Reading “Cookies and Privacy” by John Gruber, Daring Fireball, I was astound by the following line of reasoning that Gruber pointedly arguments against:
The Journal article does later acknowledge, though not in a way that a reasonable reader would interpret as meaningful, that the mobile version of Safari has “default” (ie not user activated) settings that prevent Google and others (like ad giant WPP) to track user behavior the way they do on the “normal” Web. That’s a far cry from the Journal’s lead paragraph, which again, states Google bypassed the “the privacy settings of millions of people.” So when is a privacy setting really a privacy setting, I wonder? When Apple makes it so?
This is what John Battelle thinks, as he expressed in the piece: “A sad state of internet affairs”. You understand: since many people did not even know that there was a default privacy setting in place, or since they did not explicitly chose to forbid tracking behavior, then possibly that setting should not be considered a “real” privacy setting (more of an “Apple setting”, say).
Well, let’s see. I have a Zoom wi-fi ADSL modem at home. It comes with a default firewall settings, with a default WPA password, it comes with many features pre-enabled to guarantee my privacy. According to Battelle, I might ask the following question: “when is a privacy setting really a privacy setting, I wonder? When Zoom makes it so?”
And if anyone circumvents those settings, is this any the less serious since I did not choose to enforce it in the first place?
Is this a way to sensible way to reason about things?
You know, the Google “affair” is bad enough to be all concerned at the practices of the big corps out there. Including Apple. And, IMO no one should ever get tired of investigating and denouncing offensive practices that diminish our rights. But in actuality someone might engage in arduous lines of “reasoning” to let those practices appear as less serious and not at fault at all. That is an even bigger problem that the big corporations engaging in dubious practices to force their business model upon us.
P.S., If you want a quick intro to Google’s-Cookies-Gate, you can go directly to the original Wall Street Journal piece or search the web for a wealthy of news and analysis on the topic.