What is the effect of 'AdChoices' to prevent user tracking?
third-party cookies has been restricted from the viewpoint of protecting people's privacy, but in fact, a program called 'opting out of the use of personal information' has existed for 10 years. Investigative reporter Aaron Sankin tests the accuracy of the program, called AdChoices .
In recent years, the use of
I Tried to Use the Ad Tech Industry's Tool to Opt Out of Personalized Ads. Did It Work? – The Markup
The advertisements displayed on the website are not random, but based on the user's personal information, ``advertisements that seem to be of high interest to the user'' are displayed. Targeted advertisements optimized for such individuals collect personal information using cookies stored by browsers, but the point of tracking user behavior even after leaving the website is a problem from the viewpoint of privacy. It has been.
Many people want to avoid targeted ads and use extensions that block third-party cookies. However, Mr. Sankin took the opposite action of deleting all 'things that block the targeting of advertising companies'. In other words, they made sure that the advertising companies knew what websites Sankin visited and what content he saw.
Then, half a year later, when the advertising company acquired enough Mr. Sankin's data, we ran AdChoices, a self-regulatory program for interest-based advertising, to see if we could stop the company's data collection. AdChoices was launched by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) in 2010, and you can ask more than 100 advertising companies to ``opt out of targeted advertising based on personal information''.
To use AdChoices, first access the following. The status check starts automatically when you open the page.
WebChoices: Digital Advertising Alliance's Consumer Choice Tool for Web US
After checking, a list of companies involved in targeting advertising will be displayed as shown below. You can opt out by checking individual companies, but if you want to opt out all at once, press the button surrounded by a red frame.
After pressing the button and waiting for a while, the following screen will be displayed. However, when Mr. Sankin first experimented with Firefox, he should have sent requests to 129 companies, but only 91 companies were able to successfully send requests, and the remaining 38 companies said, ``There is a temporary technical problem. ” was displayed.
When Mr. Sankin, who was suspicious, investigated, DAA's AdChoices did not attempt to 'block user information' for advertising companies, but added a new cookie to the user's browser. This cookie tells DAA participating companies not to deliver targeted advertisements based on user data collected in the past, but technically it is possible for companies to continue collecting data. In this regard, DAA's Lou Mastria argues that ``many companies stop collecting personal information because it is easier to stop collecting it than to classify the collected data.''
However, Firefox blocks third-party cookies by default. For this reason, it has become a contradictory situation that Firefox's third-party cookies must be unblocked in order for AdChoices to work well.
On the other hand, Chrome does not block third-party cookies by default, so after repeating the opt-out request several times, it seems that 125 companies have finally succeeded in opting out. Mr. Mastoria explained that Adstra, LKQD Technologies, Marchex, and Pulpo could not opt out until the end as ``system synchronization problems.''
The design of AdChoices in this way has long been questioned. In order to opt out of targeting, not only is there a problem with Firefox that ``you must unblock third-party cookies and accept many third-party cookies'', but if you delete all cookies, even DAA cookies will be deleted, I'm also having issues with opt-out requests coming back to a blank slate. ``The current opt-out system for targeted advertising doesn't make much sense,'' researchers point out.
Originally, DAA's opt-out request was not intended to help consumers, but was intended to prevent government intervention to `` create a privacy tool ''. Given the historical background of tools that seem to serve consumers but are not designed to help them, “the advertising industry should not be allowed to write regulations,” says Bennett of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Cyphers argues that
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