear a tin foil hat and be equally up in arms about the issue. That people aren't should tell you something.

And I strongly suspect that if such stringent privacy legislation were to come in, that it effectively killed off a huge chunk of revenue for web-based service providers, the public would be far more upset about losing or suffering from degraded services than they would be about privacy issues. I'll be money on that.

Finally, if there's public demand why has it not materialized. For example, MobileMe is a great service. Apple could easily advertise the privacy aspect of MobileMe. And if there's enough public demand for privacy, the customer base for MobileMe would grow exponentially. The fact that Apple doesn't care to even push the privacy angle on MobileMe shows you how concerned the public really is.
post #63 of 66
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Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

If you are emailing your doctor about some medical condition or treatment, then there is no difference at all. If you are visiting medical websites to research something you may have, there is very little difference.

The two are different scenarios.

1) Emailing your doctor. Nobody says you have to use Hotmail or GMail to do it. You are welcome to use any sort of e-mail service that does not track user information. But if you use Hotmail or GMail, why should you not have to accept the terms they come with? And we really aren't talking about Microsoft publishing your email in a public forum. We're talking about Viagara ads if you email your doctor about ED.

2) Researching a medical issue. Let's say you go to Chapters or Barnes and Noble and get a book on a certain disease. Or you go to the library and do the same. They now have information on you visiting their premises and being interested in a certain topic. They also have information on what time and where you accessed the information. How is visiting a website different? Why should that medical site not be allowed to see who visited their site from where and when, while your public library could easily pull up the same information on you?
post #64 of 66
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Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

That's the problem. It's nearly impossible for a user to know that they're being tracked. Nor does the typical user know how to protect their privacy.

Since when is ignorance an excuse for anything? Should we have laws to protect people from every little thing that they can do to themselves? Personally, I'm not a nanny-state kinda guy so maybe we have philosophical differences on this point. I don't need the government to protect me from myself. I believe people should take personal responsibility for their privacy.

And if ignorance is the issue, then let's have a public education campaign that informs people about the issue and what they can do about it.
post #65 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

I believe people who care deeply about privacy should take personal responsibility for their privacy. They should make sure their privacy settings are on, the appropriate software is installed and that they avoid sites which they know track them. But I fail to see why legislation is required across the board because a very, very tiny minority of people thinks everybody should wear a tin foil hat and be equally up in arms about the issue. That people aren't should tell you something.

Well, the "tin foil hat" comment indicates that you know your argument is a losing one. When all else fails, portray the opposition as nut jobs, eh?

In fact, the whole "personal responsibility" argument is, to use a word I don't often, bullshit. This simply boils down to allowing privacy abuses to continue. Like the battle against malware, this essentially give the upper hand to those who would abuse privacy, because, by the nature of the struggle, they will always be able to remain a step ahead of those trying to protect theirs. This is what I mean when I say -- and I don't mean this as a personal attack, but simply to point out to others the weakness of your position -- that you are not a person who thinks things through to their consequences.

It is the job of government, at least in the US, to, among other things, ".. provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity ..." While, one could argue that by defense is meant military defense, I would maintain that the founders meant more generally defense against the enemies of liberty.

It is very much the job of government, the obligation of government, to protect it's citizens against individuals, groups, and organizations that threaten our liberty, and liberty and privacy, and a healthy democracy, go hand in hand.

Quote:
And I strongly suspect that if such stringent privacy legislation were to come in, that it effectively killed off a huge chunk of revenue for web-based service providers, the public would be far more upset about losing or suffering from degraded services than they would be about privacy issues. I'll be money on that.

And I strongly suspect, in fact I am certain, that this is utter nonsense.

Advertising would continue as it does, it's just that ad agencies would no longer be allowed to collect and maintain information that they don't really need to advertise effectively.
post #66 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

The two are different scenarios.

1) Emailing your doctor. Nobody says you have to use Hotmail or GMail to do it. You are welcome to use any sort of e-mail service that does not track user information. But if you use Hotmail or GMail, why should you not have to accept the terms they come with? And we really aren't talking about Microsoft publishing your email in a public forum. We're talking about Viagara ads if you email your doctor about ED.

2) Researching a medical issue. Let's say you go to Chapters or Barnes and Noble and get a book on a certain disease. Or you go to the library and do the same. They now have information on you visiting their premises and being interested in a certain topic. They also have information on what time and where you accessed the information. How is visiting a website different? Why should that medical site not be allowed to see who visited their site from where and when, while your public library could easily pull up the same information on you?

1. Are you really this naive? Do you really believe that this information can only be used for the purposes expressed by the collector? Even if we assume that the organization collecting this information has none but the most pure intentions, there are still any number of ways the information can be abused: by individual employees, by hackers, ...

The danger isn't entirely what the company that compiles the database intends to do with it. The danger is also in the myriad of ways it can be exploited by others. The danger is in the very existence of the database itself. What folly is it for Congress to kill the Pentagon's TIA (Total Information Awareness) program, yet allow private companies to essentially do the same thing. It makes a mockery of the idea of privacy and liberty.

2. You make a point regarding libraries that undermines your own position. We've seen well enough that the government is often more than willing to violate your privacy to surreptitiously (using national security letters) go after borrower data from libraries. Do you really think they'd be any less willing and eager to go after data at Google or elsewhere? Data which it would be illegal for the government to collect itself.
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