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Differences from server logs

Differences from server logs

Posted Mar 30, 2005 23:47 UTC (Wed) by corbet (editor, #1)
In reply to: Unexpected features in Acrobat 7 by yodermk
Parent article: Unexpected features in Acrobat 7

How about this: web server logs don't track when you read a file that somebody emailed to you?


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Differences from server logs

Posted Mar 31, 2005 4:07 UTC (Thu) by yodermk (subscriber, #3803) [Link]

But they would track it if a web page link were emailed to a friend and he clicked it.

Sure, this behavior might be unexpected, but I don't see any reason to panic. There are much more interesting things to worry about. Plus, is it really wrong for a content author to know a bit about how far their content has spread? In nearly all cases, an IP address doesn't tell much about you.

Then, maybe I just don't understand some of the privacy advocates. The fact of our economy is such that unless you decide to be a hermit, some aggregate information is going to be collected about you. In reality, why does that matter? I don't feel like I have any reason to care that my credit card company knows I've recently ordered from Newegg and Reasons to Believe, and flown LanPeru. Are they going to hunt me down to do Bad Things to me? Worst case scenario, I might get more ads of some sort as a result, but they just might be targetted and are easy to ignore.

Now, when someone installs a videocamera in my house, there's reason to be concerned....

Differences from server logs

Posted Mar 31, 2005 4:35 UTC (Thu) by ronaldcole (subscriber, #1462) [Link]

How long until all these "I read your docs" acks displace bittorrent as the Internet Bandwidth Hog (tm)?

Sometimes you really don't want the author to know...

Posted Mar 31, 2005 8:50 UTC (Thu) by eru (subscriber, #2753) [Link]

Plus, is it really wrong for a content author to know a bit about how far their content has spread? In nearly all cases, an IP address doesn't tell much about you.

Try this skenario: Whistleblower at a Big Corrupt Corporation mails law enforcement officials an internal PDF document exposing illegal activities by the top management. Unfortunately the PDF was tracked and the Law Enforcer just naively opens it with Acrobat, thus alerting the corrupt management to the investigation, and giving them a head start with the paper shredders...

For a long time I thought of PDFs as just a kind of digital paper. Too bad they have now endowed it with capabilities to perform surprising activities when the document is merely read. We really need an electronic docment format that is guaranteed to be "inert". I guess plain ASCII is left, but something with richer formatting capabilities would also be nice.

Sometimes you really don't want the author to know...

Posted Mar 31, 2005 14:52 UTC (Thu) by cpm (guest, #3554) [Link]

If I want the author to know, I can email, call, write, them and
tell them.

If I don't, or more to the point, don't care, then I don't. It shouldn't
be a mandatory, or opt-out (why is this in contemporary parlance, is
it the spam issues and the spam laws? yes!) issue.

A PDF *should* be an electronic document. Nothing more.

It can be copied, messed with, forged, and all that rot. To add all these
bells and whistles to it, to fend off these old-as-the-written-word
issues with "documents" (What is a document anyway?*) is to create
yet-still-another legal morass of so-called "Intellectual Property"
disputes.

It's a PDF. Once it has been printed, it's as good as the paper it's
printed on. Want to have some assurance that its "real" ? wrap it
in gpg/pgp before you send it.

Oh, yes, many will say that using decent crypto/signature is too much
bother, and they are right. But everything else is often simple
to break/ignore/circumvent etcetera.

Sometimes you really don't want the author to know...

Posted Mar 31, 2005 17:28 UTC (Thu) by juha (subscriber, #5866) [Link]

> A PDF *should* be an electronic document. Nothing more.

Is it possible to create a filter program to remove these extra features from the .pdf file?

Javascript page bugs

Posted Mar 31, 2005 9:13 UTC (Thu) by rwmj (subscriber, #5474) [Link]

Actually, it's no different from Javascript page bugs, which are
routinely embedded in HTML files. Dozens of web analytics companies
(Web Trends, Urchin and Nedstat are the "big three") do this sort
of monitoring, precisely so that web page views can be tracked when
the HTML is sent by email or saved to disk.

While there are undesirable possibilities to this, in probably 99.9999%
of cases the stats are simply used for aggregate tracking for
building up marketing stats which few people in marketing even
read, let alone understand.

Rich.

Javascript page bugs

Posted Mar 31, 2005 16:51 UTC (Thu) by martinfick (subscriber, #4455) [Link]

"Actually, it's no different from Javascript page bugs"

You are correct, that doesn't mean that they don't suck.
Html is bad for email:
http://www.avernus.com/~gadams/essays/20020418-html-mail....

Javascript page bugs

Posted Mar 31, 2005 16:58 UTC (Thu) by rwmj (subscriber, #5474) [Link]

Sure, HTML is bad for email.

_I_ know that, and _you_ know that, but the huge majority
of the unwashed LookOut-using users send each other top-posted
HTML-encoded web pages all the time.

Marketing people want to track this. They perceive (correctly)
that their statistics will contain a systematic bias if they
are not able to track when their web pages are emailed, read
offline, saved to disk, and so on. They are probably not clueful
enough to deduce useful information from the aggregate data,
but that doesn't mean there is some conspiracy going on here.

Rich.

Javascript page bugs

Posted Apr 3, 2005 23:00 UTC (Sun) by error27 (subscriber, #8346) [Link]

Say a website has a bug in it. That's fine. They already have that info but the web bug is an easier way to sort it. It's their computer so they can do what they want.

If there is a bug in your email or PDF that's a different story. Most email clients are good and don't allow spying. I use Yahoo, Gmail and pine and all three are secure.

My computer is my property and it should only serve me. It's like Adobe is run by some kind of hippies who don't believe in property. "We'll just waltz into the house that you paid for and raid the fridge and leave flowers strewn on the carpet."

Perhaps I sound like a Republican but people like this should be thrown in jail.

Javascript page bugs

Posted Apr 12, 2005 15:35 UTC (Tue) by gvy (guest, #11981) [Link]

Pine's buggy, not secure. It could lead to even worse consequences.

As our security officer has put it, "one specially crafted message was enough reason for me to drop Pine". He's using Mutt now, me too (for being programmable, but that's another matter).

Telling they're insecure doesn't make us more secure per se... even if it's not exactly technical security.


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