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

Re: explicit-explicit exception pairs

From: Rigo Wenning <rigo@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 04 May 2012 09:30:35 +0200
To: Shane Wiley <wileys@yahoo-inc.com>
Cc: Kevin Smith <kevsmith@adobe.com>, Matthias Schunter <mts-std@schunter.org>, Jonathan Mayer <jmayer@stanford.edu>, "ifette@google.com" <ifette@google.com>, Nicholas Doty <npdoty@w3.org>, "public-tracking@w3.org" <public-tracking@w3.org>
Message-ID: <2264891.gOicDGI9P5@hegel.sophia.w3.org>

lets imagine a site A uses services of P1, P2 and P3. My browser hits the 
site A and realizes that it has a web - wide exception DNT;0 for P3. It 
sends DNT;0 in GET requests to P3. This is what You have been pursuing since 
quite a while now. Correct me, if the above is wrong.

Nick and Tom present a javascript API allowing my browser to discover that 
site A is using services P1,P2 and P3. The API would allow the browser to 
get an exception from the user for either  P1,P2 or P3. 

Ian and You tell me that we can not distinguish between P1,P2 and P3 because 
it is too burdensome. Now let's come back to that cake. Either you can have 
a web-wide exception and distinguish between P1,P2 and P3. In this case you 
would also distinguish between P1,P2 and P3 in the javascript API. Or you 
can't have a web-wide exception as it is too burdensome to distinguish 
between P1,P2 and P3. In this case, the javascript API will only recognize 
"*" as "all the third parties of site A. But it looks surprising to defend 
that in one situation the browser can distinguish parties and in the other 
it can't. Which brings us back to the cake.

In the meantime, having "*" as the only possible expression damages the 
consent mechanism. While in the common-law context, rather unclear and open 
terms by parties are accepted for "agreements" and while it is accepted to 
figure out later what the content of the agreement actually is, this is not 
allowed in most other legal systems. This is why all the software bags that 
are so nicely decorated with 3point font artwork do not have any legal 
meaning in e.g. french or german law. Because all the nice clauses have no 
"object". It has no object because the content of the agreement can't be 
determined at agreement time. Legal spoken, "*" is a blank check to the site 
A. The user hitting site A has "*", but no information. Even if -in 
extremis- we would assume a consent, such a consent would not be "informed" 
as "*" has a non discoverable meaning. Because only site A knows what "*" 
means. The user can't know. And the user can't consent to things she doesn't 

Consequently, avoiding explicit/explicit gives 3rd parties some bundling-
gains at the edge but introduces a logic break and damages the consent 
mechanism. The latter has IMHO a much higher value than the little bundling 
gains as it allows to communicate with the user to get an exception.



On Thursday 03 May 2012 13:27:17 Shane Wiley wrote:
> Rigo,
> Disagree on granularity.  If I say "the 3rd parties I work with = '*' "
> then it is defined and consent has been reached.
> - Shane
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rigo Wenning [mailto:rigo@w3.org]
> Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2012 1:26 PM
> To: Shane Wiley
> Cc: Kevin Smith; Matthias Schunter; Jonathan Mayer; ifette@google.com;
> Nicholas Doty; public-tracking@w3.org Subject: Re: explicit-explicit
> exception pairs
> Shane,
> I'm surprised to hear that from you because in order to get a web-wide or
> even a site-wide exception, you need this granularity anyway. I also not
> that a consent mechanism could not work that way as the object of the
> consent would be open ended and thus undefined. If you only say * and
> don't tell what it means, there can't be any consent or agreement.
> Best,
> Rigo
> On Thursday 03 May 2012 10:44:34 Shane Wiley wrote:
> > I know we're not supposed to add "+1" but I do want to pile on a bit
> > here
> > to support Kevin and Ian in that I can't see the value in overloading
> > the
> > standard to add such a high-level of complexity to meet a very small
> > percentage of likely use cases.
> > 
> > From a web browser vendor perspective, this is going to become fairly
> > complex quickly and will likely deter all but the most advanced users
> > attempting to manage preferences at this level of granularity.  Those
> > very same users are probably savvy enough to simply reset or block 3rd
> > party cookies already -- AND/OR -- go into "Privacy Mode" in their
> > browser -- AND/OR -- leverage 3rd party tools that already solve much
> > (all?) that is attempting to be solved here.
> > 
> > From a publisher perspective, attempting to support a static list of
> > known 3rd parties is going to be significantly difficult to impossible.
> >  And the rate of change will require continuous repermissioning of
> > users to gain a "user granted exception".  I understand there are a
> > very small sub-set of publishers that could find value in the
> > origin/origin approach, but appears this weight comes to bear on larger
> > publishers to some degree -- all depending on how the UA UI is built
> > (which as we've already discussed is going to be fairly complex).
> > 
> > - Shane
Received on Friday, 4 May 2012 07:31:14 UTC

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