New FTC 'Do-Not-Track' Recommendations: Clueless?

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by vasa1, Apr 5, 2012.

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  1. vasa1
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    vasa1 Registered Member

  2. mirimir
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    mirimir Registered Member

    Yes, it's clueless. I wasn't happy about commercialization of the Internet in the mid 90s. But advertising has funded lots of cool stuff. And targeted advertising is more efficient and less annoying. And most people don't seem to care much (as long as they aren't subjected to dancing clowns with bad music).

    For those who do care, what's important are usable and effective tools for tracking how they are being tracked (eg, Collusion) and for controlling the when and how of it. Noscript, Adblock Plus, RefControl, Cookie Monster and Better Privacy, for example, are all great at what they do. But users have to find them, install them, and learn how to use them. There's no equivalent of an antimalware suite, as far as I know.
  3. Baserk
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    Baserk Registered Member

    It isn't that surprising imo that f.i. a representative from ITIF 'a non-partisan think tank whose mission is to formulate and promote public policies to advance technological innovation and productivity internationally, in Washington, and in the states.', comes to this conclusion.

    Daniel Castro, who was quoted in the OP linked article, is senior analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, which was founded by the Information Technology Industry Council, a Washington D.C. based trade association that represents companies from the information and communications technology industry. (So perhaps non-partisan as in representative for all IT companies but surely not representing citizens).
    Daniel Castro has previously written;

    'Unfortunately, when it comes to protecting consumer privacy online, many policymakers are skeptical of self-regulation and seem to think the risks of under-regulation outweigh the risks of over-regulation. As debate intensifies in this new regulatory frontier, ITIF is unveiling a report that will evaluate self-regulation by the private sector, explaining in practical terms how it works and why it is essential to protect consumer privacy in online behavioral advertising and other aspects of life online.' link

    So for ITIF it's important that online privacy is protected but it's paramount that it's done/regulated by those companies who make money from it and not done by those who actually represent citizens aka politicians.

    From one of castro's publications (see above link);
    'Self-regulation may make more sense in countries like the United States where privacy is often rightly seen as one value among many, with competing trade-offs.
    However, self-regulation is unlikely to satisfy proponents of government regulation intended to protect something seen as a fundamental right. Countries like France and Germany, where privacy is considered a basic human right, have been early adopters of state regulation to govern the use of data.
    ' PDF link

    As mr. Castro seems to prove with his (I guess culturally based) assertion, it depends on your location whether (online) privacy is a fundamental/basic human right that requires government regulation, or not.
    I'd rather have influence on regulation/law making through elected representatives than have regulation done by those who profit from a lack of it but I'm aware that's a narrow-minded Eurocentric line of thinking. :)
  4. TheWindBringeth
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    TheWindBringeth Registered Member

    Considering the many ways that ads can be targeted on the net *without actually tracking & profiling individual users*, which include but are not limited to:

    - Site topic specific ads (sports ads at sports websites)
    - Page keyword specific ads (travel related ads on a page discussing travel)
    - Search keyword specific ads (Honda XYZ ads when people search for that vehicle)
    - Location specific ads (local newspaper, review, etc websites)
    - Opt-in advertising lists

    I think it rather absurd to suggest that DNT related initiatives present some kind of fundamental risk to innovation or the Internet in general. I personally think it is totally unreasonable to put the burden on individual users, in part because:

    1) 98% or more lack the level of sophistication necessary to understand, identify, and block all of the obvious threats let alone the non-obvious ones
    2) The objectionable practices can be, and often are, hidden from view. The end user can't block a server they are visiting from forwarding information to third parties for example.
    3) The "avoid it if you don't like it" approach does not scale well especially when there are a small number of dominate players who by design or coincidence pursue the same strategies that leave consumers/users with fewer choices. As can be seen on several fronts, those that design the devices, software, and services *can* structure things so that individuals do not have adequate control over what their own phones, computers, software, etc do. Generally speaking, individuals can't create fine-grained blocking, whatever control when the design was aimed at preventing that.
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