[LINK] RFI: Intrusive Internet Mechanisms

Steven Clark steven.clark at internode.on.net
Tue Nov 30 23:29:21 AEDT 2010

On 29/11/10 21:57, George Bray wrote:
> On Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 11:14 AM, Roger Clarke
> <Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au> wrote:
>> I'm trying to write a succinct summary of the way in which intrusive
>> Internet mechanisms were once the province of 'miscreants and
>> criminals', but are now in mainstream use by corporations.
> How about web bugs? A publisher of a large number of web properties
> can use an "invisible" 1x1 image to track your paths through their
> sites, even if you've elected to turn cookies off.
there are also tricks that can be done via hidden java applets,
javascript and flash or shockwave.

it's an arms race. which means we're always a step behind.

methinks it ought to be mandatory that we have the tools to see exactly
what is going on while we're using browsers, etc. whether we use them,
they ought to be there.

and it ought to be illegal, punishable by *real* financial sanctions, to
modify *our* computers - just as it is if we were to go modifying a
corporate or government one. (technically it *is* already, but getting
anyone to do anything about it is another matter - in no small part
because the relevant authorities are inadequately resourced, but also
because of jurisdictional issues).

it is interesting to speculate on what what would happen if a privacy
commissioner were to insist that internet tracking is the acquiring
personal information and require disclosure of the intent to collect and
require consent before continuing. after all, this data is quite
adequate to enable the identification of the person using the browser at
the time ...

Steven R Clark, BSc(Hons) LLB/LP(Hons) /Flinders/, MACS, Barrister &

PhD Scholar
School of Commerce, Division of Business
City West Campus, University of South Australia (UniSA)

Deputy Director, Community Engagement Board (CEB)
Chair, Economic, Legal and Social Issues Committee (ELSIC)
Australian Computer Society (ACS)

*Disclaimer:* This is email is not legal advice. Comments and statements
above are based on my understanding of the issues at hand, and my
attempts to understand them. They are intended to add to, and elicit
discussion. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, opinions and statements
are mine, not those of UniSA or the ACS.

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