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Trade Groups Prepare to Battle Over E.U.'s ePrivacy Regulation

     
10:10 am on May 29, 2018 (gmt 0)

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A number of trade groups are preparing to battle the E.U.'s ePrivacy Regulation which is aimed to protect individuals through confidentiality of electronic communications. Note, this is not to do with GDPR, and ePrivacy Regulation is currently approved late last year, but is currently under review by the Council of the EU.
The trade groups, which include American Chamber of Commerce, which include Facebook, Google and Microsoft, suggest that the proposed new regulation will be "overly strict."

tech industry groups and their supporters argue that ePrivacy’s consent requirement and other provisions are so onerous that they would hinder innovations like smart cars, which automatically transmit safety information back to the manufacturer. And requiring companies to provide equal communications services to people who opt out of data mining, they say, could cause sites or apps that rely on data-driven advertising to start charging fees or close down.
“Europe will become a digital backwater,” said Daniel Dalton, a member of the European Parliament from Britain. Mr. Dalton, who pushed for amendments on the ePrivacy bill, said he had met with Google, Microsoft, video game companies and trade groups to discuss their objections to the legislation.


[nytimes.com...]

Proposal for an ePrivacy Regulation [ec.europa.eu...]

It's true that over regulation can cause problems with innovation, and, in general, i'm not a fan of too much of it, but, I would say that some tech businesses have brought this upon themselves by being too liberal with the users' data and hiding permissions in long, legalese that most people don't read simply because it's too burdensome.
10:23 am on May 29, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I have different versions of my Privacy Policy. I can switch at any time according to which way the wind blows... and I'm convinced this will never stop.
10:24 am on May 29, 2018 (gmt 0)

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>>could cause sites or apps that rely on data-driven advertising to start charging fees or close down.

then they need to start charging fees.

to me an analogy is smoking ... all western governments have been slowly over the last 50 years legislating against smoking because people will not act in a way that is good for them (eg stop) without strong direction.
likewise with person data, people do not understand what they are giving away - so governments have to legislate for their own (the people's) good.
10:31 am on May 29, 2018 (gmt 0)

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then they need to start charging fees.

Surely the Tech companies are right here? That it should be allowed to barter data for access in lieu of payment?

Tech companies are not saying that consent should be hidden (as now), but that is should be a pre-condition of service. The new ePrivacy Reg says you cannot monetise your service, and cannot stop people freeloading.

I wonder if you make your services "chargeable" but waive the fee for people who share data, does that comply?
10:41 am on May 29, 2018 (gmt 0)

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And then, the off-topic aside
to me an analogy is smoking ... all western governments have been slowly over the last 50 years legislating against smoking because people will not act in a way that is good for them (eg stop) without strong direction.
likewise with person data, people do not understand what they are giving away - so governments have to legislate for their own (the people's) good.

Woah there. What's with the paternalism?

Smoking restrictions are defensible solely on the grounds of second-hand smoke. Killing yourself should be your own choice, by whatever poison floats your boat. Harming others is not acceptable. Governments could ban smoking, but happily they have taken the sensible route of protecting others.

To move a whole additional step off-topic, what's wrong with living fast and dying old-but-not-ancient? I would rather go at 70 having lived a permissive life, than chug along at 110 with the sole comfort that the dementia means I can no longer remember the misery of my life of abstinence and denial.
10:53 am on May 29, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Smoking restrictions are defensible solely on the grounds of second-hand smoke. Killing yourself should be your own choice, by whatever poison floats your boat. Harming others is not acceptable. Governments could ban smoking, but happily they have taken the sensible route of protecting others.


Obviously going off-topic, but in a country such as Britain, where universal health care is provided by the state, there is also the expense to the taxpayer of treating those who have chosen to damage their own health through smoking.

Anyway, back to the topic: would it really be so bad if publishers sold their advertising space directly to advertisers without going through middlemen such as Google etc? Corporations were happy to pay to advertise in printed newspapers, based on demographics and distribution before any of this tracking existed. Have a specialist product? Well advertise in a specialist publication or website - no need to pay a tax to Google.
11:00 am on May 29, 2018 (gmt 0)

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...would it really be so bad if publishers sold their advertising space directly to advertisers without going through middlemen such as Google etc?
I've been doing that for many years. Each site is different of course, but without a central broker (like Adsense & others) it is nearly impossible to consistantly fill the ad space.
11:28 am on May 29, 2018 (gmt 0)

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it is nearly impossible to consistantly fill the ad space.
My impression (we don't sell advertising) was that publishers sold direct where possible, and in-filled with adsense when they could not fill their slots (I am hugely uneducated on this, so may well be wrong - it might even be a breach of Adsense rules?)

But the reason Adsense was invented was as a market-maker, in the same way Uber works, conceptually if not in practice. There are advertisers, there is advertising space, and adsense efficiently links one with the other, while taking a cut.
Obviously going off-topic, but in a country such as Britain, where universal health care is provided by the state, there is also the expense to the taxpayer of treating those who have chosen to damage their own health through smoking.
Au contraire! Dementia care for 30 years is significantly more expensive than chemo for a year to two. Then there is the fiscal impacts of reducing "sin" taxes, while paying State pensions and other State "entitlements" during old age.

Fiscally, in a whole-of-life (rather than current) spending analysis, unhealthy life choices are a boon for the welfare state- simply because people die significantly earlier, and every year they live is a cost to the state (post-retirement).

That last sentence looks like I want to kill old people. I don't. I simply state that my right to have fun is not in conflict with the social contract of my Nation State.
1:18 pm on May 29, 2018 (gmt 0)

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But the reason Adsense was invented was as a market-maker, in the same way Uber works, conceptually if not in practice. There are advertisers, there is advertising space, and adsense efficiently links one with the other, while taking a cut.


Except for the absolute peak years of Adsense (2012 for us), we made more money from selling advertising direct before adsense existed.
However, our advertisers always demanded a link, and since Google essentially made it illegal to sell links (run the risk of a penalty if you are caught selling them), Google essentially ended that business model.
6:39 pm on May 29, 2018 (gmt 0)

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They should have started their lobbying earlier.

May be a "compromise" would be to propose an option, where all cookies would be accepted, but deleted as soon as the web browser is closed. Or make cookie to expire 24 or 48 hours max.
9:04 am on May 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Every internet user has always had the option to accept or block cookies all along, right in their browser settings.

Seems to me all this hassle about cookies is because of those who don't know it's there.
9:11 am on May 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Every internet user has always had the option to accept or block cookies all along, right in their browser settings.

Indeed, but it was up to the user to know there were cookies, and then to seek for the option in the settings. The ePrivacy Regulation plans that, each time a web browser is installed, and each time it is updated, the user will be asked what to do about cookies. So chances (bad luck depending of your point of view), will be that much more users will block, at least marketing/third-party cookies. Also, it's possible the EU imposes that by default, cookies be disabled, which is again worse.

Of course, Google Chrome will use sentences, which will encourage people to enable tracking cookie. They'll formulate the choice such as "do you want to improve your user experience, thanks to cookie, ,..." and turn it as a positive thing.
8:38 am on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Of course, Google Chrome will use sentences, which will encourage people to enable tracking cookie. They'll formulate the choice such as "do you want to improve your user experience, thanks to cookie, ,..." and turn it as a positive thing.

It often is a positive thing. Cookies are a great convenience for users when visiting their favorite forums, review sites, social-media sites, news sites, e-commerce sites, etc. Obviously, some cookies are more benign and useful than others are (from the user's point of view).

Ten or 15 years ago, Joe User might have thought that cookies were inherently evil, but is blind cookie fear still a thing?
11:57 am on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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IMO it is not a fair exchange - free access to a service in return for nothing. Up until now the end user hasn't realised they have entered into an agreement; and I believe if the entirety of that agreement was explained to them, most would accept it as a fair deal.

However, requiring someone to opt in to cookies which only help with 'marketing' is a big ask. Marketing has fairly negative connotations to many people - think spam, cold calls etc etc.. As I clearly have a vested interest in people opting in I am not impartial, but at a gut level I would probably choose not to.

This is all the wrong way around. Users should have the choice to opt out and the education can focus on advising them why they would consider opting out.