[FoRK] DNT: another example of "you can't make this shit up"

Koen Holtman k.holtman at chello.nl
Tue Oct 16 15:12:56 PDT 2012



On Mon, 15 Oct 2012, Stephen Williams wrote:
> Many types of web application implementation strategies would break without a 
> cookie to tie different web page submissions together.

Exactly.

If we do away with cookies, lots of things will break. One thing which 
will not break is the technical ability of web sites to do tracking. 
There are many ways to do tracking without cookies.  Plenty of entropy to 
go around.

If you want to really stop tracking there are two options

1) get into a technical arms race with the tracking web sites.  You do not 
need to outrun the bear, you just need to outrun most other people.

2) legislation, in particular legislation that is being enforced.

The nice thing about legislation is that it can forbid tracking *by any 
technical means* if certain conditions are met, e.g. if the user opts out, 
or if the user is in the EU and has not opted in.

Lobbyists understand this property of legislation very well.  So enormous 
energy is spent on arguing that This Legislation Does Not (Yet) Apply To 
My Client Because...

The skilful lobbyist will seek to incorporate some complex technical 
problem into the argument.  This tends to satisfy a lot of people, 
politicians and technologists alike.

The real problem is that legislation is not being enforced.  I am kind of 
waiting for a) massive EU fines or b) class action lawsuits in the US on 
behalf of people who were discriminated against by a pricing robot.

Koen.


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