Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 12th Oct 2012 23:06 UTC
Internet & Networking "With the fate of our beloved internet economy allegedly at stake, perhaps it's a good time to examine what Do Not Track is. How did the standard came to be, what does it do, and how does it stand to change online advertising? Is it as innocuous as privacy advocates make it sound, or does it stand to jeopardize the free, ad-supported internet we've all come to rely on?" Do Not Track is inherently flawed because it gives people a false sense of security. Other than perhaps well-known and accountable sites, nobody's going to abide by it anyway. We don't need nonsense like DNT - we need to educate people about that 'private browsing' button. Everybody's already using it for porn anyway; shouldn't be hard to let people know what other things it can be used for.
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I had to stop reading after this bit
by darknexus on Fri 12th Oct 2012 23:25 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

to create an online equivalent of the successful nationwide Do Not Call list — a single list of opt-outs that all telemarketers had to respect.

There are three things wrong with this statement, and any news source worth its salt should have made the effort to find this out:
1. The do not call list must explicitly be requested by telemarketers,
2. They do not technically have to respect it even if they request it. It's a massive list of phone numbers (sometimes with names if you put your name on it) that is out for public consumption. Even if legally they must respect it, you have no way to prove whether a company did or did not. As it's available easily, even if you make a claim against a company, it becomes your word against theirs and we know what the US government does when it comes to the word of a business against the word of an individual.
3. There are many exceptions to the do not call list, noteably for political campaign calling and other types of services falling under this type of category. This can be interpreted as broadly as one can get away with, like much of the laws here.
As a result of these things, one can hardly call this list a success. Do not track does, in fact, remind me of this list because, like the list, it's a standard that no one actually has to comply with. It's theater, pure and simple.

Reply Score: 3

UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

Even if legally they must respect it, you have no way to prove whether a company did or did not.

That's why they allow you to report an unsolicited call, isn't it?
https://complaints.donotcall.gov/complaint/complaintcheck.aspx
I'm sure the government has just about any advertiser's number in their own database, so just about any sales call you get and notify them of they can probably easily track.

I do agree that the Do Not Call registry is not as good as it could be, because ANYTHING that is not considered advertisement (telemarketing) is allowed. Which unfortunately includes survey companies, charities and political organizations--but if you tell them not to call, they *should* listen (who knows if they will or not though).

But theoretically, a telemarketer *must* listen, because they're just opening themselves up to potential trouble if they don't and they end up calling back. I have received a grand total of One telemarketing call in the last year that I had my current phone and number, which was earlier this year (it was a Spanish-spoken recording). I immediately reported the number, not sure if it really had much of an effect or not (you can never tell), but I never heard from that number since. Then again, it's a cell phone and I don't give its number to everyone.

But by putting your number on the list, you are, in fact, making it directly available to the telemarketers... but really, they probably have every U.S. phone number there is anyway (probably buy them from phone companies, government organizations and other businesses), so what difference does it make, other than if you're on the list they have liability? The bad thing would be the "allowed" unsolicited callers buying the list and using it to conduct their business, but I really haven't got any political or survey calls either--except one survey call, to one of my Google Voice numbers, which I determined to be a company that does business with my bank. Called once, I didn't even know till half a month later because my phone never rang: they hung up as soon as GV asked them for their name.

My understanding is that the telemarketers are supposed to buy the list of numbers and obey it by adding all of the numbers to their database of numbers to NOT call. If they don't, they can get in trouble.

Edited 2012-10-13 00:54 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Well, here's the thing about the donotcall list. The scammers who are already doing illegal things, don't f'n care. The calls are routed through individual lines not tied through a buisness somehow ( skype??, burner cell phones?, forged Caller Id? I don't know). On calling back the number, I only ever get busy signals. I have one that has my number. I've reported each call to the FTC for the past year, but haven't got a response. Each time I also add it to a block list of numbers that simply don't ring, so they may be trying more than I actually realize.

I image a do not email list would work just as well for scammers.

Reply Score: 2

UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

The scammers who are already doing illegal things, don't f'n care.

That's true, unfortunately, but it always was and always will be the case. No amount of government "regulation" will ever be capable of stopping all "illegal" activities. As for scammers using bogus CallerID data... it's possible. That information can easily be masked. If that's what's happening, well, you really were found by the wrong people.

In that case, probably nothing short of changing your phone number and making sure right from the start that it's not listed in the phone book is going to help. But if it got that bad, just changing your number would at least save your sanity... but at the cost of a possible fee and having to get everyone to update their records of your phone number.

It might be a massive PITA, but if it really has got that bad then the end result would be worth it.

Reply Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

The call volume is usually once every other week from different phone number each time, having an auto block feature helps greatly.

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Bill Shooter of Bul,

"The call volume is usually once every other week from different phone number each time, having an auto block feature helps greatly."

Is that a feature of your provider or your phone? If I could block numbers, I'd probably be down to every other week on average as well.

Reply Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

My phone.

Reply Score: 2

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Well I can tell you of at least ONE way they do it, and that is by using hacked PCs like a VPN connection to route their robodialers through as I had that happen to a former customer a few months back.

As for TFA nobody is talking about the rotting elephant in the room which is besides just being nosy and creepy their targeted ads DO NOT WORK as it seems to be infected with a case of the "OMG we're too late!" syndrome. Case in point just to have a fair and honest opinion when this first came up I decided to load a browser, in this case Pale Moon, which I would use instead of my Comodo Dragon when searching for parts at my shop with NO adblocking of ANY kind, just to see if the ads became really and truly targeted.

What did I find? they sure did...AFTER I had already bought the thing and didn't want it. I bought my netbook a year and change ago and haven't looked at netbooks since, I've been looking at SSDs pretty much constantly this past month. SSD reviews, benchmarks, flyers, you name it. so what do i get ads for? netbooks and ultrabooks, nothing but netbooks and ultrabooks.

So I'm sorry but not only is it sick and creepy and pervy to think some weirdo ad group is following my every move they can't even do anything useful with the fricking data! What is sad is the plain old fashioned ad emails I get from Tiger, NewEgg, and Amazon, royally stomp without them following me around like a stalker. All their emails do is "hey you bought this, people that bought this also often buy that, would you like to buy that? We have it on sale?" and wouldn't ya know it, I've actually bought the that that is on sale! Why yes I would like a CPU cooler that is designed to go with my 6 core and is on sale and had great reviews, thanks Tiger! Why yes I would like another pack of blank DVDs when its 30% off, thanks Amazon! Why sure Newegg, how could I resist that flash drive that's tiny and fits my keyring for only $9, thanks a bunch!

The old way worked just fine, this new way is pervy and sucks, so now its blocked with good old ABP and third site cookies cleared on exit. I don't care if you need to make money, heck i'll be happy to buy, just don't go pervy stalker on me.

Reply Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

UltraZelda64,

"That's why they allow you to report an unsolicited call, isn't it?"

You are fortunate that you don't have a problem with unsolicited robo-calls, I don't even know how many people have problems with them besides me (both my mobile and landline get them)... I suspect that IF you did get lots of unsolicited calls to begin with, you'd probably find the do-not-call violation reporting useless, unfortunately.



"If they don't, they can get in trouble."

The trouble is they don't get in trouble.


Edit:
(quoted from another post)
"In that case, probably nothing short of changing your phone number and making sure right from the start that it's not listed in the phone book is going to help."


Well, mine isn't listed, and since hanging up/unsubscribing has never worked, I try to get to a live operator to get them to take me off their list, they usually hang up when they find out I want them to stop calling, but one of them told me "I cannot take you off the list, there isn't one". They must be literally going through phone permutations for a given area code.

Edited 2012-10-13 03:33 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ssokolow
by ssokolow on Fri 12th Oct 2012 23:36 UTC
ssokolow
Member since:
2010-01-21

I was always lead to believe that Do Not Track was intended to obsolete per-company opt-out cookies.

Basically, as an alternative to extensions like TACO and Keep My Opt-Outs which install a massive list of company-specific opt-out cookies in your browser and protect them from tools which might flush them out while clearing other cookies.

That also seems to be how advertising companies which sign on are treating it... as a simpler way to meet the voluntary opt-out commitments they've made to avoid being slapped with legislation.

That's why it's important that browsers have it turned off by default. (They really should have chosen a name that makes the intent more obvious. Something with "Opt-Out" in the spec's title like "Unified Tracking Opt-Out")

Edited 2012-10-12 23:52 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by ssokolow
by Lennie on Sat 13th Oct 2012 15:02 UTC in reply to "Comment by ssokolow"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

There are actually 3 states:
- user did not make a choice (no header was sent) or the browser does not support it
- user made a choice: don't mind to be tracked
- user made a choice: do not want to be tracked

The first is the default.

Reply Score: 3

All I've ever thought about DNT...
by Lazarus on Sat 13th Oct 2012 00:22 UTC
Lazarus
Member since:
2005-08-10

"Do Not Track is inherently flawed because it gives people a false sense of security. Other than perhaps well-known and accountable sites, nobody's going to abide by it anyway."

Reply Score: 2

ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

If you don't mind my asking, how would you have thought of it if it had been presented, persistently, in terms of a checkbox labelled with "Request that all participating sites opt me out of being tracked" (Sort of like how Firefox labels the checkbox with "Tell websites I do not want to be tracked")

While I don't have time to run a study, I am quite curious how much the unfortunate naming might be affecting peoples' impressions of the feature.

Edited 2012-10-13 00:37 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Lazarus Member since:
2005-08-10

If you don't mind my asking, how would you have thought of it if it had been presented, persistently, in terms of a checkbox labelled with "Request that all participating sites opt me out of being tracked"


I'd not have thought any differently about it. The problems are not how the "feature" is presented but in how it works.

Its like leaving your house unlocked all the time, putting a note on the front door letting any passer-by know that its unlocked and asking them to not do anything nefarious.

DNT is a foolish waste of time and resources.

Reply Score: 3

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

DNT is a foolish waste of time and resources.


Well, that is not really true, because of this:

1. you can not prevent to being tracked, it is technically impossible.

For example you currently have user-agent-profiling.

Which looks at all the properties of the browser you are running (plugins installed, screensize, browser version, etc.).

If you would want to do it, you would need to create browsers with very few features which are all bug-for-bug-compatible (impossible anyway) and use the Tor network all the time.

2. So what you need are laws, to make it illegal to ignore DNT. Some countries already have such laws.

3. what the marketers should understand is that tracking is not required even for the very advanced advertising systems currently in the market:

https://air.mozilla.org/tracking-not-required/

There is a reason almost all browsers now have support for DNT.

Reply Score: 3

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

2. So what you need are laws, to make it illegal to ignore DNT. Some countries already have such laws.


Right, just like there are laws to try and prevent people from sharing copyrighted material. And we see how well that has worked out.

Reply Score: 2

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Really what alternative is there ?

Reply Score: 2

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Really what alternative is there ?


There is no alternative.

Reply Score: 2

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

You also have to remember that companies don't usually break the copyright laws.

It might happen that movies and music gets copied with p2p but it isn't usually the companies.

And tracking obviously applies to businesses.

Reply Score: 2

quackalist Member since:
2007-08-27

Oh no, can I just have the implant now so I can be told what to think and buy.

Reply Score: 1

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

But a company has a registered Address in the countries that they operate in, which means that if it is mandatory to comply they will suffer penalties for not doing so.

Reply Score: 3

Do not call?!?
by Alfman on Sat 13th Oct 2012 03:06 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

"Back in 2007, a coalition of activists, academics, and lawyers approached the FTC to create an online equivalent of the successful nationwide Do Not Call list — a single list of opt-outs that all telemarketers had to respect."

I actually really *like* the idea of the do not call list, but it only stops telemarketers who actually choose to abide by it. I get these damned automated calls for "home security" at least every week, sometimes several times a day. The voice says "There's been a crime in your neighbourhood...".

I've been reporting these violations nearly every day for a year, they rotate between a handful of numbers, and I'm far from the only one who has these problems with these very same guys. You'd think they'd get a clue that I'm never going to buy anything from them...argh!

http://whocallsme.com/Phone-Number.aspx/4065305038/14
http://www.numberguru.com/406-852-8003
http://callerr.com/4068528003
http://whocalled.us/lookup/4068528003
http://www.numberinvestigator.com/phone/406-852-8003.html

I pay for received calls, they come at all times of the day, sometimes when I'm sleeping or driving or on vacation. They are costing me time and money. At the very absolute least the FEDs should shut down this phone number, but no..the spammer's been using the same numbers without interruption since at least 2010. What have all of our DNC complaints yielded us? Zilch! The do-not-call list is self-enforced and toothless. I keep hoping if I file enough complaint's it'll finally end.


Sorry about this rant, but when I read "successful nationwide Do Not Call list", I just needed to point out the author's naivety - it only stops companies who respect it voluntarily.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Do not call?!?
by Soulbender on Sat 13th Oct 2012 06:48 UTC in reply to "Do not call?!?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I pay for received calls


Say what?
That's as absurd as having to pay for the letters people send you.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Do not call?!?
by Alfman on Sat 13th Oct 2012 08:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Do not call?!?"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Soulbender,

"That's as absurd as having to pay for the letters people send you."

This always surprises people in europe, but yeah that's the way it is in the US especially with mobile phones.

If you have a PAYG plan, you pay for incoming calls outright. If you have minutes on your plan, then those are total minutes which will deduct incoming calls before applying overage charges. I think our overage charge is around $0.40/minute, which I presume is rounded up. Different plans have different times when the minutes can apply.

On a related note, I don't have/don't want a texting plan, but I still get some occasional spam texts & some from friends. I make a point of never reading them because I'd rather they call. Anyway those get billed at $0.20 a piece.

You get used to it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Do not call?!?
by kwan_e on Sat 13th Oct 2012 13:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Do not call?!?"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

"I pay for received calls


Say what?
That's as absurd as having to pay for the letters people send you.
"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWpwEOKzasw

Reply Score: 3

Distraction
by kwan_e on Sat 13th Oct 2012 03:25 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

Do Not Track is diverting attention away from draconian data retention laws anyway.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by marcp
by marcp on Sat 13th Oct 2012 09:56 UTC
marcp
Member since:
2007-11-23

IMO the best practice is to have TNO policy - trust no one. Especially marketers. They want to get your info no matter what the regulations would be, so you better watch your ass and protect your privacy yourself.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by marcp
by UltraZelda64 on Sat 13th Oct 2012 14:06 UTC in reply to "Comment by marcp"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

I agree. But tell that to the marketers--they'll have a fit insisting that everyone should trust them. Uh... no. Just no.

I take the TNO stance with all the Firefox extensions I use (AdBlock Plus with Element Hiding Helper, NoScript with only certain sites I visit "allowed" to use javascript/Flash, Do Not Track Plus because the *real* DNT is a joke). I allow no third-party cookies... so if I don't visit a site, I accept nothing from them.

By the way... does anyone actually allow cookies on a per-site basis? Firefox has the option hidden where I'd least expect it, but I tried to use it and it's a massive PITA these days. Some sites give you 6 or 12 cookies or more just for one page... even not including third-party ones. Add the third party ones to say "no" to and it basically makes going to even one site a chore.

There's got to be a better way. The closest I've came to decent (but still far from it, because it asks for every third-party cookie as well) is having it remember my choices for certain sites (allow for session, allow, deny). A mixture of "block all third-party cookies" and "ask me every time" would be nearly perfect.

Reply Score: 2

Apache supports online tracking
by BallmerKnowsBest on Sat 13th Oct 2012 17:06 UTC
BallmerKnowsBest
Member since:
2008-06-02

On the plus side, DNT has shown us all what Apache's real priorities are - namely, privacy for end users is much less important than trying to screw over Microsoft.

http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/11/3314211/ie10-dnt-header-microsoft...

In a nutshell: instead of choosing to side with Microsoft & support privacy, Apache has instead thrown their support behind the online advertising industry. That's the FLOSS world for you: supporting freedom, privacy, and other high-minded principles... as long as it doesn't conflict with their jihad against Microsoft.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Apache supports online tracking
by laffer1 on Mon 15th Oct 2012 18:46 UTC in reply to "Apache supports online tracking"
laffer1 Member since:
2007-11-09

The problem is that both Microsoft and Apache screwed up. Microsoft should ask users outright if they want to turn on DNT the first time IE is started on a user profile. Making the option easy to get to is a good thing. Microsoft ignored the standard.

Microsoft had three possible motives for enabling DNT by default.

1. User privacy
2. Trying to kill DNT out of the gate
3. To screw google over. Google makes money on advertising after all.

Apache shouldn't block the header outright because some users might want it on. They're screwing over the users who care about privacy. Their only choice is to switch to another browser, but apache httpd doesn't tell the user they're ignoring DNT. This will require user training. Apache ignored the standard.

Both sides are wrong.

Reply Score: 1