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I asked an online tracking company for all of my data (privacyinternational.org)
65 points by kawera 74 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 15 comments

> Some of the categories that I have been placed in are uncannily specific.

> the data broker Acxiom even placed me in a category called “Alcohol at Home Heavy Spenders” (was it because I went shopping for a birthday party at home?), and a company called Affinity Answers thinks I have a social affinity with the consumer “Baby Nappies & Wipes” (very, very wrong).

We tried a few of these services that match site visitors to segments/categories at my prior job. None of them worked all that well. I suspect part of the issue is that their customers ask them to create highly specific segments that aren't possible to infer about people, at least not without a huge amount of noise.

If they even get one long tail advertisement right, it's a win for them.

I am a bit disappointed that the article does not detail out, how the data was requested. I am pretty sure that when you ask "Give me all data about me <name>" that the response will be "We have not filed any data under <name>". I'd be interested in doing the same with Facebook and Google (I don't have accounts for both) but I am pretty sure that I get stonewalled. I thought about asking for the data associated with the tracking cookies they set, but I am not sure whether this works.

Don’t you get exactly this data with some clicks through GDPR at Google and Facebook?

I don't have an account on either. At least with Google I can't get any data without an account.

This is supposed to be the request form https://www.quantcast.com/privacy/data-subject-rights/ However, I'm getting:

> We are unable to find a Quantcast measurement cookie on your browser and therefore will be unable to identify any data in our systems or process any request for data access or deletion.

I didn't get anything at all on the page until I disabled uBlock. Then I refreshed and got the same message you got.

I'm curious if these types of firms use other data (browser profile? IP address?) to link data into a single profile across multiple browser sessions.

For example, if I wasn't blocking ads/scripts but I still had cookies set to clear on browser exit, would their gathered data only apply to that session or get added to some overarching profile of me as a user?

I'm less concerned about ads being tailored to things I did in the current session and more concerned about the longer-lasting profiles built up over time by credit card use, browsing history, and other data points. Seems like more potential for abuse than if they're depending on something as short-lived as a tracking cookie.

It is new normal, just lock your doors if you want some privacy:

- Safari is ahead of the pack with its ITP 2.

- ad blocker extension is a must

- private browsing windows gets rid you of tracking cookies (incognito in Chrome, but Chrome is made by an Ad company .. :)

- VPN hides your IP

The EU passed a law to limit tracking like this, and these companies are in breach according to PI, so "just" starting the process to enforce that law is a much better step.

Sure, pushing for new laws is very important, but in meantime, have some easy protections.

I think restricting by law their core business model would be not an easy task, it is life or death question for tracking companies like this and FB/Google.


Sometimes locking your doors isn't enough.

And you need to be careful about your VPN. Make sure it's in an area that doesn't have an agreement with the NSA, and even then you still need to be very careful.

What ad blocked do you use in Safari? I used to use the port of uBlock origin but Safari removed it

I'm still having broken uBO v16, you can force install it from gallery, with ka-block as a second.

For iOS Safari, if you install Firefox Focus, you can enable its blocker in Safari. Plus Ka-block

google chrome drops cookies that you cannot clear with recent updates

also in Chrome it's not possible to block things like sending URLs back to base for safebrowsing (like Firefox)

The consent dark pattern is an abomination, and IMO blatently unlawful under GDPR. Which is why it's so important to raise it with the data protection authorities. I hope they come down hard on this issue.

I've donated to Privacy International, if there are any similar entities, please let me know.

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