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TPAC breakout session - Is user agent Fingerprinting a lost cause?

From: Mike O'Neill <michael.oneill@baycloud.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2012 22:04:48 +0100
To: <public-privacy@w3.org>
Message-ID: <078f01cdb22b$34239f20$9c6add60$@baycloud.com>
David,

I assume it should have been is "is trying to stop user-agent fingerprinting
a lost cause?". 

I agree what you say about DNT, but I think browsers could take a more
authoritarian role, and help ensure what users want in terms of privacy. If
users specify a DNT preference why not enable features that inhibit
fingerprinting, block 3rd party cookies etc. It would not be an endless quid
pro quo because it would quickly become uneconomic for most of the bad
actors to continue.

Mike

-----Original Message-----
From: David Singer [mailto:singer@apple.com] 
Sent: 24 October 2012 19:01
To: public-privacy@w3.org
Subject: Re: TPAC breakout session - Is user agent Fingerprinting a lost
cause?

I would like to think that fingerprinting is un-needed.  One of the reasons
I like the DNT approach is that it is, ideally, consensus-based on both
sides. The alternative is the mutually hostile measure-counter-measure, at
the end of which, no-one wins.

Examples: 
* if we block cookies, the sites find other ways to 'tag' us -- like
fingerprints. So then we try to reduce the fingerprint surface. And so on.
* if we block 'known trackers', probably by host address, then the sites
would probably start cycling their DNS, or masquerading under the name of a
legitimate non-tracking entity (e.g. the first party), and so on.

If a site wants to 'tag' me, I want it consensual and evident; cookies are
much more evident than a fingerprint I cannot see.

So, reacting to the thread title:  what was the 'cause' that fingerprint was
on, that might now be 'lost'?

David Singer
Multimedia and Software Standards, Apple Inc.
Received on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 21:05:39 GMT

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