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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday October 08 2020, @09:54AM   Printer-friendly
from the good-luck-with-that dept.

'Do Not Track' Is Back, and This Time It Might Work:

What do you call a privacy law that only works if users individually opt out of every site or app they want to stop sharing their data? A piece of paper.

Or you could call it the California Consumer Privacy Act. In theory, the law gives California residents the right to opt out of any business selling their data. In practice, it hasn't seen much use. Most people don't go to the trouble of opting out of every website, one at a time. One analysis, by DataGrail, a privacy compliance company, found that there were only 82 "do not sell" requests for every million consumer records over the first six months of the year. A study published last week by Consumer Reports helps explain why: Opting out of everything is a complicated pain in the ass.

Change could be coming, however. The CCPA includes a mechanism for solving the one-by-one problem. The regulations interpreting the law specify that businesses must respect a "global privacy control" sent by a browser or device. The idea is that instead of having to change privacy settings every time you visit a new site or use a new app, you could set your preference once, on your phone or in a browser extension, and be done with it.

Announcing Global Privacy Control in Privacy Badger:

Today, we're announcing that the upcoming release of Privacy Badger will support the Global Privacy Control, or GPC, by default.

GPC is a new specification that allows users to tell companies they'd like to opt out of having their data shared or sold. By default, Privacy Badger will send the GPC signal to every company you interact with alongside the Do Not Track (DNT) signal. Like DNT, GPC is transmitted through an HTTP header and a new Javascript property, so every server your browser talks to and every script it runs will know that you intend to opt out of having your data shared or sold. Compared with ad industry-supported opt-out mechanisms, GPC is simple, easy to deploy, and works well with existing privacy tools.

[...] The CCPA and other laws are not perfect, and many of our users continue to live in places without strong legal protections. That's why Privacy Badger continues to use both approaches to privacy. It asks websites to respect your privacy, using GPC as an official request under applicable laws and DNT to express what our users actually want (to opt out of all tracking). It then blocks known trackers, who refuse to comply with DNT, from loading at all.

Starting this release, Privacy Badger will begin setting the GPC signal by default. Users can opt out of sending this signal, along with DNT, in their Privacy Badger settings. In addition, users can disable Privacy Badger on individual first-party sites in order to stop sending the GPC signal to those sites.


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  • (Score: 2) by meustrus on Friday October 09 2020, @04:28PM (2 children)

    by meustrus (4961) on Friday October 09 2020, @04:28PM (#1062566)

    If you listen, they don't say that everyone wants to be tracked. They say that tracking provides more relevant advertisements, which is technically true, and that most people don't have a problem with tracking, which is also technically true. They like to say first that tracking is good for everyone, which...well, as soon as you start saying what is "good", fact-based disagreement is impossible because "good" and "evil" is the realm of gods and demons, not logic and reason.

    So technically, they're not lying, and they're not deluded. They know exactly what they are saying. Tracking makes more people click on the ads, and most people have no idea how much of their privacy they are losing in service to getting more ad clicks. Does that mean tracking is good for everyone? If you're an ad peddler, the answer is yes, because it pleases their gods. And you know, I was going to say that most users don't worship those same gods of consumerism, but then I remembered how dominant "pop culture" is in the news.

    Those of us crazy people who like liberty and individual freedom more than getting newer and shinier consumer goods and services, we are in the minority I think. The Black Mirror episode Fifteen Million Merits [wikipedia.org] comes to mind - everyone is perfectly happy in their consumer dystopia, including the protagonist, until those pesky irrational human emotions cause him to no longer fit into the plan.

    It's the natural tendency of selfish humans to think that "Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity [sic] are." [globalnews.ca] We do not automatically believe that all humans have certain inalienable rights, because we tend to believe that we will always have the power to take those rights for ourselves if necessary. It is only the downtrodden, and those educated enough to have considered the perspective of the downtrodden, who understand the danger of it becoming common in society to give up certain liberties, in this case individual privacy, in exchange for certain benefits, in this case boosting the consumer economy.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sjames on Friday October 09 2020, @05:36PM (1 child)

    by sjames (2882) on Friday October 09 2020, @05:36PM (#1062602) Journal

    Are you in advertising? I note how you (they) re-framed "most people want to be tracked" into "most people don't have a problem with tracking". That's an important distinction. "most people don't have a problem with tracking" is like "most people don't have a problem with being shot". It's literally true. Most people never get shot so they don't have a problem with it. That should not be taken as a license to go about town shooting people. In the case of tracking, most people have no idea to what degree they are tracked or even that they are being tracked.

    The ad logic there is the same as when they hide the pre-checked box that says send me advertisements in email and feel free to share my email with others. They claim all those boxes left checked mean people want it, even while knowing they hid that needle in a haystack.

    A useful rule of thumb. When the claim is made that something is technically not a lie, it's a lie and they know it.

    • (Score: 2) by meustrus on Saturday October 10 2020, @04:06PM

      by meustrus (4961) on Saturday October 10 2020, @04:06PM (#1062981)

      No, I do not work in advertising. You get a gold star though for correctly understanding my subtext :)

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