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Most consumers are familiar with do-not-call lists, which are meant to keep telemarketers from phoning them. Soon people will be able to sign up for do-not-track lists, which will help shield their Web surfing habits from the prying eyes of marketers.
Such lists will not reduce the number of ads that people see online, but they will prevent advertisers from using their online meanderings to deliver specific ad pitches to them.
Today the AOL division of Time Warner will announce a service of this type, which will be up and running by the end of the year. Other programs are likely to be articulated soon, as online advertisers prepare for a two-day forum on privacy to be held by the Federal Trade Commission.
Internet Privacy Efforts Take A Step Forward [nytimes.com]
AOL says it is setting up a new Web site that will link consumers directly to opt-out lists run by the largest advertising networks. The site’s technology will ensure that people’s preferences are not erased later.
OK, this is completely idiotic because the only way you can identify yourself as someone not to track is to actually identify yourself!
Most online users don't have static IP addresses so tracking an AOL customer that rejects cookies already is next to impossible, except by AOL itself. However, if they want to register for "do-no-track" then they have to identify themselves somehow so we know NOT to track them in the first place.
The price you'll pay for this little bit of privacy will be in your wallet since the people advertising products you like will spend a lot more trying to get that message to you.
So why do we need to identify ourselves to opt-out?
Unless I'm completely missing something, the only way to really track people is with a cookie and rejecting that cookie requires ZERO new technology, do-not-track lists, or interference from the FTC.
Besides, our friends at AdAware have a tool that nicely cleans up anything that slips through the cracks.
vendors outside the country
This, I think, is the most important point that any lawmaker (or private party heralding the need for more internet control laws) needs to consider.
Any limit a country, the US in this case, tries to impose on the net ceases to have any meaning outside of their borders. And of course, when you're talking about the internet, borders aren't all that important.
In the end most limits of this type are ineffective and only serve to force lucrative industries offshore. Online gambling would be one example.
Firefox with NoScript and CS Lite (Cookie Safe) works for me...
CS Lite makes the latter more convenient. (Making controls available through the status bar.)
I'm confused about CS Lite vs. CookieSafe, though. Are the different versions of the same extension? Or completely different? I really couldn't find much information on either. CS Lite gets a meager 1 star rating on C¦Net's download site, and no link to the author. Not sure I'm finding the right extension here.
So really, you think sleazy vendors outside the country really care what the US government regulates?
Any limit a country, the US in this case, tries to impose on the net ceases to have any meaning outside of their borders.
This is dependent on the perceived seriousness of the "crime". For example the Scottish guy who hacked into the US defence computers from the UK is now fighting extradition to the US where he faces life imprisonment. Where there is a will there is a way.
I couldn't even begin to guess how many countries would ignore an extradition request for something like this. Much easier to count those that would acquiesce. Are there any?
I hate to turn a WebmasterWorld discussion political, because it's discouraged (with good reason) but I can't resist.
How about China?
OK, so China probably wouldn't extradite anyone to the U.S. for wronging the U.S. They just execute them. You can't extradite a dead guy. (Think lead paint on toys.)