Flash cookies aren't the only way of circumventing users' ability to opt out of online tracking. Web publishers also can extract a host of information from users' browsers -- including operating systems, time zones, screen size, plug-ins installed and system fonts -- and can use that trove of data to create digital fingerprints. What's more, those fingerprints can be used to identify returning users even if they've deleted their cookies.
Behavioral targeting companies had better call their lawyers. Federal Trade Commission consumer protection head David Vladeck warned this morning that the commission is getting ready to go after online ad companies that try to get around consumers' decisions to avoid online ad targeting.
Earlier this month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg infamously said that Web users no longer cared about privacy. A new social norm had taken hold, he said. If he was going to launch Facebook again today, he would do so without the old settings that kept information hidden from outsiders. It was another big miscalculation for a company that has stumbled time and again on privacy.
One of the most vexing issues concerning online privacy is that consumers often have no way of knowing whether companies are honoring their promises. Web users can opt out of being tracked, or even delete their cookies, but in many cases they then simply trust that their choices are being respected. The problem is, that doesn't always happen.
Cable company Charter, which previously attempted to partner with behavioral advertising company NebuAd, still seems to want to enter the online ad business.
A judge in Chicago has thrown out a landlord's defamation lawsuit complaining about a disgruntled tenant's Twitter post. Judge Diane Larsen ruled that the alleged post -- "Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it's okay" -- was "nonactionable as a matter of law."
The Department of Justice agrees with the record labels that a $675,000 copyright judgment against file-sharing defendant Joel Tenenbaum poses no constitutional problems.
The Times Union will be able to resume blogging a capital murder trial under way in Florida, an appellate court said today in an emergency ruling.
Akamai has come out with yet another dismal report on the state of broadband in the U.S. Web users in the U.S. connected at an average speed of 3.9 Mpbs in the third quarter of last year -- slower than in 17 other countries. One year prior, the U.S. only lagged behind 16 other nations.
The Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality proposals aren't just triggering pushback by Internet service providers. Broadband and consumer groups also are alarmed by some of the fine print in the FCC's 107-page notice of rulemaking.