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NebuAD, Several ISPs Sued Over Behavioral Ads
Well, that didn't go so well...
by Karl Bode 09:03AM Friday Nov 14 2008
Back in February of this year we interviewed the CEO of NebuAD, who hoped to buy your browsing history from ISPs, then deliver ads based on your browsing choices. Unfortunately for NebuAD, Congressional questions arose over whether NebuAD's deep packet inspection system violated privacy and wiretap laws, which resulted in ISPs running to the hills to protect their legal posteriors. That led to the departure of NebuAD's CEO, and left the company on life support. All in all that's a pretty crappy year for one company, but unfortunately for them things just got worse with the birth of a class action lawsuit:
quote:
The suit names several Internet Service Providers, including Washington Post-owned Cable One, which used Nebuad on a trial basis but ultimately did not deploy the technology throughout its network. . . The suit alleges violations of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, California's Invasion of Privacy Act and California's Computer Crime Law, as well as aiding and abetting, civil conspiracy and unjust enrichment.
NebuAD was always in a tough spot, given how their opt-out system let consumers opt-out of targeted ads, but not browsing data collection. If you're a huge fan of advertising and having your every click monetized don't worry. There's a multitude of other operators planning on copying NebuAD's business model, just as soon as the appropriate politicians are lobbied and privacy laws are weakened or changed. Sometimes it just doesn't pay to be a technology pioneer.

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Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
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1 edit

We have to protect the children.

Since NebuAD cannot tell the age of the person that they are monitoring, they may be violating the law regarding gathering information from children under 13 years of age. In many homes the computer is shared. If one of the users are visiting sexually explicit websites how can NebuAD determine who sexually explicit advertising will be delivered to? Let the New York AG deal with that one.

Edit: I meant that satirically not seriously. Although protecting the children is another excuse to sitck it to NebuAD! I do not view snooping on my browsing habits as a reasonible business practice.

Glaice
Brutal Video Vault
Premium
join:2002-10-01
North Babylon, NY

2 recommendations

Re: We have to protect the children.

Fuck the children, they entirely get too much attention as if they are some sort of cult objects to the US government.
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knightmb
Everybody Lies

join:2003-12-01
Franklin, TN

Re: We have to protect the children.

I'm glad to see them go down in flames, it was nothing but another example of greed by big ISP carriers. How much triple and quad dipping into their customers did they think they could get away with?
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satellite68

join:2007-04-11
Louisville, KY
said by Glaice:

Fuck the children, they entirely get too much attention as if they are some sort of cult objects to the US government.
And you sir hatched from your egg as a full grown adult?
centc408

join:2008-11-08
Fort Wayne, IN

NO WAY!!

Such a program is a travesty. If there's something I want to buy I'll buy it. I don't need some technology giving me ads. By the way I don't click on ads in the first place there an annoyance.

swhitney2003
Premium
join:2003-06-13
NH

.

I thought NebuAD disappeared. They were put in a shit hole when all the ISPs started pulling out when the huge controversy started.

adblock plus. works wonders.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: .

Their CEO jumped ship, and they bailed out of the spying-on-users venture, but I think the company itself hasn't disappeared yet.

And I concur on Adblock Plus. It wouldn't have stopped the NebuAD nonsense, but it's a great tool for blocking ads. And its greatest benefit is that it speeds up page load times, since the browser doesn't have to wait for the ad to be served up.

funchords
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said by swhitney2003:

I thought NebuAD disappeared. They were put in a shit hole when all the ISPs started pulling out when the huge controversy started.
They said they were stopping -- but should you believe them?

NebuAd said that it was pulling back to a more traditional ad model, but it also earlier said that it required its ISP partners to provide "robust" notification to users prior to installing its hardware. (Out of about 20 ISPs that I know actually used NebuAd, I can't find any evidence that one did anything that would reasonably inform users -- most buried the facts into FAQs and policies that are -- if ever -- only read rarely after sign-up.)
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FFH5
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Not a class action yet

The plaintiffs asked the court to declare the lawsuit a class action lawsuit. But the judge hasn't ruled on that yet.
LostInWoods

join:2004-04-14
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Class Action. Ugh...

IMO, class action lawsuits are almost always about enriching the attorneys. How has the "class" been injured, and how will they be compensated?

Answer: they haven't, and they won't, but the lawyers will be paid handsomely to go away. Sickening...

fireflier
Coffee. . .Need Coffee
Premium
join:2001-05-25
Limbo

Re: Class Action. Ugh...

Class action suits can also be used as a means of financially punishing the company being sued. The reason for suits are typically twofold:

1) To reward someone who was wronged.
2) To punish someone who engaged in wrongoing.

In many cases, the two are mutually exclusive. In the case of class actions, while the attorneys are typically the most rewarded, the compensation for such suits is often much larger for class action suits which is also a larger "punishment" for the company being punished and thus a greater disincentive than a win by a single individual might be if the offense is relatively minor.

Not saying it's right that attorneys walk away with huge sums while the complaintants in the class get small rewards, but in such cases, many times the complaintants would rather see the offender financially spanked than to reap massive personal rewards for relatively small but widespread infractions.
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baj475

join:2004-11-02
Chico, CA

1 edit
“ ... class action lawsuits are almost always about enriching the attorneys.” Yes, but do not ignore the saying that the enemies of my enemies are my friends. If the attorneys succeed, they will deserve our thanks for all the punishment they can inflict on NebuAD and those who conspired with them. Their actions may also help detour those who may be planning on copying NebuAD's business model.

Transmaster
Don't Blame Me I Voted For Bill and Opus

join:2001-06-20
Cheyenne, WY

More Moola Mining by Class Action Bandits

I see something else here this looks to me like a trial balloon (sorry ). If Himmelfard, and Malley succeed in stripping cash out of the offending parties in this action I look for them to go after the big prize in internet data mining, Google. Then they can get a new Yachts, a new business jet, etc. While the plaintiffs will get a coupon for a free spindle of DVD-R's

Here is the Law Firm which has filed this action.
»www.kamberedelson.com/The_Firm.html

Here is a copy of the papers filed in this case.
»www.docstoc.com/docs/document-pr···=2497992
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funchords
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Re: More Moola Mining by Class Action Bandits

said by Transmaster:

I see something else here this looks to me like a trial balloon (sorry ). If Himmelfard, and Malley succeed in stripping cash out of the offending parties in this action I look for them to go after the big prize in internet data mining, Google.
I don't see that. Google didn't wiretap or browser hijack, and Google doesn't see anything that your browser doesn't volunteer to Google based on your application privacy and scripting settings. With that in mind, read the lawsuit and tell me if you still maintain your position.
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TwoCpus4me

join:2003-10-16

Technology Pioneer? Hardly

Every version of Microsoft Windows after 3.1 has been built with tracking facilities integrated into the operating system, and the concept of browser cookies was always intended to be used to gather information about what is on the other side of the keyboard.

Microsoft admits that even those that don't register their operating systems get their data vacuumed (unknowingly) into the borg, simply by having gone and looked at the registration sites or attempting to download updates.

Its the same reason cable operators don't want you to have a private DVR device. Aside from the fact they can't price-rape you monthly, they also can't track every move you make and turn that into focused advertising.

cpsycho

join:2008-06-03
HarperLand

Re: Technology Pioneer? Hardly

I just get around the microsoft thing by setting up a hosts file. I do this for my customers for free too. Nothing like sticking it to microsoft
bjbrock9

join:2002-10-28
Mcalester, OK

Re: Technology Pioneer? Hardly

Hosts files don't stop the data mining. MS' IP's are hardwired into the system of their data mining software so name resolution isn't needed. You didn't think MS had already thought of that? Using a third party firewall to block outgoing traffic is the only way to stop their data mining.

cpsycho

join:2008-06-03
HarperLand
Reviews:
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Re: Technology Pioneer? Hardly

I dont know about that right now I cant access any microsoft sites. I update to the max and block all MS IP's from the host file. The only thing thats annouying about it is windows defender keeps poping up saying you host file has been hijacked.

I could be wrong. I will keep a closer eye on it since you mentioned it. I might block it from the router if thats the case. Then just block it on my customers routers as well. Thanks for letting me know.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

1 edit

Re: Technology Pioneer? Hardly

You can't access any MS sites because you've hardwired your system to resolve those domains into bad IP addresses. That's fine if the software is trying to access a server by way of its domain name. However, if the software makes a connection directly to an IP address, it doesn't need to do a DNS lookup on a domain, which gets around your hosts file. Having the hosts file there doesn't block anything. All it does is break DNS, since a DNS request will always be run against that file before a DNS server is queried.

Now, if you have a decent router, or, better yet, a Linux box configured to act as a router, you can easily stop all this nonsense. The router can block access to the IP addresses, and the Linux box can do this, or, if you know what you're doing (I certainly don't), you can reroute that traffic anywhere you like.

Of course, if Windows worries you that much, maybe you ought to look at other alternatives. Ubuntu is free, and it's a great replacement for Windows. If you still need to run some Windows apps, then Wine can do that for you from inside Linux. I'm no Linux expert, but I'm going to learn it because I'll be damned if I'm going to keep buying new updates to Windows from Microsoft. I can build my own computers, so I see no need to add the cost of a new copy of Windows to each one.

cpsycho

join:2008-06-03
HarperLand

Re: Technology Pioneer? Hardly

The only problem for me to goto linux is gamming. Programs I use as well like photoshop. I dont think they will run on linux, but I dont know. I should check around.

Piggie
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Educate the Adults


Since when wasn't the parents job to keep kids off the computer. I call BS on protecting the children, it's a ruse.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: Technology Pioneer? Hardly

If you still need Windows for some apps (beyond what you can run under Wine and CrossOver), a dual-boot system should work for you. That's what I do. For most of the time, I run Ubuntu, but I can boot into XP if I need to.

If you haven't already, you should visit www.ubuntu.com and download a CD or DVD image. You can boot it as a live CD and play with it without altering your system. It will run more slowly than if it was installed, and you can't save anything to your hard drive, but it will give you a chance to check it out to see if you might like to install it. Also, if you run the CD from within Windows, you will have the option to install Ubuntu as a Windows app. It won't run as a true OS, but it will allow you to use it more fully than as a live CD before you do a "real" installation. And if you install it within Windows and later want it uninstalled, you can go to Add/Remove Programs in Windows' Control Panel and get rid of it like any other Windows app.

Give it a try. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Peacemker

@eppg.com

Put'em out of business. Weasel!

nebuAD and all its peers are obviously not disclosing up front what their crapware and parasiteware do. They know all too well that they run questionable business models.

Their only hope is to stay under the radar, surf the borderline, and when it gets too hot back away until next time. Despicable!

May nebuAD go down in flame and serve as an example.

These crooks should be put out of business. Period. Taking advantage of people has never been a good way of making money in my mind.