Google, Facebook working to undermine Do Not Track privacy protections

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  • Reply 141 of 264
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    He's arguing the Internet is not a natural right, and legally it isn't. You can certainly live without using the Internet in any fashion whatsoever.



    But that's not the point of this argument at all, so it's moot.



    Actually that is part of the point. People are acting as if it is natural right. This is a key point.



    Regarding the 4th Amendment argument...that's not even relevant as that pertains to a contract between the people its government and how the government treats its citizens. And, as I stated before, people probably ought to have far more concern about that. All Google really wants to do is show you ads.



    At the end of the day, quite frankly, if this kind of privacy is the major issue that everyone is concerned with, I'd say you're life it is pretty darn good shape.



    \
  • Reply 142 of 264
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    Actually that is part of the point. People are acting as if it is natural right. This is a key point.



    It's not a natural right to drive. You're arguing the equivalent of "there shouldn't be any automobile laws because you can just "not use those roads" if you don't like that there aren't laws."
  • Reply 143 of 264
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    It's not a natural right to drive. You're arguing the equivalent of "there shouldn't be any automobile laws because you can just "not use those roads" if you don't like that there aren't laws."



    Not exactly.
  • Reply 144 of 264
    lostkiwilostkiwi Posts: 601member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    I've tried saying the same a few times recently, but I don't think the message gets thru. Perhaps I'm on too many ignore lists myself to make a difference with the regulars.



    You are not on mine :-) Even though I fundamentally disagree with your viewpoints on Android, I can see you are not a troll.

    My ignore list is full of blue flamer fandroid trolls though. Generally they pop up after a DED story - however he has started to be a little less controversial lately. Must be getting old.
  • Reply 145 of 264
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    Not exactly.



    No, that's exactly what you're saying. We're not supposed to use the Internet at all if we don't want to be tracked.
  • Reply 146 of 264
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    No, that's exactly what you're saying. We're not supposed to use the Internet at all if we don't want to be tracked.



    You said this:



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil


    You're arguing the equivalent of "there shouldn't be any automobile laws because you can just "not use those roads" if you don't like that there aren't laws."



    This statement is not exactly analogous.



    The most analogous thing would be to say if you don't want to be tracked while driving on the roads (which you almost certainly are by stationary cameras as well as police vehicles who can run your plate any time they want), don't drive on the roads.



    Now, even with this analogy more closely matching what I've said, there are still very important differences including at least the following two things:



    1. The roads are paid for by your tax money. You've had no choice in this. This ought to give you a right to use them. This is different from the Internet which is paid for by private companies building networks, data centers, servers, etc.



    2. The tracking that's being done in this case is by the government which has (and uses) the power to fine you and even imprison you. Google has neither of these powers for example. This is where the 4th amendment argument would actually come into play.



    Let's consider another analogy: A store or shopping mall. Almost always covered with surveillance cameras. Sometimes signs indicating this, often not though. These stores are private property. There's nothing requiring you to enter them or patronize them in anyway. If you don't wish to be video taped you are free to avoid those stores. You can also do things to diminish the extent of this perhaps by wearing a baseball cap or something. The point is that this is private property. The owners of this property have a right to reasonable tracking of the activity within the store. The next argument will be...but not in, say, the dressing rooms. Of course. But to suggest that browsing an internet site and being surreptitiously video taped while undressing are similar or analogous seems a fairly weak argument.
  • Reply 147 of 264
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Heaven forbid it ever gets easier to ignore people in the future. We'll have nothing left but dozens of groups of ~fifteen people each, only listening to what they want to hear. The forum'll be in? DANG WHAT IS IT FRIGGING ALZHEIMER'S? from how it is now.



    Actually, it was easier to ignore people in the past, back when Usenet newsgroups were popular.



    The software back then allowed you to set many different parameters on your bozo bin, and to display (or don't display) the results in any way you might want.



    You could put someone there for a couple of weeks, or make say, only posts which get responded to visible, or whatever. It could be used for phrases too, so you could, for example, ignore anything that mentioned "fanb*" or "nuclear" or whatever.



    Today's HTML forums are nowhere near as comprehensive or useful or full featured.
  • Reply 148 of 264
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    I agree. However, from my tests, it is not just Google. When I turn off everything on Safari, there are several cookies from several places and that still get set. Not Google alone. This suggests a bug in Safari actually. And it wouldn't be the first time Apple has denied the existence of a bug and/or deflected blame elsewhere. But this is not happening at all in Chrome or Firefox which also suggests it is a bug in Safari. I mean Google would certainly just do this with their own browser wouldn't they?



    So in the world according to you, I have every right to come and exploit a "bug" in your door lock with a bump key and help myself to anything I find in your house.



    You are stating that fault lies with the manufacturer of the lock, that there is nothing wrong with those who exploit it.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    Actually that is part of the point. People are acting as if it is natural right. This is a key point.



    Nope, it's something I pay an ISP for, just like phone bills, water, electricity and gas.



    Those other services aren't monetised with a constant barrage of ads.
  • Reply 149 of 264
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    So in the world according to you, I have every right to come and exploit a "bug" in your door lock with a bump key and help myself to anything I find in your house.



    You are stating that fault lies with the manufacturer of the lock, that there is nothing wrong with those who exploit it.



    No. Geez these analogies are terrible.



    What I'm saying is that it looks it is possible that there's bug in Safari is ignoring the setting to not send cookies. If this is the case, then it is possible that Google didn't necessarily have anything to do with this...that cookies got set and sent from Safari despite anyone setting the "don't send these" setting.



    The other possibility is that there's a bug/security hole, that Google (and others) discovered and exploited.



    In the second case, Google is certainly being bad doing such a thing. However, the solution here is to have Apple plug the security hole that exists (and, sure, call Google out for this bad conduct).



    But both of those are also a far cry from federal laws. Let's see how the players handle this.



    And, as I said, for individual users in the mean time...use one of the browsers that don't have this flaw. That's not like the end of the world.





    Now...back to your lock analogy. There is a possibility that if your lock doesn't work and you get robbed, you'd have a case of some kind against the lock company under the doctrine of fitness for use...which says that products sold are assumed to be reasonably fit for the use which they've been purchased. Locks are meant to lock. Food is meant to be eaten without killing or sickening you. So on...AND the person who exploits the fault is ALSO responsible for any damage or theft of your property.



    Now...let's jump back and see how this idea of "damage or theft of property" compares to someone tracking that you visited a website...
  • Reply 150 of 264
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    Nope, it's something I pay an ISP for, just like phone bills, water, electricity and gas.



    Those other services aren't monetised with a constant barrage of ads.



    Another poor analogy. Paying for water, gas, electricity is paying directly for a product.



    The phone one might be more comparable. But there's more...



    Paying your ISP you pay for access to a network to visit millions of servers around the world. Some (most probably) of those servers are paid for by their providers in some way. Some will chose to make the server (and its content, services, etc.) free to all comers, display some ads and assume that these ads will provide enough income to cover their costs and even provide a profit. They will be able to charge more for these ads the better they're able to identify the viewers. Thus the tracking. Apple Insider puts it this way:



    Quote:

    A portion of the advertisements displayed on the AppleInsider are served by third-party advertisers, including TribalFusiob.com, Advertising.com, DoubleClick, and other sites. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address or telephone number) about your visits to this and other Web sites in order to provide advertisements on this site and other sites about goods and services that may be of interest to you.



    Now...if enough people start blocking tracking mechanisms on or complaining to these sites...this will force a change. Some sites may shift to paid subscription models. Some will need to find some other way to verify for their advertisers who is viewing the ads, possibly through free registration or something. In some cases ad rates will decline and those sites will either start losing money and simply go away, others will add more ads (and possibly turn away some visitors).



    BTW, there are probably many other variations on those themes. Perhaps hybrid solutions. Part free/ad-supported...part paid subscription. Etc.



    The real point is that the market will shift. People's values will be expressed in what they do. Some will pay for some things. Others will put up with more ads to view free content. Others will offer more information about themselves in some form of registration to strike a balance between these two extremes.
  • Reply 151 of 264
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    No. Geez these analogies are terrible...



    So you say exploiting a "bug" to gather whatever I want about you is fine on a computer but not on your house.



    You buy a lock, you block cookies both are actions undertaken to protect your privacy.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    Another poor analogy. Paying for water, gas, electricity is paying directly for a product...

    blah, blah blah



    Ads aren't the problem, collecting information to target those ads is the problem, especially when that information is collected on people who expressly forbid it.



    PS why don't you learn how to format replies in a better way.
  • Reply 152 of 264
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    So you say exploiting a "bug" to gather whatever I want about you is fine on a computer but not on your house.



    Actually I didn't say that. \





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    Ads aren't the problem, collecting information to target those ads is the problem, especially when that information is collected on people who expressly forbid it.



    I understand.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    PS why don't you learn how to format replies in a better way.



    Pardon? What is your specific complaint?
  • Reply 153 of 264
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    So you say exploiting a "bug" to gather whatever I want about you is fine on a computer but not on your house.



    You buy a lock, you block cookies both are actions undertaken to protect your privacy.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    Actually I didn't say that. \



    So what does this mean?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    ...This suggests a bug in Safari actually. And it wouldn't be the first time Apple has denied the existence of a bug and/or deflected blame elsewhere...



    i.e.the "blame" for Google (and others) collecting information on those who expressly forbid it lies with Apple.
  • Reply 154 of 264
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    So what does this mean?



    That it could be a bug and one that Google didn't do anything specific to exploit.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    i.e.the "blame" for Google (and others) collecting information on those who expressly forbid it lies with Apple.



    If it is what I suggest, then yes...and this is where your lock analogy breaks down.



    Where you analogy would apply is if Google found the bug and did something specific to exploit it. In which, I'd argue both parties have some responsibility here. Google for specific malicious intent, Apple for negligence.



    Everyone is assuming the second case...and maybe there's more evidence to this effect...but there seems to be indications that other sites were also not getting blocked suggesting not so much a nefarious Google exploit but a bug in Safari that sites simply benefited from, possibly unknowingly.
  • Reply 155 of 264
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    That it could be a bug and one that Google didn't do anything specific to exploit.



    I'm still waiting for you to explain how Google could have taken advantage of this loophole without doing anything.



    The facts are quite different:

    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...k_its_ads.html

    Quote:

    According to an investigation by Wall Street Journal, Google and at least three other smaller web ad networks (Vibrant Media, Media Innovation Group and Gannett PointRoll), have purposely overridden Safari's browser privacy settings using code that misrepresents its ads as being a user-initiated form submission.



    Once again, please tell us how that just happens to poor, innocent Google with no action on their part.
  • Reply 156 of 264
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    I'm still waiting for you to explain how Google could have taken advantage of this loophole without doing anything.



    Quite easily. The control of setting and sending cookies resides in the browser. If Apple's code had a defect that, for some reason ignored the setting to block cookies (maybe in all circumstances, maybe only in some)...Google (and others) could have been doing just what they were always doing but Safari didn't stop them as it should have.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    The facts are quite different:

    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...k_its_ads.html





    Once again, please tell us how that just happens to poor, innocent Google with no action on their part.



    As I said it could have happened that way. I didn't say it did.





    The WSJ article also says:



    Quote:

    Among some Web programmers, the type of maneuver used by Google appears to have been an open secret for some time. Anant Garg, a 25-year-old Web developer in Mumbai, India, blogged about the technique two years ago.



    Mr. Garg said when he developed the Safari workaround he didn't consider the privacy angle. He came up with the idea simply to "ensure a consistent experience" for a group of people accessing a chat system from different Web browsers, he said.



    Adding some grayness to the question of malicious intent.



    So there's really three possibilities:



    1. No intent

    2. Intent:

    a. Malicious intent to violate privacy

    b. Non-malicious intent to establish common behavior among browsers which unintentionally violated privacy



    It actually sounds more like 2b than anything else.
  • Reply 157 of 264
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    Quite easily. The control of setting and sending cookies resides in the browser. If Apple's code had a defect that, for some reason ignored the setting to block cookies (maybe in all circumstances, maybe only in some)...Google (and others) could have been doing just what they were always doing but Safari didn't stop them as it should have.









    As I said it could have happened that way. I didn't say it did.





    The WSJ article also says:







    Adding some grayness to the question of malicious intent.



    So there's really three possibilities:



    1. No intent

    2. Intent:

    a. Malicious intent to violate privacy

    b. Non-malicious intent to establish common behavior among browsers which unintentionally violated privacy



    It actually sounds more like 2b than anything else.



    Good lord. What part of 'purposely overridden' do you not understand?

    Quote:

    According to an investigation by Wall Street Journal, Google and at least three other smaller web ad networks (Vibrant Media, Media Innovation Group and Gannett PointRoll), have purposely overridden Safari's browser privacy settings using code that misrepresents its ads as being a user-initiated form submission.



    It is quite clear. While there may have been a bug, that does not give Google permission to install things on users' computers without permission. And the fact that other people knew about the bug also doesn't absolve Google.



    If you have a bug in your home security system that allows me to break in, does that mean that I'm allowed to do so and take all your belongings without your permission? That's exactly what you're suggesting.
  • Reply 158 of 264
    davidtdavidt Posts: 112member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    I know. I'm not ignorant of the issues, I just don't see them doing me any real harm, certainly in exchange for the value I receive at this point plus I have a variety of ways to block the stuff if I care enough.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    But it's just that most people don't really care. (...)



    Fine. Don't want to be tracked, don't use them.



    "fine, don't use them" is an argument that can be used, however you do understand that citizens may wish to fight/campaign for the right to use the internet without companies and/or the government collecting private information? You often make the point that companies are less dangerous than the government when it comes to freedom - in your estimation what happens when governments and companies combine forces? eg. "we'll let you off unpaid taxes and you give us your database"?



    I do not care if internet companies know that we play tennis or buy fishing gear, but I do care that they collect and store info about eg. our political views, sexual orientations, etc etc.



    You may say you have nothing to hide, but what happens when political system change, and suddenly you have something to hide? I am presuming most on this thread are in USA, right? That is fine for you, but what about Hungary, a nice democracy since the fall of communism, but now with a new government? People are losing their jobs (teachers) because the government knows which websites they visited. What about people in China going to jail because their internet profile is available to the regime?



    It is not so long since people in USA were being persecuted for their views - real or alleged - by Joseph McCarthy; sometimes because of a comment they may have said a party and overheard by one Hoover's employees; that is hardly 50 years ago. Careers finished, lives destroyed for having views which were collected and sorted.



    As Edwin Black writes "Mankind barely noticed when the concept of massively organized information quietly emerged to become a means of social control, a weapon of war, and a roadmap for group destruction" in his book about the Nazis' punch card database of Jewish people and other minorities. That was in the 1930s. And IBM was happy to supply the punch card system.



    Your point that we can protect ourselves by blocking trackers etc is taken, as is your point that many companies provide lots of value and wish to make a profit. Surely the aim should be that they continue providing these services and continue covering their costs and making a profit - but without analyzing private emails between me and my loved ones? Without storing data about my reading interests & habits? We have managed to evolve into societies where the vast majority do not steal each other's property, we respect each other's living spaces and privacy. Should we not aim to evolve the internet into something similarly civilized?
  • Reply 159 of 264
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    If you have a bug in your home security system that allows me to break in, does that mean that I'm allowed to do so and take all your belongings without your permission? That's exactly what you're suggesting.



    No it's not. Now can we stop with the rally shitty analogies?! \
  • Reply 160 of 264
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by davidT View Post


    "fine, don't use them" is an argument that can be used, however you do understand that citizens may wish to fight/campaign for the right to use the internet without companies and/or the government collecting private information?



    First, "the internet" isn't some vague collection of public space...it is a collection of privately built and owned resources.



    Take this site for example. It is privately owned and, so far as I know, not funded by any tax dollars. The owners of this site provide a great site, lot of free content and a forum to have these discussions. But, in a very fundamental way it is private property. If they want to ban you or me...well they can. They can make their own rules. They could require that I only post in haiku. Whatever. I agree to abide by their terms and assume they'll abide by what they say. Its a contract. Loose...informal I suppose. But it is their property. If I decide one day to block all tracking on this site...and they decide not to let anyone shoe does that to see their content...we're both within our rights. I could be really mad about it. Very frustrated and disappointed. Maybe even kick the dog over it. But, I don't have any right to their content and services.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by davidT View Post


    You often make the point that companies are less dangerous than the government when it comes to freedom - in your estimation what happens when governments and companies combine forces? eg. "we'll let you off unpaid taxes and you give us your database"?



    We call that corporatism and the chief instigating culprit is the guys with the guns.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by davidT View Post


    You may say you have nothing to hide, but what happens when political system change, and suddenly you have something to hide?



    Shit! Are you kidding me?! With my political views I'd be one the first people hauled into a concentration camp.







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by davidT View Post


    People are losing their jobs (teachers) because the government knows which websites they visited. What about people in China going to jail because their internet profile is available to the regime?



    As I said, you have more to fear from governments than private companies...and to the extent that the private companies buckle because the government has a gun to their head...the root problem there is the one with the gun.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by davidT View Post


    We have managed to evolve into societies where the vast majority do not steal each other's property, we respect each other's living spaces and privacy.



    Well, I'm not so sure about that.
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