As Seen On Hacker News


The whole tracking thing should be outlawed in my opinion.

It’s like saying that because windows are transparent, it is ok to stare into people’s living rooms. It’s not – irrespective of transparency or lack of curtains.

In a world where that is clearly not ok, then why is it that this kind of thing (tracking) is deemed ok?

What we need is something that does to our online privacy, what curtains did for peoples real privacy. And, although I fear that this is not technically possible, the absence of the possibility of such protections, still does not make tracking right.

[downandout] Common Tech Stupidity and Meh Logic:

Nope. When you enter someone else’s place of business, you have no expectation of privacy. These websites belong to private entities. So it’s more like saying that because you voluntarily walked into my store, it’s ok for me to observe your behavior while you’re there. Which, of course, is completely logical and acceptable to most people.

Don’t want me to track your behavior while you’re in my store? There’s a very simple, 100% effective solution for that: don’t enter my store. Because if you do enter, you have no right to complain that I’m observing you.

Excuse me a moment while I puke over that nonsense.

[chongli] Hitting The Nail On The Head

That’s not true at all. When I go to the hardware store to buy a box of nails, I don’t have any expectation for the owner to begin following me around for the rest of the day (and in perpetuity thereafter). I also don’t expect the hardware store owner to get on the phone with the grocery store owner and ask him what groceries and personal hygiene products I bought.

Also, the comment originally pertained to the Wall Street Journal, a newspaper. Are you suggesting that reading the newspaper at home grants the publisher the right to peer in through my window?

Expectations of privacy have long been enforced by social norms rather than laws. Since technology has granted corporations the means to do an end-run around social norms then we should expect the law to catch up and fill the gaps.

People may not have had a lot of privacy from their neighbours when living in small towns but they could generally count on their community to care about their well being. This is not the case with online businesses of any sort.


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