W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-tracking@w3.org > November 2012

Re: ISSUE-187 - some thoughts on using javascript

From: David Wainberg <david@networkadvertising.org>
Date: Fri, 09 Nov 2012 18:32:10 -0500
Message-ID: <509D927A.401@networkadvertising.org>
To: Shane Wiley <wileys@yahoo-inc.com>
CC: John Simpson <john@consumerwatchdog.org>, Walter van Holst <walter.van.holst@xs4all.nl>, "public-tracking@w3.org" <public-tracking@w3.org>
Shane beat me to it. But I'll add a couple of thoughts.

First, I'll note that the authors, strangely, focused on the 2000 NAI 
Code, which has since been superseded by an updated Code and associated 
policy. The current NAI Code is well-known in privacy circles and easily 
accessible on the NAI website. We do not know why the authors ignored it.

But that aside, even taking the survey at face value, note that, unlike 
TPWG's draft spec, the survey makes no distinction between 1st and 3rd 
parties. In the survey, the option chosen by the majority of respondents 
was, "Prevent websites from collecting information...." Because it uses 
the broad term, "websites," it's not in alignment with the spec we're 
developing. Our spec applies only to 3rd parties. It's fair to say users 
won't understand that distinction, and based on the language they were 
presented, would reasonably expect DNT to include the website they are 
visiting.

And who knows what "information" users had in mind when they said they 
wanted to prevent it from being collected. What was the concern they had 
in mind? DId the question elicit fears of identity theft or of 
government misuse or what? There are myriad privacy fears, real and 
imagined, that respondents may have had in mind. There's no way to know 
whether DNT would actually address those fears.

Even if you do find the survey credible, it's not useful as support for 
the direction the TPWG has taken, and in fact what you should probably 
conclude from the survey is that the TPWG may have it quite wrong.

-David

On 11/9/12 3:47 PM, Shane Wiley wrote:
>
> An interesting article discussing the lack of objectivity in the 
> research paper John just circulated:
>
>
>   /New Survey Shows Some Privacy Scholars Lack Objectivity/
>
> BYDANIEL CASTRO 
> <http://www.innovationfiles.org/author/danielcastro/>·OCTOBER 14, 2012
>
> URL: 
> http://www.innovationfiles.org/new-survey-shows-some-privacy-scholars-lack-objectivity/ 
>
>
> "Asurvey funded by Nokia 
> <http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2152135>and 
> conducted at the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology shows what has 
> become increasingly apparent to those who follow this line of 
> research: some of the most prominent academic researchers have ceased 
> to retain even a veneer of objectivity in their research on privacy. 
> The authors, Chris Hoofnagle, Jennifer Urban and Su Li, state that 
> their survey shows that "Americans have a low level of knowledge about 
> [Do Not Track], but prefer that it mean that websites do not collect 
> tracking data."
>
> I won't mince words here: this is shoddy research."
>
> /NOTE: Please follow the link above to read the rest of the article./
>
> *From:*John Simpson [mailto:john@consumerwatchdog.org]
> *Sent:* Friday, November 09, 2012 1:13 PM
> *To:* David Wainberg
> *Cc:* Walter van Holst; public-tracking@w3.org
> *Subject:* Re: ISSUE-187 - some thoughts on using javascript
>
> I've attached as a PDF file an interesting research paper from the 
> Berkeley Center for Law and Technology about what people expect from DNT.
>
> ----------
>
> John M. Simpson
>
> Consumer Advocate
>
> Consumer Watchdog
>
> 2701 Ocean Park Blvd., Suite 112
>
> Santa Monica, CA,90405
>
> Tel: 310-392-7041
>
> Cell: 310-292-1902
>
> www.ConsumerWatchdog.org <http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org>
>
> john@consumerwatchdog.org <mailto:john@consumerwatchdog.org>
>
> On Nov 9, 2012, at 9:59 AM, David Wainberg wrote:
>
>
>
> On 11/8/12 5:52 PM, Walter van Holst wrote:
>
>     On 11/8/12 9:17 PM, Vinay Goel wrote:
>
>         Hi Walter,
>
>           
>
>         I agree with you that the logical solution would be to store them together
>
>         in the UA preferences.  From what I understand, though, the major UAs
>
>         would likely not implement this, though.
>
>     I probably should have spotted that in the list archives before, but
>
>     have missed it. I cannot speek for the UAs, nonetheless all research on
>
>     user opinions on tracking suggests that they are much more inclined to
>
>     go for a all-out DNT:1 than for DNT:0, which makes me assume that any
>
>     exception mechanism is unlikely to be used often. Sadly not all research
>
>     in this field is publicly available, so we have to make do with what is.
>
> What credible research can you cite that /is/ publicly available? 
> Unfortunately we don't have much useful information on what users 
> really want, or would want if they properly understood the technology 
> and their choices. And it's certainly not very helpful to cite 
> research that isn't available.
>
> -David
>
Received on Friday, 9 November 2012 23:32:41 UTC

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