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

Re: ISSUE-28: MRC presentation

From: Joseph Lorenzo Hall <joe@cdt.org>
Date: Fri, 02 Nov 2012 12:13:33 -0400
Message-ID: <5093F12D.4020202@cdt.org>
To: Shane Wiley <wileys@yahoo-inc.com>
CC: Walter van Holst <walter.van.holst@xs4all.nl>, "public-tracking@w3.org" <public-tracking@w3.org>

On 11/2/12 11:53 AM, Shane Wiley wrote:
> While you may personally believe in your definition of privacy as a fundamental human right, the force of law and generally accepted practices in society may not perfectly align with your vision (one of the reasons your participate in these forums would be my assumption).  So while it's your personal perspective, we're equally interested to understand "harms" from others in the group and how these equate to a real-world impact (rather than an impact on your perception of a human right).  I don't disagree with your position but rather I hope we can document harms outside of that singular perception.

Even from a US perspective, I don't think "harms" is quite right. It's 
more about effective avenues for consumer choice.

What motivates me to want a good DNT spec is that consumers seem to not 
understand what data collection is going on, they feel particularly 
negative about this collection but they also express a desire to have 
some benefits of targeting, behavioral or not.

(OMG, if you've watched the Weather Channel in the US lately, someone 
really needs to explain to them the concept of frequency capping (which 
may be irrelevant for niche broadcast media)... I would pay money to not 
see a few specific Nationwide Insurance ads for a very long time.)

The fact is that users in web interactions emit tons of signals that 
they aren't aware of, and probably couldn't be made to understand and be 
aware of (much less care about) without significant effort. There is not 
much of a "What if DNT breaks down?" case to be made for 
users/consumers... while I can teach users how to use certain kinds of 
plugins and such to limit what they emit, there are increasingly clever 
methods of browser fingerprinting and even microfingerprinting (e.g., 
using characteristics of computation to identify a device, browser 
instance, etc.).

So a useful and robust DNT mechanism with an exception dialog that 
parties can use to begin the conversation of "how this benefits you" 
seems crucial. The only other ways to do these things seem particularly 
extreme, at least for the US (legislation, regulation, boycotting web 
interactions, only using TorBrowser, etc.).

best, Joe

Joseph Lorenzo Hall
Senior Staff Technologist
Center for Democracy & Technology
1634 I ST NW STE 1100
Washington DC 20006-4011
(p) 202-407-8825
(f) 202-637-0968
Received on Friday, 2 November 2012 16:14:02 UTC

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