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posted by cmn32480 on Monday October 12 2015, @08:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the leave-me-alone dept.

A universal do-not-track feature has been advocated by privacy groups after being introduced by the Federal Trade Commission in 2010. But the World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C) – composed of software companies, academics, privacy groups, and others who determine international Web-browsing standards – has long struggled to develop a unified approach for the feature.

The somewhat-arcane debate over Internet tracking has mostly simmered quietly, but now some lawmakers are arguing that a working group the consortium set up to develop the standard has become overly influenced by tech industry concerns, putting those interests ahead of protecting consumers from the possibility of privacy invasion. The group is currently chaired by representatives from Adobe and Intel.

"Unfortunately, the group's composition no longer reflects the broad range of interests and perspectives needed to develop a strong privacy standard," Sen. Edward Markey (D) of Massachusetts, Sen. Al Franken (D) of Minnesota, and Rep. Joe Barton (R) of Texas wrote in a letter on Wednesday to the consortium. "The 'Do Not Track' standard should empower consumers to stop unwanted collection and use of their personal data. At the same time, the standard should not permit certain companies to evade important consumer protections and engage in anticompetitive practices."


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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Francis on Monday October 12 2015, @10:14PM

    by Francis (5544) on Monday October 12 2015, @10:14PM (#248654)

    That's ridiculous, there is no informed consent here and few sites even bother to disclose where your information is going. These are commercial websites, not websites put up by fans for your benefit. They reserve so many rights that there might as well not be an agreement at all.

    The problem is that they've grown accustomed to all sorts of over reach that now they're going to have to be regulated. They get information from god only knows where and combine it with information from other places unknown and then package that up for sale by 3rd parties. There's no way that any sane person could understand what's being done of the data or what data is being collected.

    Now, if it were a case of a company tracking what people do on their site and using it in ways that relate to the site, people wouldn't be freaking out about it. But, the fact that they're going so invasive is the problem.

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  • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Tuesday October 13 2015, @03:44AM

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Tuesday October 13 2015, @03:44AM (#248730) Journal

    Ideally, this shouldn't even be a question. Instead, our browsers are loaded with all sorts of functionality that is all too easy to use for tracking. If our browsers didn't have such capabilities, then it wouldn't be technically possible to track users, and tracking would not be an issue.

    But I know it's not that easy. There's plenty of legit functionality that needs capabilities which can be turned against us. I don't see any way to have the functionality without tracking.

    I use adblock of course. Also use clean links. I don't use a cookie blocker, but I do periodically remove all cookies. Sometimes I wipe out the hidden directories Flash sets up. I've tried Noscript, but find it a hassle to have to allow scripts all the time. I've also tried blocking at the hosts file level. That works fairly well.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Francis on Tuesday October 13 2015, @04:06AM

      by Francis (5544) on Tuesday October 13 2015, @04:06AM (#248738)

      Which would be fine, except that they're always looking for new and innovative ways of spying. Flash cookies started being used when people started to block the other methods or clear their cache.

      We can block attacks as they are discovered, but the only real solution is to hold website operators accountable for cyber-stalking. This isn't any different than following people around without their consent and recording all their activities. There's no expectation of privacy, but we do have laws against wiretapping and stalking anyways. At this point we've reached the point where something needs to be done before we hit the point where we can't turn back at all.