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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) by Hyperturtle on Tuesday October 13 2015, @01:49PM

    by Hyperturtle (2824) on Tuesday October 13 2015, @01:49PM (#248857)

    If a taxi driver took me to all of these other destinations I didn't ask about, and then took various personally identifiable details from me and shoved ads in my face, I would probably find a way to sue for kidnapping and other complaints...

    Why it is OK on the internet to redirect me to numerous unrelated places (optimizely? ads.anything.fu?)? I never approved that.

    And the fact they can serve viruses and malware and be exploited--and that I never opted to go to these places--why is it that I cannot sue the content provider for connecting me to such places?

    The best we get is a year of free credit monitoring? No, I want you to be liable for your decisions, even if it wasn't your server that was infected. I'll go after the infected advertiser after you -- you, the company I tried to do business with in some way, violated my trust and abused the relationship in an effort to monetize me further, and you didn't even care how it happened as long as you got paid for the ad imprint.

    When I flip through a catalog, I don't expect to get infected by viewing the contents. ALthough I understand that many catalogs (like Ikea) can take you to a web site if you take a photo of certain pages in the catalog. I wonder when things like that, and/or QR codes, simply process in the background via the act of accidentally getting one in a picture you were taking of something else.

    Imagine getting infected at a tourist location because you took a picture or selfie with your family, and some disposable soda cup from a tourist shop there had a QR code or image that your phone processed as a link and visited a site and downloaded malware.

    It doesn't even have to be their cup, someone could just apply stickers or place things in the area to get picked up in photos.

    I recall that at the college near me, someone put leaflets under student's windshield wipers; an advertisement for a rave. Except the QR code was actually a link to malware, and the page itself was just a error page message that distracted from what was happening on the phone. That was years ago, but technology has progressed since then... I wonder how many automatic things happen.

    If facial recognition tech can open a bio on someone, then I imagine the phone doesnt have to display what its downloading to you when you take a picture of anything else.

    It may be that we need to resort to white lists for our phones, not that we are able to really control much of that. Google didn't give away the OS for free because of altruism. The phones we have are not much different than the rings of the Dark Lord, Sauron, but at least we can choose what ring tones we have!

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  • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday October 13 2015, @02:30PM

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Tuesday October 13 2015, @02:30PM (#248892) Journal

    If a taxi driver took me to all of these other destinations I didn't ask about

    Ah, I see you've been to China as well.

    Washington DC delenda est.