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Judge dismisses class-action suit against Google for bypassing Safari privacy controls - Page 2

post #41 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by leftoverbacon View Post

Text of the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated..."

Shouldn't private browsing habits be considered part of ones persons or effects? Don't we have a right to not be tracked?

The 4th Amendment means that you're secure from unreasonable searches and seizures BY THE GOVERNMENT. It does not regulate Google's behavior. That is controlled by the law.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcfa View Post

The point of using cookies is to track user's behavior. In other words, Google collects my private web usage habits and preferences, my likes and dislikes being my personal secrets and information, which by means of my preferences I clearly stated that I have no intention sharing with a third party.
Their algorithms thus find a way to steal the information from me, which is the information about my likes, dislikes and browsing habits.
Them having information I don't want them to have is a violation of my privacy, with privacy being a valuable asset in and by itself, which has been taken away from me, which constitutes harm done.
Yes, not monetary harm, but harm nonetheless. The problem with the decision at hand is that it considers only harm something that's monetary or tangible property.

I don't think anyone is arguing that Google should be able to do what they did with impunity. I'm simply arguing that under U.S. law, you must be able to prove harm in order to win a civil case. That doesn't mean that there was no harm - just that the plaintiffs did not prove any harm.

One can, for example, sue for slander even when proving quantitative harm is difficult. But you still have to prove harm - which the plaintiffs didn't do.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #42 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post
I don't think anyone is arguing that Google should be able to do what they did with impunity. I'm simply arguing that under U.S. law, you must be able to prove harm in order to win a civil case. That doesn't mean that there was no harm - just that the plaintiffs did not prove any harm.
One can, for example, sue for slander even when proving quantitative harm is difficult. But you still have to prove harm - which the plaintiffs didn't do.

 

I fully understand your point. My point however is, that the failure of the judge and/or US Legal system, is that it defines harm simply as monetary loss or loss of property.

IF the judge makes that assumption, THEN of course it's hard to show/prove harm, after all, likely you're not poorer (monetarily) because of that, unless of course targeted ads made you foolishly spend money on things you don't need that you otherwise would have been wise enough not to spend.

 

HOWEVER IMO the real problem in this case is that harm is defined as loss of money or property. IF one considers privacy a good in and by itself, THEN there's no need to prove harm, because the very nature of cookies is to strip you of your privacy and to collect private information, which AUTOMATICALLY constitutes loss of privacy and therefore harm. No extra step needed to prove that: if the cookies do what they are designed to do, you are harmed that very instant, because the good you tried to protect, your privacy, was partially taken away from you.

 

The failure, thus, is not to recognize privacy as a valuable good in itself, regardless of monetary or property related effects.

If US civil law narrows harm down to loss of life, limb, money or property, then that law needs to be updated for this century. If the judge simply decided to narrowly define harm only in terms of monetary and property loss, then this judge should be losing his seat on the bench, and the case should be appealed.

post #43 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcfa View Post

I fully understand your point. My point however is, that the failure of the judge and/or US Legal system, is that it defines harm simply as monetary loss or loss of property.

... THEN there's no need to prove harm, because the very nature of cookies is to strip you of your privacy and to collect private information, which AUTOMATICALLY constitutes loss of privacy and therefore harm. No extra step needed to prove that: if the cookies do what they are designed to do, you are harmed that very instant, because the good you tried to protect, your privacy, was partially taken away from you.

http://www.thiefware.com/cookies.spyware.shtml
I don't think cookies are quite the privacy invading danger you believe them to be, tho like you I prefer not to have them served up by 3rd parties.

Personally I'd be more worried about the personal information you're revealing via invisible web beacons (web bugs), device beacons (ie iBeacon) and unique "advertising identifiers" used by Apple/Microsoft/Google/Facebook etc.
Edited by Gatorguy - 10/12/13 at 8:13am
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post #44 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcfa View Post

I fully understand your point. My point however is, that the failure of the judge and/or US Legal system, is that it defines harm simply as monetary loss or loss of property.

... THEN there's no need to prove harm, because the very nature of cookies is to strip you of your privacy and to collect private information, which AUTOMATICALLY constitutes loss of privacy and therefore harm. No extra step needed to prove that: if the cookies do what they are designed to do, you are harmed that very instant, because the good you tried to protect, your privacy, was partially taken away from you.

http://www.thiefware.com/cookies.spyware.shtml
I don't think cookies are quite the privacy invading danger you believe them to be.

 

That's a naive point of view. A single cookie, from a single website isn't a danger per se, because it's restricted to that web site.

However, we now have tons of "pagelets", i.e. HMTL code snippets loaded from other places, e.g, FB like buttons, etc. which allow a central site to collect a massive crosssection of your browsing habits, even if you're not directly accessing their site.

 

http://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/21386-Facebook-Like-Button--Privacy-Violation--Security-Risk.html

http://blog.priceonomics.com/post/45274645700/a-like-button-can-be-a-very-dangerous-thing

 

Google's cookie tracking has similar effects. What people with a naive understanding of cookies don't get is that it's not the single visit and the single cookie that counts, but what data collecting, data mining, statistical inference, etc. do.

It's the same naïvety that makes people think: "What do I care if the NSA collects metadata, as long as they don't listen in to my conversations." They don't need to, because enough metadata tells them almost everything they want to know, and disrobes you sufficiently to make your idea of privacy an illusion.

 

Computing at a large scale hides emerging properties. e.g. all the personal data companies have these days isn't more than they used to have in the past. But it's a huge difference if your information is in physical card files in thousands of locations, or if it is in electronic databases, many of which are linked, shared, or sold. In one scenario putting the information together, if possible at all, is a very expensive process taking weeks, if not months, something that might be attempted when hunting someone who sold nuklear secrets to the Russians during the cold war, in the other it's done in factions of a second for reasons as trivial as trying to figure out if they should show you an add for pet food or dating services.

 

The speed of computation and volume of data accessible have consequences that people routinely completely underestimate.

 

Things may get worse, when Google gives up cookies and starts using alternative methods:

 

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2013/09/how-google-will-track-you-without-cookies/69523/

 

https://panopticlick.eff.org

https://panopticlick.eff.org/browser-uniqueness.pdf


Edited by rcfa - 10/12/13 at 8:27am
post #45 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcfa View Post

That's a naive point of view. A single cookie, from a single website isn't a danger per se, because it's restricted to that web site.
However, we now have tons of "pagelets", i.e. HMTL code snippets loaded from other places, e.g, FB like buttons, etc. which allow a central site to collect a massive crosssection of your browsing habits, even if you're not directly accessing their site.

You're saying exactly the same thing I am. 1rolleyes.gif

I agree with you that's it's not the cookies you should be worrying about most. It's the web beacons and advertising identifiers that are most capable of collecting broad pictures of your web travels and usage. Worse, the websites you visit don't even tell you beacons, device identifiers or other unique HTML tags are in use but proudly disclose they use cookies as tho they're being transparent. Where's your rage against those failures to disclose?

Where's the demand you be monetarily reimbursed for the "privacy lost" to Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook or others? All of them offer sweet treats in the way of free functions or apps in return for tracking who you are, when you were there, what time it was, how long you stayed, what you were doing, and in the case of iBeacons/ Beacons perhaps what you were specifically and physically looking at or even eating at the time?

You link an article about Google "getting worse", replacing cookies with another way to track it's users? How about a more inclusive article showing that they're all "getting worse", replacing cookies with another way to track their users and yes that even includes Apple.
http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-plans-tracking-alternative-to-cookies-2013-10
Edited by Gatorguy - 10/12/13 at 8:57am
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post #46 of 47

For once, I can understand Apple's anger.  If *I* wrote the most insecure and exploitable web browser in the world, I wouldn't want anyone circumventing what little security measures I'd written in, either.

post #47 of 47
Originally Posted by MaestroDRAVEN View Post
For once, I can understand Apple's anger.  If *I* wrote the most insecure and exploitable web browser in the world, I wouldn't want anyone circumventing what little security measures I'd written in, either.

 

[citation needed, but will never be provided, because it isn’t true]

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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