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Comments on news posted 2008-04-07 11:36:23: A debate is raging in the UK over ISPs' use of deep packet inspection hardware to watch consumer surfing habits and sell them targeted ads. ..

page: 1 · 2 · next


MrMoody
Free range slave
Premium
join:2002-09-03
Smithfield, NC

Snooping

ALL ISPs snoop and keep logs of your activity, don't kid yourself otherwise.
--
The public is a poor business manager.



laserjobs
Premium
join:2004-05-02
Las Vegas, NV

Cox cable

I can tell you that Cox knows I use VoIP. You should see the amount of junk mail I get for their telephone service. I spoke with a tech and they noted "I see you use VoIP" when looking at my account.
--

Support a Young Author and Eat Healthy Sweets



Boogeyman
Drive it like you stole it
Premium
join:2002-12-17
Seward, AK

Hmmm...

It really stinks that ISP's are doing this and hiding it in obscure wording (in some cases) in a lengthy TOS. I bet if they just came out and told everyone, most mom and pop users probably wouldnt care, and the rest of us use adblock anyway.

I can see it causing problems for houses that only have one pc that everyone uses. Dad stays up friday night looking at porn while evryones asleep. Saturday morning junior goes to look at the Cartoon Network site and is greeted by butt plug ads. And thats one reason why this whole "targeted advertising" thing wont work as well as they think it will. Because its targetting the pc doing the web browsing, not the user in front of the pc. So unless they are using user accounts, Mom going to baking sites is getting tool ads, Dad going to sports sites is getting feminine hygene ads, Sis going to myspace is getting DragonBallZ ads and lil Brother going to Cartton Network is getting ads for Brittany's new album.

In all honesty though, I think they should figure out how much using my browsing behavior makes them a month, and then discount a percentage of that off the monthly bill for opting IN. Even if its only like $5, it seems a fair trade that way. Lose a little bit of perceived privacy for a discount on your bill.


MyDogHsFleas
Premium
join:2007-08-15
Austin, TX
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Mediacom

This is like 253rd on the list of things I'm concerned about

I mean, so I get a few targeted ads. So what? I can deal with that, I'm good at ignoring ads. And maybe they'll come up with something more relevant to me, who knows?

And it's not like they're keeping any personal information about me, just some aggregrated statistics on the kinds of sites I visit. I don't see the privacy concerns.

I really don't get why this is a front-page-news on BroadbandReports.com level issue.



justbits
More fiber than ATT can handle
Premium
join:2003-01-08
Chicago, IL
Reviews:
·Comcast Business..

This is a big privacy concern. This would be similar to someone spying on you, noticing that you visit certain stores, keeping track of the general category of things you buy and you suddenly getting junk mail and TV advertisements related to the stuff you're already buying or looking at.



Titus
Mr Gradenko

join:2004-06-26
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Embarq Now Centu..
reply to MyDogHsFleas

said by MyDogHsFleas:

I mean, so I get a few targeted ads. So what?
I really don't get why this is a front-page-news on BroadbandReports.com level issue.
Because experience teaches us that this is always how it starts. Privacy for profit first; privacy for nefarious purposes second. Think about the adage "give an inch, take a mile" for a few minutes, and then think about your government for a few minutes afterward.
--

MyDogHsFleas
Premium
join:2007-08-15
Austin, TX
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Mediacom
reply to Boogeyman

Re: Hmmm...

If you're actually doing something on your PC you don't want your kids to see, get your own PC and put a password lock on it, or if you must share a PC, at least set up separate accounts for family members. That way each user will have their own sets of cookies. You should do these things regardless of what your ISP is doing about tracking, it's just good practice.

There will never be a "ad revenue" discount on your bill. Does your cable TV service give you a discount for the ads they sell on your channels? Do magazines give you a discount on subscriptions for the ads they run? No.

It would just confuse subscribers and be another thing for customer service to deal with. The ad revenue just gets flowed back into the company as another source of income besides subscriber fees.



GlenQuagmire
Giggidy Giggidy Giggidy Goo
Premium
join:2004-02-16
Grand Rapids, MI
reply to justbits

Re: This is like 253rd on the list of things I'm concerned about

said by justbits:

This is a big privacy concern. This would be similar to someone spying on you, noticing that you visit certain stores, keeping track of the general category of things you buy and you suddenly getting junk mail and TV advertisements related to the stuff you're already buying or looking at.
Stores and Credit car companies already do that. Once you swipe your credit card stores keep that info on file. Then when they can track all of your purchases no matter where in the country you shop.
--
Yes, its stuck in a windows this time.


sbrook
Premium,Mod
join:2001-12-14
Ottawa
kudos:13
Reviews:
·WIND Mobile
·TekSavvy Cable

Rogers

Canadian Cable ISP Rogers has started injecting its own messages into HTTP data packets to bring up windows showing usage information. Just like the picture shown on this site a few months agow with an injected item onto a Google page.

While it's harmless enough for now, but what if Rogers decides it wants to inject its own advertising next, or inject other companies advertising to make more lucrative money.

The portal service is proving to be not very money making (after all @home tried with Excite and overspent itself into the explosion!) but this is better than portals, since you can inject this into ANY page!


MyDogHsFleas
Premium
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Austin, TX
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Mediacom

1 edit
reply to justbits

Re: This is like 253rd on the list of things I'm concerned about

said by justbits:

This is a big privacy concern. This would be similar to someone spying on you, noticing that you visit certain stores, keeping track of the general category of things you buy and you suddenly getting junk mail and TV advertisements related to the stuff you're already buying or looking at.
Ummm.. that happens now. And it's not "spying", that would be illegal. Credit card companies sell this information. If you have a supermarket discount card, they sell that information. Marketing companies take all kinds of demographic and public-record information and sell it. You get targeted ads all the time unless you're paranoid about it and put yourself off the grid on purpose.

This is another example of the delusion people here seem to have. I call it "Web sites are special, magic places." People here seem to think that because something is happening on the Web, normal rules and considerations don't apply. Well, they do. If people are doing business on the Web, it'll be like business outside the Web. They'll look to gather consumer information to do targeted advertising. This has been going on ever since direct mail advertising, long, long before the Web or TV or even radio existed.

Maybe I'm just not of the mindset of people here. I really don't have a problem with my generic product and market preference information being out there, in trade for me getting lower-cost access to many things I want to participate in. Advertising revenue is what makes a whole lot of content businesses fly. And that revenue increases the better targeted the advertising market is.

These people really don't care about your personally identifiable information (PII). They care about your demographic, your buying tendencies, your response to different kinds of advertising. So there really is little cause for privacy concerns, unless you think "privacy" includes "the ability to observe behavior of consumers in a market".

And what is the big deal about ads? Why are ads such an affont to people? You pay attention to them or you don't. Big freaking deal. I have no problem clicking close on a window, or hanging up the phone, or recycling junk mail, or deleting spam e-mail. All those things take up maybe 10 minutes a day, total. I spend more time shaving and brushing my teeth.

MyDogHsFleas
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Austin, TX
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·Mediacom
reply to Titus

said by Titus:

said by MyDogHsFleas:

I mean, so I get a few targeted ads. So what?
I really don't get why this is a front-page-news on BroadbandReports.com level issue.
Because experience teaches us that this is always how it starts. Privacy for profit first; privacy for nefarious purposes second. Think about the adage "give an inch, take a mile" for a few minutes, and then think about your government for a few minutes afterward.
These are two completely different things that you have related together because of conspiracy fever.

Businesses want buying and ad-response information about people, so they can be more effective with their advertising spend. That has nothing to do with what the government may or may not want. The government could care less about your market behavior.


Titus
Mr Gradenko

join:2004-06-26
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Embarq Now Centu..

said by MyDogHsFleas:

said by Titus:

said by MyDogHsFleas:

I mean, so I get a few targeted ads. So what?
I really don't get why this is a front-page-news on BroadbandReports.com level issue.
Because experience teaches us that this is always how it starts. Privacy for profit first; privacy for nefarious purposes second. Think about the adage "give an inch, take a mile" for a few minutes, and then think about your government for a few minutes afterward.
These are two completely different things that you have related together because of conspiracy fever.

Businesses want buying and ad-response information about people, so they can be more effective with their advertising spend. That has nothing to do with what the government may or may not want. The government could care less about your market behavior.
Well, unless you're suddenly ordering guns online ...

And you know, turning anything resembling mistrust or being wary into "conspiracy fever" won't fly because enough people have learned how hard others work to turn words that convey simple concepts into a pejorative -- like the word "liberal" for example.

No one is claiming - at least I hope not - that these ISPs are in cahoots w/the Illuminati, only that it's another avenue of ingress for *possible* abuses of privacy, if you're so inclined to believe such abuses exist. I do.
--

What cookie from where ?

I'm curious to know how they can get their cookie into your computer. Cookies are put on your computer by the web pages you open in your browser. If they are forging cookies and injecting them into into the traffic stream from the pages you visit, I can see where there are real problems. If not, then what is the big stink about ? If the web pages that you visit are co-operating with these advertisers, then guess what, you are already being tracked anyway. Nothing new going on here.



Boogeyman
Drive it like you stole it
Premium
join:2002-12-17
Seward, AK
reply to MyDogHsFleas

Re: Hmmm...

Its well established that most BBR users know that user accounts and passwords are good ideas. But I'm talking about Joe Average. Its been my experience that even when average users set up user accounts, they are rarely used correctly. While visiting family a while back, I went to use my grandfathers pc and he just old me his account password. My aunt and 2 cousins also had thier own accounts, but everyone knew my grandfathers (admin) password and whenever thier account wouldnt let them do something, they logged into his and did it. The same situation goes on at my brothers house (who isnt related to the other family). I know its not everyone, but its been more common in my experience than the people who use them correctly.

I know they probably wont ever give an ad revenue discount, but my point was that if they did, it would give them a huge PR boost and make many people WANT to opt in to the service. It wouldnt even need to be monetary discount. For the people who actually use thier ISP email/webspace, a bump in storage would be enough for a lot of people to want to opt in. See, if they bundled it with something users wanted, most everyday users would opt in if they judged the pro to be better than the con.



Boogeyman
Drive it like you stole it
Premium
join:2002-12-17
Seward, AK
reply to MyDogHsFleas

Re: This is like 253rd on the list of things I'm concerned about

I agree with you for the most part. I do feel uneasy having targeted ads, but it wouldnt bother me if in exchange for that, I get added features/reduced cost for my service.

On the other hand, ads DO bother me. For example: Theres one on NHL.com that fills the screen with a huge noisy flash overlay if you mouse over the banner (which is located at the top of the page between the articles and the links to get to other pages on the site).

Yes, it is rather trivial to just close it, ignore the ad, delete the spam, etc. But its still annoying and consumes time.


MyDogHsFleas
Premium
join:2007-08-15
Austin, TX
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Mediacom

1 edit
reply to Boogeyman

Re: Hmmm...

said by Boogeyman:

Its well established that most BBR users know that user accounts and passwords are good ideas. But I'm talking about Joe Average. Its been my experience that even when average users set up user accounts, they are rarely used correctly. While visiting family a while back, I went to use my grandfathers pc and he just old me his account password. My aunt and 2 cousins also had thier own accounts, but everyone knew my grandfathers (admin) password and whenever thier account wouldnt let them do something, they logged into his and did it. The same situation goes on at my brothers house (who isnt related to the other family). I know its not everyone, but its been more common in my experience than the people who use them correctly.
Yep, I've seen exactly the same thing. IMHO personal computers were a huge mistake. Making consumers the bit-level sysadmins of the most complex piece of gear in their house is really a terrible idea. See what we ended up with? Piracy, spam, phishing, botnets, DOS attacks, identity theft, fraud, exposing kids to porn, and the ability to abuse people anonymously. Great stuff, there.

We seem to be moving back towards a much more reasonable "cloud computing" architecture, where the PCs are really just nice powerful user interface boxes, and all the logic and data is outside of the PC, in "the cloud". See Google Apps for example. Now if they could just get away from the idea that users manage their own PCs, and start selling "cloud appliance" computers that are non-configurable by the consumer, maybe we'll see less of this.

I know they probably wont ever give an ad revenue discount, but my point was that if they did, it would give them a huge PR boost and make many people WANT to opt in to the service. It wouldnt even need to be monetary discount. For the people who actually use thier ISP email/webspace, a bump in storage would be enough for a lot of people to want to opt in. See, if they bundled it with something users wanted, most everyday users would opt in if they judged the pro to be better than the con.
Well, I suppose this might be attractive to you, and maybe a small circle of people. But I think the average person would say "huh? you want me to do what for what?" The customer service calls cost alone would probably piss away any revenue or good will this might create.

People are used to the reduced-cost-stuff-for-advertising business model. See radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, and even Google. A new business model that says "we'll give you XYZ for accepting advertising" I just can't see taking hold.

hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH

Op-in could be a good thing

This program could be a good thing if they allowed opt-in or a service plan of slower speeds maybe their "lite" packages. Allow this on those plans and get the service at that price. or a faster speed with these ads. It could be a good thing to gain more market share.



Boogeyman
Drive it like you stole it
Premium
join:2002-12-17
Seward, AK
reply to Killler Maxxx

Re: What cookie from where ?

The issue is that the sites are NOT in collusion with the ISP, the ISP is looking at your data before it gets to its destination, and then looking at it again before it comes back to you.

And you get the opt out cookie by visiting the opt out site from the ISP (as far as I understand).


MyDogHsFleas
Premium
join:2007-08-15
Austin, TX
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Mediacom
reply to Titus

Re: This is like 253rd on the list of things I'm concerned about

said by Titus:

Well, unless you're suddenly ordering guns online ...
You raise an excellent point. The Government IS interested in illegal buying activity over the Internet. Illegal weapons, child porn, mail fraud, etc. So I should have said "the government could care less about your LEGAL market behavior".

And sorry if I hit a sore spot with the "conspiracy fever" comment. I'm all about mistrust and being wary. My point is, I just don't think tracking consumer behavior for ad targeting is something that deserves much wariness.


KoolMoe
Aw Man
Premium
join:2001-02-14
Annapolis, MD

I think it does need some wariness. The definition of what's legal can change in a heartbeat. It may not be illegal to search for Vegetarian Aliens now, but do you want the gov't to know you used to search for them before it was made illegal?
KM


MyDogHsFleas
Premium
join:2007-08-15
Austin, TX
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Mediacom
reply to Killler Maxxx

Re: What cookie from where ?

I'm going out on a limb here because I don't really know 100%, so if anyone actually knows how this works, please chime in.

That given, I think that how it works is not with cookies at all. It looks at your traffic and deduces in some way what kinds of things you are interested in buying, what web sites you frequent, and what your demographic is. This information (stripped of anything that could identify you personally) is then sold to advertisers, who use it to target you with advertising that you will (presumably) respond to more often than if they picked you randomly.

The cookies only come in if you opt out. The opt-out decision is captured in a cookie, so the system can remove you from tracking (or at least from reporting information).



DR333

@r.fastwebserver.de

There is no Opt-Out.

There is no way to opt-out period. The Opt-Out procedure just sets a cookie. Your traffic still passes through the spy-box, and code is still injected. The only way to opt out if all of your traffic completely bypasses the 'box' that is doing the snooping. That could only be done by the ISP you use. Don't be fooled by the 'opt-out' lies.



MrMoody
Free range slave
Premium
join:2002-09-03
Smithfield, NC
reply to MyDogHsFleas

Re: This is like 253rd on the list of things I'm concerned about

said by MyDogHsFleas:

The government could care less about your market behavior.
Well, except in a concerted mass economics way, which is why they are in denial about the current inflation, recession and un/underemployment. Mortgage failures and real estate slippage are just symptoms that make a convenient scapegoat to help avert a general panic. Welcome to the 70s again, folks, and the cause is the same this time as it was then.

Personal predictions, you saw 'em here first:
Obama will be nominated and win the election by a landslide and the biggest Democratic victory since LBJ in 1964 if not bigger.
2009 will see the beginning of double-digit inflation and unemployment. Only heroic efforts will avert a depression.
Gasoline will be $4 a gallon even in low-priced areas by next March and $6 a gallon within 3 years.
Obama will not win a second term.

I sure hope I'm wrong.
--
The public is a poor business manager.

CableDaddy3

join:2005-03-23
Grayling, MI

It isn't gonna change so do something about it

If it's a big deal change DNS servers. Or use software like Tor to hide your location and browsing habits. The information they get from you would be useless and couldn't be targeted back to you because they couldn't trace you.


MyDogHsFleas
Premium
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Austin, TX
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Mediacom
reply to MrMoody

Re: This is like 253rd on the list of things I'm concerned about

said by MrMoody:

Personal predictions, you saw 'em here first:
Obama will be nominated and win the election by a landslide and the biggest Democratic victory since LBJ in 1964 if not bigger.
2009 will see the beginning of double-digit inflation and unemployment. Only heroic efforts will avert a depression.
Gasoline will be $4 a gallon even in low-priced areas by next March and $6 a gallon within 3 years.
Obama will not win a second term.
I've been telling people for a while that he completely reminds me of Jimmy Carter. He speaks in nice-sounding platitudes of "solutions" to "problems". The solutions are all simplistic, even arrogant in their assumption that the previous administration were stupid concrete-heads not to understand the brilliance of the "solution". He also acts like he's better, more moral, more pure than everyone else -- not a politician but a spiritual leader, almost. And, his policies are all about having government intervene for the people.

I was in my 20s in the 70s. It really, really stunk. You couldn't buy a house or a car because interest rates were almost 20%. Taxes were sky-high. Our enemies were laughing at us, taking hostages, pushing us around. The Soviets decided it was OK to invade Afghanistan, knowing we wouldn't do anything (therefore laying the seeds, ironically, for 9/11). He screwed up the military so bad that they couldn't even fly helicopters through the desert to rescue POWs. Then the stupid attacks on oil companies and the ham-handed attempts to fix gas prices caused incredible shortages -- it was a lot of work and time just to get enough gas to go to work. Jimmy's response was to put on a sweater (to show how we should bundle up to save on heating costs), go on national TV, and tell us the only thing wrong was that we had a "crisis of confidence" and if we would just pick up our chins and smile confidently everything would be OK.

Out goes Jimmy, in comes Ronnie, kicks the Arabs around, sets the oil free, lowers taxes, frees the hostages, fixes the interest rates, and kicks off one of the greates booms in history. Not to mention ends the Cold War and crushes the Soviet Union, after helping the Afghani kick them out of their country (which, also ironically, also led to 9/11). Ahhhhhhhh... sweet relief.

MyDogHsFleas
Premium
join:2007-08-15
Austin, TX
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Mediacom
reply to DR333

Re: There is no Opt-Out.

said by DR333 :

There is no way to opt-out period. The Opt-Out procedure just sets a cookie. Your traffic still passes through the spy-box, and code is still injected. The only way to opt out if all of your traffic completely bypasses the 'box' that is doing the snooping. That could only be done by the ISP you use. Don't be fooled by the 'opt-out' lies.
So what does the cookie do, then?


en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA
reply to GlenQuagmire

Re: This is like 253rd on the list of things I'm concerned about

If you ever purchased a home... take a guess at how many companies know about it.
- Mortgage companies
- House hold interior (carpet, paint, plumbing, electrical)
- Insurance

They all send you more cr@p ads (mortgage companies are bold enough to add in how much you have left on your mortgage!).
--
Canada = Hollywood North



Maxo
Your tax dollars at work.
Premium,VIP
join:2002-11-04
Tallahassee, FL
reply to MrMoody

Re: Snooping

said by MrMoody:

ALL ISPs snoop and keep logs of your activity, don't kid yourself otherwise.
Not all ISPs use this data to inject ads in to your web browsing. There's a big difference.

kiamsiamdala

join:2001-11-05
Utica, MI
reply to MyDogHsFleas

Re: Hmmm...

You can keep your cloud appliance, thank you very much. I like the complexity of my machines.
--
'void planets roll regardless of desolation'


kiamsiamdala

join:2001-11-05
Utica, MI
reply to MyDogHsFleas

Re: This is like 253rd on the list of things I'm concerned about

Well you seem pretty accepting of the ads/tracking, which is fine. To assume that others should be ok with it is a little off, methinks. If it weren't so damn inconvenient, I'd live off the grid.
--
'void planets roll regardless of desolation'