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

Re: Deciding Exceptions (ISSUE-23, ISSUE-24, ISSUE-25, ISSUE-31, ISSUE-34, ISSUE-49)

From: Justin Brookman <justin@cdt.org>
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2012 17:46:54 -0500
Message-ID: <4F359E5E.9000002@cdt.org>
CC: "public-tracking@w3.org" <public-tracking@w3.org>
I understand the argument against prescriptive retention limitations.  
However, if you're saying that we have to rely on a vague standard of 
"data minimization" as interpreted by each individual company, that is a 
strong argument against very broad and not strictly necessary exceptions 
for collection (retention, whatever) in the first place, especially for 
categories for where there is no logical deletion point.  If the 
standard is just "reasonable data minimization," I would argue that 
"market research" and "product improvement" should not be recognized as 
exceptions, though I could see an argument for a narrower "debugging" 
exception.  However, "market research" and "product improvement" would 
still be allowed if they met the anonymized data exception.

Shane, apologies if this is rehashing arguments you've already had; this 
list is challenging to keep up with (even for editors).

Roy, deleting cookies is insufficient as it does not address 
non-cookie-based tracking technologies.

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

On 2/10/2012 5:04 PM, Marc Groman wrote:
> Justin,
> I understand the argument you are presenting and the concerns around 
> "broad buckets" but I simply don't understand how a Do Not Track 
> standard can possibly attempt to globally set specific data 
> minimization, data retention, and data deletion standards for all of 
> the players in this ecosystem.  I'm open to sitting down with you and 
> discussing this further.
> Marc
> ---
> *
> **Marc M. Groman
> *Network Advertising Initiative| Executive Director and General Counsel
> 1001 Connecticut Ave., Suite 705, Washington, DC 20036
> P: 202-835-9810| mgroman@networkadvertising.org 
> <mailto:mgroman@networkadvertising.org>
> On Feb 10, 2012, at 4:59 PM, Shane Wiley wrote:
>> Justin,
>> This comes to the topic of “retention” (not collection) and I’ve 
>> already stated on several email chains that we’re*more than willing 
>> to*(and already do)*comply with a data minimization standards*(versus 
>> arbitrary pan-global, pan industry, pan business model time frames).
>> - Shane
>> *From:*Justin Brookman [mailto:justin@cdt.org]
>> *Sent:*Friday, February 10, 2012 2:51 PM
>> *To:*public-tracking@w3.org <mailto:public-tracking@w3.org>
>> *Subject:*Re: Deciding Exceptions (ISSUE-23, ISSUE-24, ISSUE-25, 
>> ISSUE-31, ISSUE-34, ISSUE-49)
>> Shane,
>> The current industry standard allows third-party ad networks to 
>> collect and retain information for a few rather broad buckets of use, 
>> including "product development" and "market research," with no data 
>> deletion or minimization requirement once data qualifies for those 
>> buckets.  Are you saying that you're not willing to countenance a W3C 
>> standard that would narrow the permissible purposes for which data 
>> may be collected, or that would impose some data 
>> minimization/deletion requirement once the data had been collected 
>> for a permissible purpose (whether a hard limit or a more vague 
>> "reasonable data minimization" standard)?
>> 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  <mailto:justin@cdt.org>
>> http://www.cdt.org
>> @CenDemTech
>> @JustinBrookman
>> On 2/10/2012 2:26 PM, Shane Wiley wrote:
>> Jonathan,
>> I’m open to compromise but need to ensure the outcomes don’t levy 
>> significant cost and loss of revenue to the online advertising 
>> industry in the process (sincerely looking for the appropriate 
>> balance).  I offered that we start at “use-based limitations” for the 
>> MUST (yes, this means we need to trust good actors) and set new 
>> technology approaches as SHOULD.  I believe this is a reasonable 
>> compromise.  Yahoo! (and other industry participants) will 
>> immediately engage with you and others to begin the design process 
>> for privacy enhancing technologies to help bring these solutions to 
>> market in a measured and thoughtful manner – and in a way that all 
>> participants can easily upgrade their current efforts to embrace.  
>> Big picture: large companies and academia work together to develop 
>> the baseline tech and then provide this as open-source (for example, 
>> Apache) to mid-size and small companies.
>> Our companies are taking on all the cost and disruption the above 
>> entails – in light of consumer privacy risks that have never been 
>> proven to be real (yet –> understanding the “technically possible” 
>> angle) and are immediately addressing all of the issues surrounding 
>> cross-site profiling data collection and use.
>> How you do not see this as compromise is difficult for me to understand.
>> - Shane
>> *From:*Jonathan Mayer [mailto:jmayer@stanford.edu]
>> *Sent:*Friday, February 10, 2012 12:01 PM
>> *To:*Shane Wiley
>> *Cc:*Justin Brookman;public-tracking@w3.org 
>> <mailto:public-tracking@w3.org>
>> *Subject:*Re: Deciding Exceptions (ISSUE-23, ISSUE-24, ISSUE-25, 
>> ISSUE-31, ISSUE-34, ISSUE-49)
>> Shane,
>> Your objections in response to this proposal (and earlier discussions 
>> of privacy-preserving technology) suggest that you will not accept 
>> *any* deviation from current data collection practices.  That's not 
>> compromise.
>> Jonathan
>> On Feb 10, 2012, at 10:56 AM, Shane Wiley wrote:
>> Jonathan,
>> I appreciate and respect the desire to find a technical solution to 
>> online identifiers and identification at a rapid clip.  These 
>> concepts and their related implementations require much deeper 
>> thought, discussion, design, and ultimately consensus.  Your current 
>> proposal (on its surface) would be impossible to achieve at our scale 
>> in just 6 months – and would completely halt/disrupt the established 
>> product roadmap for our ad products (which are working hard to be 
>> competitive and keep our systems evolving with the marketplace).  It 
>> would literally take a year or two to go in this direction if we even 
>> agreed this was an appropriate outcome - which I believe it is not at 
>> this time but am more than willing to keep the conversation going in 
>> a different forum.  It’s my opinion that the DNT WG is NOT the 
>> appropriate forum to determine what is appropriate for online 
>> identifiers and identification (much more involved effort than this 
>> isolated conversation).
>> - Shane
>> *From:*Jonathan Robert Mayer [mailto:jmayer@stanford.edu]
>> *Sent:*Friday, February 10, 2012 11:48 AM
>> *To:*Shane Wiley
>> *Cc:*Justin Brookman;public-tracking@w3.org 
>> <mailto:public-tracking@w3.org>
>> *Subject:*Re: Deciding Exceptions (ISSUE-23, ISSUE-24, ISSUE-25, 
>> ISSUE-31, ISSUE-34, ISSUE-49)
>> Whatever the difficulty of implementation, I understand it won't 
>> happen overnight. How about if we provide a short-term 
>> grandfathering-in period? For example, six months where frequency 
>> capping etc. can still be accomplished with an ID cookie?
>> Jonathan
>> On Feb 10, 2012, at 10:29 AM, Shane Wiley <wileys@yahoo-inc.com 
>> <mailto:wileys@yahoo-inc.com>> wrote:
>>     Jonathan,
>>     Moving an entire architecture that is cookie based to one that is
>>     IP + User Agent based is not trivial and would require changes at
>>     all tiers (hosting servers, operational servers, data warehousing
>>     systems, reporting, security, all scripts and coding logic for
>>     system interoperability, etc.).  When I quoted the timelines I
>>     was being serious.  It’s a significant and fundamental change
>>     across the board.  And while some ad networks may use protocol
>>     information for “operational uses” they probably also use
>>     cookies.  So removing cookies from the equation would have
>>     significant issues for them as well – again, across the board.
>>     I don’t believe I’m “over estimating” the effort for effect.
>>     Side Note 1:  I believe there is another Working Group focused on
>>     Online Identity (perhaps not W3C though – I’ll try to track this
>>     down).  I mention this as it goes back to my earlier comments on
>>     not attempting to solve all online privacy issues in a single
>>     working group.  It’s unfortunate the charter of this working
>>     group has been so broadly interpreted by some as that appears to
>>     be where much of the churn is in our efforts.  If our focused was
>>     constrained to “profiling” and uses of “profiling”, I believe
>>     we’d be MUCH further along.
>>     Side Note 2:  I believe the truth of our current situation is
>>     somewhere between Mike’s email and that our disagreements are
>>     localized to just a few issues (as you’ve stated).  The
>>     operational purpose exceptions and implementation cost are so
>>     core to the discussion (and the on-going ability for many web
>>     based companies to monetize their efforts) AND appear to be
>>     incredibly divisive as to render our progress halted at this time
>>     (akin to “going in circles” versus making incremental steps
>>     forward).  Purely my opinion…
>>     - Shane
>>     *From:*Jonathan Mayer [mailto:jmayer@stanford.edu]
>>     *Sent:*Friday, February 10, 2012 10:46 AM
>>     *To:*Shane Wiley
>>     *Cc:*Justin Brookman;public-tracking@w3.org
>>     <mailto:public-tracking@w3.org>
>>     *Subject:*Re: Deciding Exceptions (ISSUE-23, ISSUE-24, ISSUE-25,
>>     ISSUE-31, ISSUE-34, ISSUE-49)
>>     Shane,
>>     Could you give a bit more explanation of how this would "require
>>     massive re-architecture of most internal systems"?  As I
>>     understand it, some advertising networks already use protocol
>>     information for "operational uses."  For those companies that
>>     don't, a quick implementation would be to just hash IP address +
>>     User-Agent string and treat that as an identifier.  I don't mean
>>     to excessively trivialize the implementation burden, but it seems
>>     to me much lesser than other alternatives on the table (save, of
>>     course, business as usual).
>>     As for objections to fingerprinting, I want to be clear that the
>>     idea I'm floating is passive fingerprinting, not active
>>     fingerprinting.  Passive fingerprinting leverages information
>>     that we would already allow companies to collect—no more.
>>     Jonathan
>>     On Feb 10, 2012, at 9:34 AM, Shane Wiley wrote:
>>     Jonathan,
>>     I believe this could be a “SHOULD” goal because of two core factors:
>>     1.This approach will require massive re-architecture of most
>>     internal systems (several year effort for a large company –
>>     months to years for mid-size companies – may be too complex for
>>     small companies until native platforms come built with this and
>>     they can upgrade), and
>>     2.There are perhaps larger privacy issues here with the use of
>>     Digital Fingerprints.  Some advocates (you don’t appear to be
>>     with them) believe that a cookie is a better tool than a Digital
>>     Fingerprint as consumers have control of cookies – whereas with a
>>     Digital Fingerprint they do not (at least not in a simple, native
>>     tool perspective).  I’m personally on the side of Cookies as I
>>     believe the control factor and the wealth of automated tools for
>>     blocking and purging them is a better outcome for consumers than
>>     are Digital Fingerprints.
>>     Side Note:  Digital Fingerprints are argued by some vendors to be
>>     far more effective for tracking due to the lack of consumer
>>     control and the realities of cookie churn.
>>     - Shane
>>     *From:*Jonathan Mayer [mailto:jmayer@stanford.edu]
>>     *Sent:*Friday, February 10, 2012 10:16 AM
>>     *To:*Justin Brookman
>>     *Cc:*public-tracking@w3.org <mailto:public-tracking@w3.org>
>>     *Subject:*Re: Deciding Exceptions (ISSUE-23, ISSUE-24, ISSUE-25,
>>     ISSUE-31, ISSUE-34, ISSUE-49)
>>     Thinking more about tracking through IP address + User-Agent
>>     string, it occurs to me that the greatest challenges are
>>     stability over time and across locations.  For some of the
>>     "operational uses" we have discussed, time- and geography-
>>     limited tracking may be adequate.  Scoping the "operational use"
>>     exceptions to protocol data would somewhat accommodate those uses
>>     without allowing for new data collection, and it would be easier
>>     to implement than a client-side privacy-preserving technology.
>>      Thoughts on whether this is a possible new direction for compromise?
>>     Jonathan
>>     On Feb 10, 2012, at 8:30 AM, Jonathan Mayer wrote:
>>     Justin,
>>     I think you may be misreading the state of research on tracking
>>     through IP address + User-Agent string.  There is substantial
>>     evidence that some browsers can be tracked in that way some of
>>     the time.  I am not aware of any study that compares the global
>>     effectiveness of tracking through IP address + User-Agent string
>>     vs. an ID cookie; intuitively, the ID cookie should be far more
>>     effective.  The news story you cite glosses over important
>>     caveats in that paper's methodology; it is certainly not the case
>>     that "62% of the time, HTTP user-agent information alone can
>>     accurately tag a host."
>>     Jonathan
>>     On Feb 9, 2012, at 6:48 PM, Justin Brookman wrote:
>>     Sure.  As the spec current reads, third-party ad networks are
>>     allowed to serve contextual ads on sites even when DNT:1 is on,
>>     yes?  In order to do this, they're going to get log data, user
>>     agent string, device info, IP address, referrer url, etc.  There
>>     is growing recognition that that information in and of itself can
>>     be used to uniquely identify devices over time
>>     (http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/020212-microsoft-anonymous-255667.html)
>>     for profiling purposes.  It was my understanding that one of the
>>     primary arguments against allowing third parties to place unique
>>     identifiers on the client was because of the concern that they
>>     were going to be secretly tracking and building profiles using
>>     those cookies.  My point is that they will be able to do that
>>     regardless, with little external ability to audit.  This system
>>     is going to rely to some extent on trust unless we are proposing
>>     to fundamentally rearchitecture the web.
>>     The other argument that I've heard against using unique cookies
>>     for this purpose is valid, though to me less compelling: that
>>     even if just used for frequency capping, third parties are going
>>     to be able to amass data about the types of ads a device sees,
>>     from which you could surmise general information about the sites
>>     visited on that device (e.g., you are frequency capping a bunch
>>     of sports ads --> ergo, the operator of that device probably
>>     visiting sports pages).  Everyone seems to agree that it would be
>>     improper for a company to use this information to profile
>>     (meta-profile?), but there are still concerns about data breach,
>>     illegitimate access, and government access of this potentially
>>     revealing information.  This concerns me too, but the shadow of
>>     my .url stream is to me considerably less privacy sensitive than
>>     my actual .url stream.  I could be willing to compromise on a
>>     solution that allowed for using cookies for frequency capping, if
>>     there was agreement on limiting to reasonable campaign length,
>>     rules against repurposing, and a requirement to make an
>>     accountable statement of adherence to the standard.  I would be
>>     interested to hear if it would be feasible to not register
>>     frequency caps for ads for sensitive categories of information
>>     (or if at all, cap client-side), though again, it's important to
>>     keep in mind that that data may well be collected and retained
>>     for other excepted purposes under the standard (e.g., fraud
>>     prevention) --- cookie or not.
>>     ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>     *From:*Jonathan Mayer [mailto:jmayer@stanford.edu]
>>     *To:*Justin Brookman [mailto:justin@cdt.org]
>>     *Cc:*public-tracking@w3.org <mailto:public-tracking@w3.org>
>>     *Sent:*Thu, 09 Feb 2012 18:32:19 -0500
>>     *Subject:*Re: Deciding Exceptions (ISSUE-23, ISSUE-24, ISSUE-25,
>>     ISSUE-31, ISSUE-34, ISSUE-49)
>>     Justin, could you explain what you mean here?
>>     Thanks,
>>     Jonathan
>>     On Feb 9, 2012, at 3:17 PM, Justin Brookman wrote:
>>     > the standard currently recognizes that third parties are
>>     frequently going to be allowed to obtain uniquely-identifying
>>     user agent strings despite the presence of a DNT:1 header
Received on Friday, 10 February 2012 22:47:25 UTC

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