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Re: tracking-ISSUE-150: DNT conflicts from multiple user agents [Tracking Definitions and Compliance]

From: Justin Brookman <justin@cdt.org>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2012 18:16:38 -0400
Message-ID: <4FC69C46.80007@cdt.org>
To: public-tracking@w3.org
What problem?  You honor the header by doing what the spec says.  There 
is no need for you to try to discern user intent, and indeed, no way for 
you to do so.  Ad networks cannot be and are not expected to be 
responsible for every UI or every possible bit of misinformation someone 
saw in a comment thread on Reddit to get them to turn on DNT in the 
first place.

Today, if someone sets their browser to block third-party cookies, you 
don't try to circumvent that on the theory that someone maybe didn't 
understand what cookies did in the first place.  Nor do we dictate to 
the user agents how and when to surface and describe those capabilities.

If there are conflicting headers, that's a different issue, and Ian and 
Jonathan are putting together draft text on that issue.

Justin Brookman
Director, Consumer Privacy
Center for Democracy&  Technology
1634 I Street NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20006
tel 202.407.8812
fax 202.637.0969
justin@cdt.org
http://www.cdt.org
@CenDemTech
@JustinBrookman


On 5/30/2012 3:34 PM, Chris Mejia wrote:
> I believe new Issue-150 is closely related to open Issue-143. If the 
> user's intent in turning on/off DNT is not clear (especially in cases 
> where the user doesn't even know they are specifically sending a DNT:1 
> header), there is no way for publishers to understand how to 
> accurately "honor" any consumer's DNT header flagó _it's a fundamental 
> flaw with this scope of this proceeding_.  I laid out the concern in 
> some detail in my previous email to the group ("In Support of 
> Issue-143"); so I'll just give the brief version here: if publishers 
> do not understand the context of the user's DNT expression (was the 
> user properly informed about what setting does/means, before it was 
> set) how are publishers to determine what the user actually intended, 
> or if they user is even aware that a DNT flag is being sent?  If any 
> question/statement in any UI can lead to the sending of DNT:1 or 
> DNT:0, where is the integrity of the system/solution?
>
> To give just one example (there are many) of how a DNT mechanism that 
> lacks a uniform informed consent requirement might be abused, consider 
> the theoretical yet plausible scenario where an email is sent to 
> (millions of) users informing the users that they should "/click here 
> to prevent evil doers from knowing who you are/" or even worse, 
> "/click here if you think blue is a pretty color/" (replace with a 
> variety of malware tactics), the user's click leading to a programatic 
> setting of DNT, without the user's informed consent under uniform 
> compliance rules.  When that happens (some zealot decides to abuse the 
> system), I'm sure we'll eventually learn about it, after some amount 
> of damage being done.
>
> *When it becomes known that users were deceived into sending a DNT 
> expression (no uniform informed consent), here's what the end-game of 
> publishers might be: * without a way of discerning how DNT was set 
> (which program; who owns the program; being able to inspect the 
> program), and under which auspices it was set (what did the user agree 
> to when they clicked?), when learning of a set of users who were 
> deceived into setting DNT, publishers may be forced to consider if 
> they should honor any DNT header requests at all, in an effort to 
> protect the web experience of all users.  Under this scenario, 
> publishers may be compelled to issue public statements outlining the 
> fatal flaws of this W3C DNT mechanism, citing the specific abuses, and 
> walking away from compliance on the grounds that being "compliant" 
> with such a system would be harmful to the majority of its users.
>
> Is that really the result that this working group is looking for?  If 
> not, I strongly suggest that we all get on board with defining a 
> system where the actual intent of the user is absolutely clearó the 
> only way I can think to accomplish this is to require compliance with 
> a uniform requirement to properly educate/inform the user about their 
> choice, at the point user choice is made.  Of course I'm open to 
> hearing other suggestions for solving this problem, but I feel that 
> "/it's out of scope/Charter for this project/" is not an acceptable 
> solutionó that answer does not solve the problem described here and in 
> open Issue-143.  Please, let's solve the actual problem.
>
> Chris Mejia, IAB/DAA
>
>
> On 5/30/12 1:35 PM, "Tracking Protection Working Group Issue Tracker" 
> <sysbot+tracker@w3.org <mailto:sysbot+tracker@w3.org>> wrote:
>
>     tracking-ISSUE-150: DNT conflicts from multiple user agents
>     [Tracking Definitions and Compliance]
>
>     http://www.w3.org/2011/tracking-protection/track/issues/150
>
>     Raised by: Aleecia McDonald
>     On product: Tracking Definitions and Compliance
>
>     Due to multiple addons that support Do Not Track, there could be
>     conflicts. For example, a user could turn off DNT (not unset,
>     actually off, sending DNT:0) in Firefox, yet install Abine's "Do
>     Not Track Plus" addon (which sends DNT:1). More fun, users could
>     have three different addons, each with a different value. Do we
>     have either best practices or requirements for user agents here?
>
>     Created from original issue-148, with actions taken by ifette and
>     jmayer to write proposals.
>
>
>
>
Received on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 22:17:10 UTC

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