dslreports logo
site
spacer

spacer
 
   
spc
story category
Google, Mozilla Offer Snoopvertising Opt Out
As they try to head regulators off at the pass...
by Karl Bode 04:21PM Monday Jan 24 2011 Tipped by FFH See Profile
With Congress and the FCC glacially moving toward privacy rules that may underwhelm (Can Spam Act anyone?), content, marketing companies and ISPs are arguing that they can self-regulate when it comes to consumer privacy. Verizon for example has long insisted that consumer shame alone will keep them honest about how they collect, share and sell your personal information. Both Google and Mozilla today joined these pre-emptive efforts by unveiling plans to allow users to opt-out of some forms of snoopvertising -- through enabling a do-not-track setting in the HTTP header. Says Google:
quote:
Today we are building on this work, and that of others, by allowing you to permanently opt out of ad tracking from all companies that offer opt-outs through the industry self-regulation programs. Keep in mind that once you install the Keep My Opt-Outs extension, your experience of online ads may change: You may see the same ads repeatedly on particular websites, or see ads that are less relevant to you. Importantly, we’ve designed the extension so that it should not otherwise interfere with your web browsing experience or website functionality.
Mozilla has also unveiled that upcoming versions of Firefox will also allow users to opt-out of certain behavioral ads:
quote:
...we are proposing a feature that allows users to set a browser preference that will broadcast their desire to opt-out of third party, advertising-based tracking by transmitting a Do Not Track HTTP header with every click or page view in Firefox. When the feature is enabled and users turn it on, web sites will be told by Firefox that a user would like to opt-out of OBA. We believe the header-based approach has the potential to be better for the web in the long run because it is a clearer and more universal opt-out mechanism than cookies or blacklists.
As PC World notes however, these systems only work if advertisers, websites and browser makers all agree to implement the services. There's also really nothing to stop anyone who wants to from ignoring the entire idea:
quote:
The problem with expecting cooperation from Web sites that are tracking Internet usage and gathering information on users' Web habits is that most of those organizations are already aware that it is ethically questionable, and that the FTC is working to combat the practice, yet they choose to continue collecting the data anyway.
Having for years watched ISPs sell your clickstream data without telling anyone (and deny it), or install DPI hardware that tracks your online activity without telling anyone (then deny it), it remains clear that companies will get away with whatever government lets them get away with, and so far that's pretty much anything. Expecting a well-lobbied Congress to pass useful privacy laws in the face of pressure of dozens of massive companies in multiple sectors seems like wishful thinking (look what happened to an opt in option), though fortunately smart consumers concerned with snoopertising still have the option of taking privacy protection into their own hands with a wide variety of tools and ad blockers.

view:
topics flat nest 
Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink

Tired of Comcast Snooping on my internet usage!

I have Comcast Broadband and every time I access the CenturyLink website, for information about my local telephone service, I get a call from Comcast telemarketing, offering Comcast Digital Voice Service the next day. This has happened so many times that I cannot believe that it is just a coincidence.
hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH

Re: Tired of Comcast Snooping on my internet usage!

they don't have to snoop. It's called telemarketing their customers.

But don't count on the FCC to do anything to help you. No Internet power unless Congress gives it to them.

This would be an FTC issue.

rit56

join:2000-12-01
New York, NY
Same thing happens every time I go online to check my Verizon cell account. The next day someone calls me without fail.

CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County

Re: Tired of Comcast Snooping on my internet usage!

Wow - 5 or 6 years with Verizon and have only gotten one cold call from them and that is the only call i have ever had from Verizon. I have had web access to my account for about the last 3 years as well.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain

Matt3
All noise, no signal.
Premium
join:2003-07-20
Jamestown, NC
kudos:12

Internet Explorer 9

IE9 offers this as well ... even after Mozilla pulled it and then decided to re-enable it because of pressure.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Internet Explorer 9

said by Matt3:

IE9 offers this as well ... even after Mozilla pulled it and then decided to re-enable it because of pressure.

I think the next regular release version of Firefox may implement something.

DavePR

join:2008-06-04
Canyon Country, CA

The License Agreement

There's probably a notice that they do this sort of thing. Who reads those?

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Firefox method with opt-out HTTP header best, but ....

The Firefox method would be the cleanest best way to implement a "do not track" capability because it isn't based on inclusion or exclusion lists of domains.

But the problem is that web sites will actually have to honor the "do not track" request in the HTTP header. And high profile national companies, where not honoring it would be very embarrassing, will most likely comply. But all the millions of web sites and ad tracking companies that are barely legit and exist solely to spam you will, of course, ignore your "do not track" request.

Only the FTC could actually mandate compliance. And even then most of these fly by night web sites would ignore it anyway and dare the FTC to do anything about it.

TamaraB
Question The Current Paradigm
Premium
join:2000-11-08
Da Bronx
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·Clearwire Wireless

Re: Firefox method with opt-out HTTP header best, but ....

said by FFH:

The Firefox method would be the cleanest best way to implement a "do not track" capability because it isn't based on inclusion or exclusion lists of domains.

Hmmmm..... that should work about as well as the do not call list doesn't work. I have been on the do-not-call list for years, and still get telemarketer calls. The only way I have found to mitigate that crap is to do it myself. On my phone, I have a spam list, with ringtone=silence. I report all those calls to donotcall.gov as well, but that never seems to stop them; it's another federal joke!

I don't understand why Mozilla has a dog in this race, as there already are many Mozilla addons to block this shit. another useless http-header will only add more bytes to your ever-diminishing bandwidth cap!

Google on the other hand, has a lot to lose if tracking is legislated against, as that is a big part of their business model. Mozilla and Google are at opposite ends of this however.

There is no way any legislation can have an effect on tracking, as the Internet is International, and any US laws are irrelevant outside our borders.

If you don't want to be tracked, you have to take personal responsibility, and stop it yourself! All this talk and planning to do it centrally or legislatively is nothing more than a placebo attempt to make people feel they don't have to do anything themselves, so business can proceed as normal.

I can see it now; the tracking of those users who transmit a do-not-track header will become another revenue stream!! Someone will want to buy that information as well. What bullshit!

--
"Remember, remember the fifth of November.
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot."

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people"


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County

1 recommendation

Re: Firefox method with opt-out HTTP header best, but ....

Well - there are loopholes for telemarketers - if you already have working relationship with them. For me the do Not Call Works VERY well. We never got a ton but I can't remember the last cold call telemarketing call I got that would be breaking the law.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain

TamaraB
Question The Current Paradigm
Premium
join:2000-11-08
Da Bronx
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·Clearwire Wireless

Re: Firefox method with opt-out HTTP header best, but ....

Well, I get lots! The latest crap is a recording peddling free federal grant money. Not even a human to scream at. It comes in from different numbers the latest is from (406) 942-5934. So I block it. Next day the same recording comes in from another number. See: »whocalled.us/lookup/4069425934 I can't stop them!

CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County

Re: Firefox method with opt-out HTTP header best, but ....

Hard to stop them when they are scams - they just circulate arounfd the country and take off before they can be found. I was thinking the calls were legit businesses but they are clearly scams and already illegal. They don't care about the Do Not Call list...
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain
patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1

wasn't this tried 10 years ago?

Ummmm, wasn't this tried 10 years ago and was a miserable failure? »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P3P

Scree
In the pipe 5 by 5

join:2001-04-24
Mount Laurel, NJ

funny stuff

lol Well with the proper extension(s) in a 'real' browser, this is just a space wasting discussion. hehe

Doctor Four
My other vehicle is a TARDIS
Premium
join:2000-09-05
Dallas, TX

There's already a solution for this - it's called TrackMeNot

There's an extension for Firefox called TrackMeNot. It does not defeat tracking and data mining by concealment or encryption, but rather by noise and obfuscation. No opting out of snoopvertising is necessary.

»cs.nyu.edu/trackmenot/

There's also a version for Chrome.
--
"The trouble with computers, of course, is that they are very sophisticated idiots." - Doctor Who (from Robot)

TamaraB
Question The Current Paradigm
Premium
join:2000-11-08
Da Bronx
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·Clearwire Wireless

Re: There's already a solution for this - it's called TrackMeNot

said by Doctor Four:

There's an extension for Firefox called TrackMeNot.

Yes, I also use No Referer, Adblock Plus, BetterPrivacy (Blocks/Kills LSO cookies), OptimizeGoogle (to block google ads and click-tracking), https-everywhere, and NoScript.

In addition, I do not accept cookies (Except for the few sites I have to log into frequently), never accept third-party cookies, and always run through an off-shore Canadian VPN to thwart ISP DPI, and P2P tracking. I run my own bind so I never query my ISP's DNS servers. When I want to go "stealth", I turn on TOR. That's about as private and net-neutral as one can get these days.

Tunneling through the VPN, also opens up all ISP-blocked ports, allowing me to run postfix for my email. Inbound mail is routed thanks to dyn-dns. By-by SPAM!

One can actually regain a fair amount of privacy, net-neutrality, and an ad-free, and spam-free Internet by taking control of it yourself. Privacy legislation is bullshit! It will always be done in such a way as to allow snooping, tracking, and advertising, because that's where the MONEY is.

--
"Remember, remember the fifth of November.
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot."

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people"


dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4

Re: There's already a solution for this - it's called TrackMeNot

said by TamaraB:

said by Doctor Four:

There's an extension for Firefox called TrackMeNot.

Yes, I also use No Referer, Adblock Plus, BetterPrivacy (Blocks/Kills LSO cookies), OptimizeGoogle (to block google ads and click-tracking), https-everywhere, and NoScript.

In addition, I do not accept cookies (Except for the few sites I have to log into frequently), never accept third-party cookies, and always run through an off-shore Canadian VPN to thwart ISP DPI, and P2P tracking. I run my own bind so I never query my ISP's DNS servers. When I want to go "stealth", I turn on TOR. That's about as private and net-neutral as one can get these days.

Tunneling through the VPN, also opens up all ISP-blocked ports, allowing me to run postfix for my email. Inbound mail is routed thanks to dyn-dns. By-by SPAM!

One can actually regain a fair amount of privacy, net-neutrality, and an ad-free, and spam-free Internet by taking control of it yourself. Privacy legislation is bullshit! It will always be done in such a way as to allow snooping, tracking, and advertising, because that's where the MONEY is.

With UBB coming, people will start using blockers more.
--
The shortest distance between 2 points adds 1.5 stars to T. want $25? solve »coord.info/GC20A37 for me

TamaraB
Question The Current Paradigm
Premium
join:2000-11-08
Da Bronx
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·Clearwire Wireless

2 edits

Re: There's already a solution for this - it's called TrackMeNot

said by dvd536:

With UBB coming, people will start using blockers more.

UBB? What's that?

Edit: If you mean Usage Based Billing, then I have problem! It would seem illegal to force me to see ads which I don't want to see, but have to pay for as well. Slavery has been abolished as far as I know! UBB? Fine! All advertisements must be blocked, or the consumer must be reimbursed for the bytes used by the advertiser. Advertising and UBB don't mix!


cork1958
Cork
Premium
join:2000-02-26

The day Google quits

The day Google quits tracking your everything is the day the internet quits working!!
--
The Firefox alternative.
»www.mozilla.org/projects/seamonkey/
brianiscool

join:2000-08-16
Tampa, FL
kudos:1

Firefox

Without Google Mozilla would have no money.

brianstwin

@rr.com

Re: Firefox

quote:
Without Google Mozilla would have no money.
Sorry but your point is what exactly?
Every company gets money from someplace.