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Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

Posted Oct 18, 2012 12:04 UTC (Thu) by AndreE (guest, #60148)
Parent article: Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

It's seems despite all my time at university studying Plato, Descarte, Mill, Kant, Wittgenstein, Foucault, et. al., I failed to learn that targeted advertising was one of the corner stones of civil society.

I also didn't realise that man has an a priori predisposition to being tracked. And that NOT tracking him without his explicit permissions intrudes upon one of his fundamental freedoms.

Well, at least standards compliance is held in high regard.


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Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

Posted Oct 18, 2012 13:34 UTC (Thu) by njwhite (guest, #51848) [Link]

Well said.

The idea in the spec that default behaviour should be "please track me" seems dumb. I know it's technically more "I don't mind if you do," but the history of the web thus far makes it pretty clear that that's how it should be interpreted. To spin any alternative to this as "reducing user choice" is ludicrous.

I presume the defaults are really that way in order to preemptively placate the advertising industry, but I wish they were honest about that.

But whatever, I have zero faith in "voluntary compliance" with this stuff. Or government mandated compliance, for that matter.

Technologists have to be bold and accept that tracking is basically always dangerous and a bad idea, and design systems around that. It sucks that at present it's only technically savvy people who can protect themselves reasonably, and no amount of voluntary good behaviour by industries who are so morally dubious, and derive their income from tracking, is going to change that.

Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

Posted Oct 18, 2012 19:01 UTC (Thu) by iabervon (subscriber, #722) [Link]

We don't need a header to specify that the user wants the default site behavior. It only makes sense to send any header at all if the browser actually has some information that the server doesn't have (whether that's user preference or browser capabilities). Sites will continue to do what they're presently doing for users who don't do anything explicitly. They'll only change their behavior for users who do something explicitly, which means that, in order for this header to be worthwhile, it must be possible for users to make the setting more restrictive than the default. Changing the default site behavior is a legitimate goal, but it's not a technical goal that can be accomplished with a protocol extension. The value of a protocol extension is to let requests be different from each other, so that sites can treat them in different ways and comply with actual desires.

If you want sites to pay any attention to any new header, it must be in the site's interest to do so; otherwise, they'll ignore it in ways that are just hard to notice. In order to get sites to actually respond to the DNT header, you need a substantial portion of the people who set it to 1 to watch for site being inappropriately knowledgeable and avoid them and tell their friends the site is creepy. If the general population isn't going to contribute to enforcement like that, it'll be meaningless if it's the default.

Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

Posted Oct 19, 2012 10:32 UTC (Fri) by AndreE (guest, #60148) [Link]

This is pretty obvious.

Which makes Mozilla completely illogical and transparent rhetoric about the user's true desires all the more galling.

Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

Posted Oct 20, 2012 7:19 UTC (Sat) by erwbgy (subscriber, #4104) [Link]

I presume the defaults are really that way in order to preemptively placate the advertising industry, but I wish they were honest about that./p>

Nope. The point of the default being 0 is so that it is clear that the user set the DNT value and not the browser vendor. That way it specifies an actual user preference that advertisers will find harder to ignore.

Setting the default to 1 like IE is doing makes it no longer a preference that the user has explicitly stated and advertisers can just ignore it saying: "the user didn't specify DNT, they just happen to be using IE".


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