It's hilarious how everyone has just forgotten that used to be a thing. The people on this website are literally the problem, you can't even conceive of a website that doesn't track every click you make across the whole internet, and you guys are the people building the new web.
Do you think TV adverts are placed randomly? They aren't. Different times of day have different value to different advertisers. TV ads are targeted based on detailed knowledge of audience demographics.
Do you think billboard ads are placed randomly? They aren't. Their placement is optimised based on the beliefs of the ad firms about who will drive past them or see them.
Do you think internet ads were placed randomly before AdSense? No, they were targeted by rough demographic guessed from the sites content just like TV and billboard ads were.
All that's changed on the internet is that targeted has got more precise and more sophisticated. But there's no bright line separating "generic" from "targeted" ads, like you imagine. And the better targeting is hardly an optional feature like the DPAs seem to imagine. It increases revenues which enables firms to provide new content and new features. Roll back the web to 1990s era ad techniques and now all the ads on generic sites like news or search with no clearly defined audience will be barrel-scraping "punch the monkey" animations, for those of us who remember that stuff.
Facebook is a great example on keeping diluting these concepts. They ask for your information for function security purposes and then go back and use that same data for ads - that is unethical and has to stop.
If the user is not getting something out of it (besides the generic "access to my website") then presumptively don't do it. GDPR is literally as easy as that.
GDPR understands full well that you need session cookies to provide a shopping cart or user account. That's why there's specific exemptions for it.
Ads were always a thing, they're just going to be better targeted with more info.
There is no free lunch, so what this means is the 'no cookie' users may be exposed to more ads.
I understand the market dynamics are not working very well, but we have to remember that information provided is not free either.
Companies are not trying to 'do inherent evil' - they just want to show relevant ads. And by the way, consumers definitely appreciate the relevance.
There is another side to the equation, and there are economic consequences to all of this that will come home to root.
Personally, I loathe Facebook and don't use it for personal reasons, but I have a small business and it's the only advertising mechanism that works for us: we have a neat little product for a niche category.
There are entire economies that can only exist with the ability to effectively get the word out, there is tremendous social good in this.
We just have to figure out a way to do it that fits within reasonable privacy guidelines.
What is not allowed is to withdraw services to those that want to exercise their right to privacy.
This is like a government saying to a restaurant "You can't discriminate against people who don't want to pay you money for the food. You can ask them if they are willing to give you money for the sandwich, but if they say no, you still have to give them the sandwich"
It’s more like the government saying, you can’t discriminate against people who demand that their food is cooked in a kitchen that isn’t filled with cockroaches. It’s going to hurt the bottom line, and might kill some businesses, but it doesn’t reduce to a prohibition on making money.
What?! Are you seriously speaking of prohibiting cockroaches?
Cockroaches are everywhere! They are essential to survival of businesses! And it would be impossible to completely get rid of them anyway. Prohibiting cockroaches in public restaurants would push immense cost upon eaters. Without cockroaches how could we possibly get rid of the food waste, that routinely accumulates in kitchens? Do you expect us to spray our kitchens with toxic pesticides? To hire some specialized people of to lick food scraps off kitchen stoves with their bare tongues?? Insane!
Clearly, you are the enemy of the people.
To me it sounds very sensible to make such a business practice illegal.
You're right, it's the currency now. It would be great if it wasn't. If there was some way to force the industry to come up with new, non-privacy-invasive methods... Hey maybe if we made a law to ban the old, bad, way....
Advertisers will still pay for ads even without the tracking.
Are there other examples?
Disclaimer: I'm not saying I agree with any of this. Nor that any of this is truth in any way. I just view the governments involvement here, saying how ad companies can behave, to be similar. Whether that is good or bad is complicated, and out of the scope of this conversation.
In essence, GDPR states that you're not allowed to violate the privacy of people unless they really want to (freely given, informed, narrow/specific opt-in consent) - and this time, all the oft-used loopholes to "extract consent" don't really fulfil the criteria, as forced consent is not considered consent.
My stance is even more ridiculous: Deadbeats who can't afford hosting without begging, selling ads, or turning against their users, scale your site down to something that's cheap to host, or get the hell off the internet. Back to the amateur web of the 90s. It was fine.
Shouldn't people be able to choose what currency they want to pay for something in?
Thats a very libertarian position statement and I understand it. But the EU is much less capitalist/libertarian than you are. Their parliament made the call that they don't want people paying for services with their personal data.
There's valid arguments on both sides here. Some arguments supporting the EU's stance:
- If online newspapers get paid in proportion to views, they make more money by writing divisive clickbait
- Privacy is a fundamental right; not a currency. Treating it as currency means only wealthy people will be free from spying, and that is borderline dystopian.
The EU's document is "Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European_Union", which does grant privacy as one. That pretty clearly does make it a "fundamental right".
Note the US Constitution's Bill of Rights does not offer right-to-privacy (but the 4th provides protection from searches-and-seizures without probable cause, which really doesn't deal with "privacy", especially from non-governmental actors).
Perhaps parent should have said "fundamental right granted by the EU", but in this context it's pretty clear.
So 'choice' is already something that has failed in the free market. Bring on the privacy.
You only have to see the howling every time someone posts a subscription only newspaper link on HN to see how vehemently opposed people are to paying for stuff like news.
it's expensive and maybe non-viable for many websites. But it's not like all websites need to exist? There was a world wide web before cookies.
I like to think of that time as a great time too, but oh man so much we couldn't do.... I get what you're saying generally, but man I'd hate "before cookies" to be the standard.
I don't really see it as "what we couldn't do" but "what poor usability we have overcome". I'm glad we have cookies and other forms of local storage, especially for the latter there are many other benefits. Maybe one day we'll get Web SQL.
In the meantime people can still disable cookies entirely, or at least delete them when they close the browser, both with out of the box browser settings (and I have no idea what extensions are available to do even more) and return to that less-usable (if slightly more private) experience. The crucial idea of a "user agent" is I think the biggest mindset change the web brought, it's important to keep that even if on the dev side we constantly complain about being asked to support more than one configuration of anything.
Yeah I think that's accurate.
Most just do stuff nobody sees at any volume.
Have you ever reviewed how little you need in order to do all those things, outside of third-party dependencies? Any second guesses at all?
We didn't have e-commerce before cookies.
The same functionality of correlating multiple requests for a single request (building sessions upon packets) was just more difficult to use by encoding the session ID as a parameter in query string for each request. Many frameworks still support this mode.
SSL is largely irrelevant to banking security anyway. Actual security is built upon charge-back system. The underlying security model was designed when everyone trusted written checks.
The €0.00002 it took to serve that one page just because the user doesn't want to consent to cookie placement/tracking? Is it really that harmful?
NPR seems to do this just fine for GDPR reasons: Decline and Visit Plain Text Site
I mean, by your argument, all digital goods should be free, since it never costs much to transmit the bits.
The OC didn't consider the fact that you can have advertising without cookies/tracking/fingerprinting and just reduced it to absrudism by saying that the company would bear the brunt of the cost but even the cost of that single event is marginally insignificant, overall.
So, no, my argument was never about all digital goods being free. However, if we want to play the devil's advocate and utilise your reduction to absurdism: By your argument, shouldn't all digital goods be paid for...? For example, Ubuntu costs money to host and serve, yeah?
I do love NPRs approach though.
Aye, if they're only looking at it from a "cookie placement/tracking or nothing" hard-limit perspective, which is what the OC posited it as.
...but if other sites can absorb the costs, case in point: NPR, why is it such a dastardly evil thing to point out? Is there some foolhearted belief that if we cut tracking, tomorrow, the internet would cease to function? Is there absolutely no room for advertisements without cookies/pixels in the modern world...? Do we really believe that it's that expensive to serve webpages?