Berkeley Privacy Census Shows Tracking Run Amok
HTML5 Local Storage Tracking Skyrocketing
The UC Berkeley Law School's first-ever Web Privacy Census shows that websites are far more aggressive in tracking users
than most people suspect. While the study found that cookie-use was on the decline, websites and ISPs are increasingly using all manner of newer technology to track users, ranging from deep-packet-inspection-based behavioral advertising to HTML5 local storage. What's more, user notification and control of these practices remain virtually nonexistent as lawmakers tasked with creating new privacy consumer protections repeatedly crumble under the weight of lobbying cash from numerous industries.
Re: Berkley link in story blows up 3 browsers on iPad It's got a bad script which locks part way through.
There is no doubt that tracking happens EVERYWHERE you go, both online and real life.
Re: Berkley link in story blows up 3 browsers on iPad This sort of thing makes me wonder what kind of tracking the Berkley site might be doing on people reading the study... more likely it's just law students being bad Web programmers.
Re: Berkley link in story blows up 3 browsers on iPad
said by Squire James :The only tracking that site is doing according to my "Do Not Track" addon is the usual Google Analytics.
This sort of thing makes me wonder what kind of tracking the Berkley site might be doing on people reading the study... more likely it's just law students being bad Web programmers.
Trying to limit I use browser plugins like Ghostery to block most website tracking and so should most people.
| |elwoodbluesElwood BluesPremiumReviews:
Re: Trying to limit
said by sandman_1:Bingo, so do I, it astounds me how much tracking is actually out there.
I use browser plugins like Ghostery to block most website tracking and so should most people.
Re: Trying to limit I do the same - use ghostery and a flash blocker, and kill all my cookies after each browser close. It is kinda a pain, tho. Some web pages don't just work properly and then I have to disable the blockers, reload the pages, decide whether it was a blocked cookie, the flash blocker or the ghostery, what element being blocked in ghostery caused the problem, whitelist it or try to remember what is was for the next time I visit that site. It's all a bit much. Sometimes it take me five minutes just to figure out how to log in to such a site without just disabling all the protections. I usually just end up launching another browser for these occasions that is free from all the blocking tools. But really, all this aggravation just to keep Ford from finding out I am looking for a new car???? I wonder, sometimes.....
| |said by elwoodblues:As do I. I showed one of the guys at work how many trackers were on money.cnn.com (13) and he was floored. When an ex employee came in he had me show her too. Most people haven't got a clue just how profiled they are.
Bingo, so do I, it astounds me how much tracking is actually out there.
Glen Head, NY
Ghostery I run the Ghostery add-in with Firefox for filtering tracking sites. It displays a little popup of the various site that are getting filtered for a particular site. It is stunning to see the various sites trying to grab information. I have gone to a few where something like 16 or so different trackers are trying to collect information (and are getting blocked).
I support the right to keep and arm bears.
Blocking measures 1) I don't do Fecesbook, so I block all their known IP addresses. This gets rid of the "Like" buttons.
188.8.131.52/20 aka 184.108.40.206 - 220.127.116.11
18.104.22.168/20 aka 22.214.171.124 - 126.96.36.199
188.8.131.52/19 aka 184.108.40.206 - 220.127.116.11
18.104.22.168/22 aka 22.214.171.124 - 126.96.36.199
188.8.131.52/18 aka 184.108.40.206 - 220.127.116.11
18.104.22.168/22 aka 22.214.171.124 - 126.96.36.199
2) I block regular cookies with Ghostery
3) I block Flash Cookies in a heavy-handed manner. You can't have a directory and a file with the same name (applies to both linux and Windows). I run linux. In my home directory I delete DIRECTORIES .adobe and .macromedia, and create zero-byte FILES .adobe and .macromedia and set them read-only (permissions 444)
4) In Firefox, I block HTML5 local storage by going to about:config and setting dom.storage.enabled to false.
Re: Blocking measures Well hurray for you. What did all this work actually buy you? What really terrible thing have you stopped from happening?
98% of people using the Internet don't do stuff like this and they seem to be getting along just fine. Including tech savvy people like me who certainly have the ability to do it, just not seeing any motivation to go to the effort.
And I care because..... ??? I honestly don't get it. If you browse on a site somebody else paid for, it ain't no free lunch. They've got to get a revenue stream somehow to provide that site. Would you rather everyone go paid subscription?
People LIKE to get free content that is advertising-supported. That way, it's free, and they can watch or not watch the ads.
These "privacy violations" are nothing more than advertisers trying to tailor their messages so that they get maximum impact for their spend. That's actually nice for me, because I get ads that are related to stuff I'm actually interested in (sometimes anyway).
For Chrisssake, they are ADS! Your personal freedom, liberty, and American way of life is NOT in jeopardy. Get a grip on reality people!
Re: And I care because..... ??? The problem isn't that they're ads. Of course they are.
You see an ad in a magazine, paper. You see an ad on TV, sure. You see an ad on a signpost on the street. In all those cases (except, possibly, for the TV: The cable company knows what channel you're watching, of course) they don't specifically identify YOU.
The holy grail of advertisers is to follow your every move, watch your every blink, and know exactly what you've seen. They want to see every bill you've paid, they want to know what you think. The idea: Maximum profits by showing you the ads/news/stories that will get you to $pend money.
But these people with the ad trackers aren't the end users. The end users pay the tracking people for the information. And, lookie: who's in the queue? Oh, look, it's the State! And people who want to be elected! And criminals who want to scam you or just figure out when you're not likely to be at home.
You want privacy? That's against their religion of Free Markets. And, of course, in the way of their Payday. Which is probably their real religion, anyway.
This is fundamentally different than watching billboards go by on the highway.
So, even if you don't care about privacy, your kids' privacy, your grandmothers' privacy, et. al., and don't care if $OPPOSING_POLITICAL_PARTY knows your every move, maybe you think that watching those targeted ads won't affect your decisions. Hey, you're a big boy/girl and those stupid ads: You don't believe them, you make your own decisions, you're bad-ass strong.
Right. Y'know, there's a whole bunch of behavioral scientists who write in professional peer-reviewed scientific journals on marketing (remember, they've got PHDs, you don't!) who are rolling on the floor at the moment. Yeah, sure you're not affected. Smirk.
Anonymous (for damn good reasons)
Re: And I care because..... ??? If someone wants to pay money to find out that I order a lot of computer parts from NewEgg and Amazon, I really don't give a damn. Or that I read certain websites regularly.
Have there been confirmed reports of criminals paying for tracking data to figure out who's not at home? I kind of doubt that one.
| || No one is saying that personal freedom, liberty, etc. are in jeopardy. I simply don't want to be tracked by anyone.|
I believe that my personal data, like what I like to buy and what interests I have should not be public knowledge. If I like to collect wristwatches, I don't want any retailer out there to know that. So I will use every means at my disposal to prevent those companies from finding that out. Not because it's "wrong" or "un-American", etc. No, it's because that's what I want to do.
Re: And I care because..... ??? No no somejoe, you don't understand. Of course it's your prerogative. What I want to know is WHY people go to all that trouble. WHY do you care enough whether someone who's paid money to find out that you collect wristwatches, to go to significant effort to stop them from knowing that. Understand I'm actually curious what is the motivation here. I'm not trying to flame people.
Re: And I care because..... ??? I guess it's just "creepy". If someone else knows something about me that I didn't share with them, it creeps me out. It's like I'm being stalked or watched. I don't want to live life feeling like every corporation is constantly looking over my shoulder, observing my behavior.
I'll give you an example. Recently, I had a lot of savings built up in my bank account, so I logged on to my bank's web site and moved a rather large sum over to my investment bank so that I could put it into some investments. Within an hour of that transfer, I got calls from my bank, the investment bank, and one of my credit card companies asking about this transfer.
That gives me the heebie-jeebies. To me, these people have absolutely no right to know that I moved this money or why. Yet somehow, some alarms went off everywhere, and now 47 customer service agents all know what I'm doing with my money.
When it comes down to it, I personally believe that all humans are inherently evil. They will always attempt to take advantage of others for their own benefit. Having extra information available to them not only benefits this inherent attitude but incentivizes wrongdoing. Under a no-knowledge situation, hardly anyone would give any thought to stealing something from me, except now that they know exactly what's behind door number 1, they want to open it.
It's my God-given right to have secrets, and I object to companies that try everything they can to learn my secrets such that they can benefit from them. It's disrespectful and arrogant.
Re: And I care because..... ??? Interesting. I see this same feeling in a lot of my friends, especially women. They just seem to get creeped out when it becomes apparent to them that information about their buying (or in your case transacting) habits is informing companies in their approach to them.
I am curious *why* the bank/investment bank/credit card company called you. Was it fraud prevention, or sales?
You took the time to give a really clear description of your belief system, exactly what i was looking for. Thanks.
Personally I am of the school that believes that privacy is an illusion -- and that that's not a bad thing. You probably find my belief system just as alien as I find yours.
Before the industrial age (which is actually most of human history) there literally was no privacy. Every member of the tribe knew what every other member of the tribe was up to. And they accepted this as completely normal. In fact if people tried to hide things or keep secrets that was considered bad, and evidence that they were most likely doing bad things.
Somehow we've gotten around to the exact opposite... that privacy is some kind of basic human right, to the extent that (for example) multiple people who saw bizarre behavior in James Holmes in Colorado did nothing about it for fear of invading his privacy. And then he committed mass murder.
I totally agree that fraud and theft is a problem on the Internet. But I have seen zero examples of that being caused by tracking done by legitimate companies (as opposed to malware that is TRYING to steal your stuff).
To my way of thinking, the best defense against fraud is to simply check your accounts frequently (I do it daily) to see if anything unusual is happening. And of course take normal precautions against malware and data leakage, such as encryption, firewalls, virus protection, strong passwords, and access controls on your data in the cloud. Rather than trying to cover up and eliminate all the sources of information flowing out, simply make sure that none of them rebound to hurt you.
Re: And I care because..... ??? Well, I already do all the things you suggest to defend against fraud. I think we both agree that those things make sense to do.
However, I think we disagree as to what constitutes "theft," and on the concept of privacy. I don't at all believe that privacy is an illusion, it's a very real, tangible thing. It's just becoming harder to come by. And before the industrial age, I believe there was actually a lot MORE privacy, not less.
Suppose a male from tribe A is meeting a female from tribe B in the woods periodically. While it might take some effort to keep that a secret, it could be done. Back then, all you really had to do was make sure no one from your tribe or the other tribe saw you meet.
Today, you have GPS trackers in the car and the phone that you can't turn off, timestamps on your home security alarm, etc. You couldn't keep this type of meeting a secret even if you tried. All you can do is HOPE that some corporation doesn't go digging.
I think another part of the problem is that a lot of people tend to assume that where there's a secret, there's illegality, immorality, perversion, or some other impropriety. In the example above, what did you think that male/tribeA and female/tribeB were meeting in the woods for? Maybe they're doing exactly what you think. But maybe not. What if each tribe's leader has forbidden contact with the other tribe because of a 20-year old longstanding feud between the leaders, and the two people are meeting in secret so they don't find out? And all they're doing is trading cloth for rice?
Do you see how even completely legitimate things that violate no law and infringe no moral sometimes still need to be kept secret? I vehemently object to the notion that a secret implies guilt. IT DOES NOT.
And yes, I do believe that privacy is a God-given right. That concept was accepted by the founding fathers of the United States, and a protection against government infringement of that right is indirectly in our Constitution via the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth amendments.
By the way, my personal bank and investment bank called me solely for fraud prevention. The credit card company initially called me for fraud prevention, and then also offered me a cash back card. *SIGH*.
Did you ever read Orwell's 1984? If the rights and privacy of the people are stripped away, does it really matter if the perpetrator of that is the government or the corporations? Isn't the net effect the same? I find it extremely hypocritical that most conservatives are vehemently opposed to government influence and interference in people's lives, yet have no problem allowing corporations to do the same thing.
Re: And I care because..... ???
said by fritz43:Well I'd say you are committing the logic error of assuming the conclusion. WHY does such hard and immediate action need to be taken? What bad thing is happening here?
Exactly right - you just don't get it. They are NOT just ads. They represent a trend/movement/philosophy which needs to get stomped on - hard and immediately.
The reality of the situation is that, unless you are "off the grid" completely, there is tons of information flowing from you every day, and economics dictate that that information will be aggregated and exploited to make money. Stopping this is like trying to stop water from flowing downstream. It can be done, but at great cost.
And, this is not new to the Internet, PCs, and smartphones. Information aggregation and exploitation for marketing reasons has been around for as long as there have been people and companies selling products. Now that the Internet is involved, suddenly you scream, "No! The Internet must be eternally anonymous, private, and stateless! NO TRACKING ALLOWED EVER!" well, no. the Internet is not a magic place where everything is different.
"They are NOT just ads"... well if not that's 99.9% of it. It's all about targeted messaging.
All the more reason for Ad Blocking I use Untangle for a router with Ad Block built in.
All my browsers have AdBlock and Ghostery.
Shockingly all the sites I visit load much quicker.