Free Cookies - Strings Attached

By Jon Fox
Consumer Advocate

In the early 19th century, savvy American bar owners offered a “free lunch” to draw patrons in for a drink. While many enjoyed washing down a free sandwich of cured meats with a beer, Americans quickly learned that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Today the global internet community is learning that lesson all over again: this time the price is corporate tracking of online activities and interests.

The price consumers pay to access most online content is the tracking of their every click on the World Wide Web by data miners and ad networks. Consumer and privacy advocates are seeking to address such online tracking through Do-Not-Track regulation.

Recently West Virginia’s Senator John D. Rockefeller, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee,  proposed the Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2013. The bill would require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to establish standards allowing internet users to set their web browsers to tell websites, advertising networks, data brokers and other online entities that they do not want to be tracked online for commercial data mining. The bill would also instruct the FTC to draft rules to enforce users’ requests to opt out of such tracking. The bill largely follows the recommendations of a recent FTC Report, which stated that the commission seeks “implementation of an easy-to-use, persistent, and effective Do Not Track system.”

Senator Rockefeller proposed a similar bill two years ago, yet did not pursue it after industry groups pledged to develop voluntarily mechanisms to honor user’s browser-based Do-Not-Track flags. Since then negations to set universal Do-Not-Track standards as part of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) fell through and little progress has been made towards self regulation. While some companies have decided to move ahead themselves, consensus and clarity around Do-Not-Track standards is still needed since the absence of network-wide standards on how to treat Do-Not-Track requests and what sort of behavior constitutes tracking, jeopardizes the effectiveness of all Do-Not-Track requests.

Despite the public’s desire to have more control over when and how their online activity is tracked, media and technology industry leaders have so far failed to reach agreement on establishing Do-Not-Track mechanisms. Indeed, some have even ratcheted up their opposition. Last month a leading industry lobbyist called Mozilla Firefox’s debut of its own browser-based Do-Not-Track control “a nuclear first strike” against his industry, even though Apple’s Safari browser has long had an even stronger Do-Not-Track mechanism in place.

It is time for lawmakers to debate and pass robust Do-Not-Track legislation to protect consumers. The Rockefeller proposal offers a good start toward that debate.

How we got here: Free cookies

Free services are a major driving force behind the world wide popularity of the Internet. From the beginning, Google, Facebook, and Twitter drew new customers in with their free offers, and users quickly signed up. Some internet services successfully transitioned to paid premium service packages once users familiarized themselves with the product, but those are the exception. For the most part, the core of the online experience is free. Or is it?

The answer to that question is in the details, or rather in the data. Terms of service agreements are written to make it seem like consumers willingly made a Faustian deal to enjoy all the internet has to offer for free and in return online companies monitor and track consumers online. For the most part tracking is done through browser cookies sent while the user is on a website and stored on their computer.

Cookies were originally designed to help websites “remember” us on our next visit, speeding up the browsing experience and making it more enjoyable. Since then tracking cookies, and especially third-party tracking cookies, have become more sophisticated and compile a record of individuals' browsing histories, online interactions, movements, and interests. Although services like Ghostery and DoNotTrackPlus reveal the long lists of third parties tracking you, most users have little idea that this monitoring is taking place in the background, and have even less control over what data is collected or how it is used.

Unknown third-party companies collect user data from tracking cookies and then sell it to other online businesses. This data is often used to provide consumers with a “tailored” web experience matching their interests and past behavior online. While most internet users are not familiar with the technical details, by now most aren’t surprised to see ads for sunscreen in their Gmail after receiving a hotel confirmation for a beach vacation.

We are told that targeted ads do no harm and allow us to continue to enjoy free online services. For most, a few “targeted” ads seem like a small price for all the awesomeness the internet has to offer. But as anybody who has one too many beers can tell you – there is no such thing as a free lunch.

The costs of a personalized web

We pay for targeted ads in various ways. First, companies pay millions to collect user information and then buy targeted ads, an expense that is ultimately passed on to consumers in higher prices. Second, basic economic principles dictate that consumers pay more when companies know more about how much they are willing to spend, past shopping behavior, and personal circumstances. While it seems logical that repeat customers should get better deals, on the web they often fair worse, based on the use of secret predictive profiles generated from your cookie crumbs. Tracking cookies allow online marketers to create “buckets” for customers meeting various criteria, offering each a different price for the same products.

The Wall Street Journal found that popular retailers, including Staples, Discover Financial Services, Rosetta Stone Inc. and Home Depot Inc., adjusted prices on product offers based on a range of characteristics that could be learned about the user. For example, if a man googles “last minute Valentines gift” and then reaches a florists’ website he may see different pricing than another who simply googled “florist delivery.” Online marketers can sniff out the desperation, and can adjust prices upwards for those rushing to save a relationship.

We are told that giving up a little bit of privacy is the only way users can continue to enjoy the level of internet services we are accustomed to. But online tracking isn’t done to create a better user experience: it is done for profit. The collection and sale of user data is a growing business, placing consumer privacy and finances at risk. Congress needs to act and pass robust Do Not Track legislation. Senator Rockefeller’s Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2013 is a good place to start. Yet whatever legislation is enacted should provide for both a consumer right of action and FTC enforcement powers to protect consumers.


Steemquaveatt xaikalitag itaxesseeluts - iziananatt agirtyMar Arristlot

Free services are a major driving force behind the world wide popularity of the Internet. From the beginning, Google, Facebook, and Twitter drew new customers in with their free offers, and users quickly signed up

Currently it looks like Wordpress is the top blogging platform available right now. (from what I've read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

Very informative post! There is a lot of information here that can help any business get started with a successful social networking campaign! |

That bill was one of the most talked topics of that time. more information make me aware of this.

The answer to that question is in the details, or rather in the data. Terms of service agreements are written to make it seem like consumers willingly made a Faustian deal to enjoy all the internet has to offer for free and in return online companies monitor and track consumers online. For the most kaminomoto serum penumbuh rambut kaminomoto hair growth accelarator harga crystal x original cream pembesar payudara herbal kitchen set minimalis murah frutablend obat herbal asli part tracking is done through browser cookies sent while the user is on a website and stored on their computer.

I'm extremely pleased to uncover this web site. I want to to thank you for ones time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you book-marked to look at new things on your website. produk kecantikan muka Minyak Bulus Perawatan Gigi Perawatan Rambut Kaminomoto

Your story is very impressive. So happy to find this post.

his is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the excellent work.
Litchfield Park Blinds

I just thought it may be an idea to post incase anyone else was having problems researching but I am a little unsure if I am allowed to put names and addresses on here.
Ahwatukee Blinds

The security systems offered by Simplisafe are extremely affordable and easy to use. You do not have to sign a contract to get a security system and Simplisafe is one of the top providers of security systems out there.... security website

Experience a tantalizing variety of wine clubs designed to suite every taste. Every month, our wine experts scour the globe in search of amazing wines to ship directly to our wine club members. Choose your club below to begin your Cellar's Wine Club journey! wine clubs

I am happy to read this nice and informative post.

Crystal X
Crystal X Asli
Efek Samping Crystal x

Having passed through this, we stand stronger in ourselves and are more whole. A nervous system upgrade (Reboot). Confidence through hard won experience. At last we are demonstrating that we are ready for the next stage in our development. how to fix my relationship

Allure: Michael Fiore Reveals His Ultra-Clever Online Tactics To Get Great Men Swarming To Your Online Profile Like Bees To Honey. Learn everything you need to know about the program so you can decide if the Online Allure is the right choice for you before you buy it...

Michael Fiore releases version 2.0 of his super popular Text Your Ex Back system and the gang over at the Text Your Ex Back Forum has you covered. Keep reading to get the scoop on the latest version of Mike's texting guide and learn how to get your ex back using text messages...

Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!
Download Game PC Ringan
Jual Gamis murah
Download Aplikasi Android
Download Game PC Ringan
Source Link

company website
Fantastic blog post. The post affects a lot of urgent challenges of our society. We can not be uninvolved to these challenges. This post gives good ideas and concepts. Very informative and practical.

ECOT Login is for your Login Questions. It seems like anytime you go online you need to login to a website and the process can often seem to be a huge mystery. When it comes to the login processes for your credit cards, bank accounts and favorite websites, the process should never be hard to figure out... ECOT Login

Undeniable Passion System: Joshua Rose Reveals His Triple Layer Approach For Seducing A Man And Making Him Desire You More Intensely With Each Passing Day...

Singapore online and retail shop selling wide range of sexy lingerie and corset for women. lingerie

90 Second Fat Loss: Greg Palumbo And Dr. Frank Lawlis Reveal A Cutting-Edge "90 Second Fat Burning Trick" That Drops Pounds And Inches From All Your Stubborn Trouble Spots Quickly, Easily, And Permanently...

Superhero Abs: Dennis Heenan Reveals His 51 Cutting-Edge, Zero-Equipment Ab Workouts That Use The Little Known "3 Pillar Ab Technique" To Give You Flat, Sexy Abs In Just 28 Short Days...

Unlock Her Legs: Bobby Rio And Rob Judge Reveal How To Use "The Scrambler" To Get That Smoking Hot Girl Everyone Has Their Eye On Flirting With You And Begging To Go Back To Your Place... rob judge unlock her legs review

Become a Donald Trump on a smaller scale. Just think, you can put your Deed on a plaque and hang it in your office or home. They make really unusual and unique gifts as well. And if you're looking for gifts "Made in America" this is it in the truest sense. unusual 50th wedding anniversary gift

All these new editions have one important fact in common. All have been produced, hand finished or hand aged by small family owned businesses in France, Belgium and Germany with focus on quality and authenticity rather then quantity. From 50 sq.ft. wine room remodels to luxury residences and commercial projects, Vintage Elements will offer the same quality service to all customers. With installation services, installation supervision and a range of finishing products we assure our customers that their project will be a success.antique french oak

MySetlist bridges the gap between what fans want to hear and what artists should play at concerts... Mysetlist

Lift Weights Faster: Jen Sinkler Reveals Her Breaks-All-The-Rules Workout Method For Burning Fat, Building Muscle, And Boosting Cardio Capacity At The Same Time...

Have you ever shame or firm because you are short than other friends? If you have done this experience, you may try height gain system that will make you taller than before. You can get higher with the method in 8 weeks and taller for 2-4 inches... more info

Electronic cigarette with the logic of running this new product for cigar lovers. appearance and size is the size of a cigar electronic cigar as you will quit smoking and cigar to enjoy. Liquid do not need to fill. You can only receive and draws. liquid has a pleasant taste of its own products... Elektronik Sigara

My betta fish store sells all types of beautiful betta fish such as halfmoon betta , halfmoon plakat (HMPK) betta , crowntail betta and double tails betta. Enjoy shopping and buy betta fish online here... betta fish

For a flat monthly fee, georgia legalshield plans offer a variety of legal services from a 'Closed' nationwide network of attorneys. Prices and coverage vary by state depending on the plan you select... georgia legalshield

Perfect Vision Today: Dr. Sen And Samantha Pearson Reveal A Breakthrough, Step-By-Step System To Achieve 20/20 Vision And Help Cure Myopia, Hyperopia, Presbyopia, And Most Other Visual Problems In As Little As 2 Weeks...

The Girlfriend Activation System is a step-by-step system on how to get a girlfriend that helps you make all the right moves at the right times in every phase of your relationship from meeting her, getting her number, sending her texts, going on dates, kissing her, having sex, and ultimately turning her into a loyal and committed girlfriend...

For a flat monthly fee, nevada legalshield plans offer a variety of legal services from a 'Closed' nationwide network of attorneys. Prices and coverage vary by state depending on the plan you select... nevada legalshield

Mobile spare parts, Alat Service Handphone, Computer, Gadget, Spare Parts HP, Alat Service HP, LCD China, Flexible & lots of electronics items.... found it here

Millionaire Magnet System: Adrian Adair Reveals His Simple, Rejection-Proof Attraction Formula For Meeting, Attracting, And Dating Super Successful (And Rich) Men... adrian adair millionaire magnet

Ejaculation Trainer: Matt Gorden Reveals His Step-By-Step "Ejaculatory Science" Techniques For Ending PE And Giving Your Woman An Unforgettable Sexual Experience Anytime, Anywhere...

Maximum Shred free trial is the most advanced, scientifically backed fat burning and muscle building supplement to date.Maximum shred free trial

You know Brain Abundance and its brain enhancement product Brain Fuel PLUS works for you. Since you have been using Brain Abundance, you have probably thought of a dozen people who could benefit from it too For more....... Learn more about our global brain abundance team

its really fantastic blog . its realy informational and a such a good job. i love this
Alexandria Animal Control

Written for consumers by a consumer, this site includes a fun and informative Potty Training In 3 Days review and buyers guide that provides an insider's look at the program and answers frequently asked questions about Carol Cline's unique and highly popular potty training system for boys and girls.... carol cline start potty training

Kabar Berita Harian Terkini di

Passionate decoration for many years, I put at your disposal all my skill to create an interior that suits you and in which you feel good ... decoration d'interieur montpellier

I would also motivate just about every person to save this web page for any favorite assistance to assist posted the appearance.

Keep up the fantastic work, I read few posts on this website and I think that your web blog is real interesting and has got circles of fantastic information.
rebel mouse

The Click Jacker is getting improved version by version. Therefore, you can absolutely trust on it regarding the increasing the traffic of your website. Click Jacker Plugin review

This is so beautiful and creative. I just love the colors and whoever gets it in the mail will be smiling.
linda allen yeast infection no more examples


Priority Action

Tell the CEO of Safeway: Stand with consumers and give us the right to know what's in our food. Label your store-brand products that contain GMOs.

Support Us

Your donation supports CALPIRG’s work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.

Consumer Alerts

Join our network and stay up to date on our campaigns, get important consumer updates and take action on critical issues.