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Draft Language on Interaction with Third-Party Content

From: Jonathan Mayer <jmayer@stanford.edu>
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 00:17:20 -0700
Message-Id: <2565E32F-AEF3-46F0-BFB0-E577BCD5D407@stanford.edu>
To: "public-tracking@w3.org Group WG" <public-tracking@w3.org>
(ACTION-21, ISSUE-88)

If third-party content is embedded on a first-party web page, the website providing the content MAY consider itself a first party for purposes of this standard, provided that:

1) The user interacts with the content.  Mousing over or closing content does not constitute interaction.

2) The average user is likely to understand, before the interaction, that he or she is interacting with the third party.  Style, branding, text content, and other cues may contribute to putting users on notice.

Example: Example Weather offers a generic weather widget that is embedded into websites, including Example News.  The widget contains small links to Example Weather's website and privacy policy.  A user visits Example News and scrolls through the weekly forecast in the Example Weather widget.

Discussion: Example Weather is a third party.  The user has interacted with Example Weather's widget, but has not been sufficiently notified that the widget is from Example Weather and not Example News.

Example: Example Social, a very popular social network, hosts a social sharing button that other websites can embed.  The button is colored and styled in the same fashion as Example Social's website, contains descriptive text that is specific to Example Social, includes Example Social's logo, and very frequently appears on Example Social's website.  Example News embeds the Example Social button, and a user clicks it.

Discussion: Example Social is a first party once the user clicks its embedded social sharing button.  The user has interacted with the button, and sufficient notice is provided by the button such that the average user is likely to understand that he or she interacting with Example Social.

Example: Example Aggregator, a social sharing aggregator, provides a social sharing widget which most users would perceive to be generic.  Example News embeds the Example Aggregator widget on its website.  When the user clicks the widget, a box appears that clearly explains that the widget is provided by Example Aggregator, and Example Aggregator will collect information about the widget's usage.  The user then clicks the close button on the widget.

Discussion: Example Aggregator is a third party.  When the user first clicks, the user has interacted with Example Aggregator's widget, but has not been sufficiently notified that the widget is from Example Aggregator.  When the user closes the widget, that does not constitute an interaction.  If the user had instead used the widget to share with his or her favorite social network, that would have constituted an interaction with adequate notice, and Example Aggregator would have been a first party.
Received on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 07:17:56 UTC

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