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France Tells Facebook To Stop Tracking Non-Users Without Consent

     
10:35 am on Feb 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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France's data protection authority has given Facebook three months to stop tracking non-Facebook users' web activity without consent, and to stop transferring some data to the U.S. This new found push stems from the new deal replacing the long-standing Safe Harbor agreement. [webmasterworld.com] Additionally, this move could spur other E.U. countries to take similar steps.

"Facebook transfers personal data to the United States on the basis of Safe Harbour, although the Court of Justice of the European Union declared invalid such transfers in its ruling of October 6, 2015," the French CNIL said in a statement. France Tells Facebook To Stop Tracking Non-Users Without Consent [reuters.com]
1:06 am on Feb 10, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The CNIL said Facebook's tracking of non-users by placing a cookie on their browser without informing them when they visit a Facebook page did not comply with French privacy law.


France strikes again. And the EU at large doesn't seem far behind. OMG OMG cookies!

How, this many decades into the existence of the internet, do regulators still completely fail to understand technology?

Even if you make cookies completely illegal, which I think many bureaucrats in the Europe would happily do, you accomplish nothing except to make things harder for developers.

For those to whom this isn't self explanatory: A website doesn't need cookies to uniquely identify users. All the data needed to do that is inherently part of the HTTP request. It's how the internet works.

I'd love to see some effort from the tech community to educate the public about this kind of thing. Journalism isn't going to do it, they invariably prefer to play the clickbait privacy fears card. Given free reign governments, without intending to, will continue to incrementally raise the barrier to entry for new players and innovation online.
3:24 am on Feb 10, 2016 (gmt 0)

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This isn't technology, it is bureaucrats, and if they can get a finger in the capitalist pie they will. :)

We can educate about cookies all day long (and still end in a fail as cookies DO have an identification/use purpose) and the battle will continue.

Cake and eat it, too kind of thing.
9:50 pm on Feb 10, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The point is that the identification value of cookies is redundant. Next on the list after cookies are regulated into oblivion is the HTTP protocol itself.

On a semi-related note, it's refreshing to see the US doing (or trying to do) something rational in tech legislation:

House bill to combat recent state stupidity [arstechnica.com]
 

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