Archive for category Internet
Internet providers to begin warning customers who pirate content
The Center for Copyright Information says a new system will warn users when accounts are used to illegally download content.
(CNN) – It is about to get a bit more difficult to illegally download TV shows, movies or music online.
A new alert system, rolling out over the next two months, will repeatedly warn and possibly punish people violating digital copyrights. The Copyright Alert System was announced last July and has been four years in the making.
If you use AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, or Verizon as your Internet service provider, you could receive the first of one of these notes starting in the next two months.
The Internet provider is delivering the message, but the legwork is being done by the copyright owners, which will monitor peer-to-peer networks such as BitTorrent.
They use a service called MarkMonitor, which uses a combination of people and automated systems to spot illegal downloading. It will collect the IP addresses of offenders, but no personal information. The IP addresses are turned over to the Internet providers, which will match up the address with the right customer and send the notification.
The warning system is described as a graduated response. First the Internet provider will let the customer know that their Internet connection is being used do download content illegally. The note will include information to steer them away from their life of crime, including tips on how they can download content legally.
There will also be tips on securing Internet connections, just in case you were unaware that your neighbor was downloading season three of “Dexter” using your unprotected wireless network.
“The progressive series of alerts is designed to make consumers aware of activity that has occurred using their Internet accounts, educate them on how they can prevent such activity from happening again,” the CCI said in its announcement today.
After the educational phase, the customers will be asked to acknowledge that they received the warning. If they continue to download content illegally, the alerts will threaten mild punishments, such as forcing the copyright violator to read “educational materials,” or throttling their Internet connection so that it is slow, making it harder to download large files.
Today’s announcement claims that terminating the Internet service is not one of the options.
If a customer feels they are being wrongly accused, they can ask for a review, which will cost them $35 according to the Verge.
The entire system will be overseen by an organization called the Center for Copyright Information, which includes content owners, such as the Motion Picture Association of America and Recording Industry Association of America, as well as individual members including Disney, Sony Pictures, Fox, EMI and Universal.
Each ISP will have a slightly different version of the system.
The Internet Gives Paul Ryan the Sarah Palin Treatment
AP Photo/Steven Senne, File
JEN DOLL AUG 13, 2012
In August of 2008, John McCain announced that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would be his vice presidential running mate on the Republican ticket for the election held that November. In August of 2012—just two days ago—Mitt Romney announced that Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan would be his vice presidential running mate on the Republican ticket for the election to be held this November. Some (like John McCain) may deny similarities between the two veep picks, but the Internet feels differently. Here are a few demonstrated learnings and consistencies (and predictions of further consistencies) gleaned from the online reactions thus far.
The “Republican Hottie V.P.” Is a Thing Now. A look at the Twitter response to Paul Ryan’s nomination reminds us that we are strangely obsessed with the looks of Republican V.P. nominees, or at least, we have been since 2008, with Sarah Palin. It’s likely that almost no one was freaking out about whether Dick Cheney could “get it” in 2004—though we were saying that back then about John Edwards. Meanwhile, the sexy side of Joe Biden remains a relatively untraversed topical area. Does the supposedly “sexy” shift from Democrat to Republican mean anything? Can a sexy V.P. ever make it onto a winning ticket? A historical reckoning does not signify great promise, but you never know. Relevant: Good hair has a lot to do with sexy, apparently.
Also a Thing: Satirical Twitter Accounts. The hilarious political faux-Twitter of the moment is @PaulRyanGosling, combining things Ryan Gosling (“Hey girl”) with things Paul Ryan (“I’m going to be releasing two, which is what he’s releasing”) to make things like, ”I’m only releasing two years of my tax returns. If you want more, you’ll have to find my tickle spot.” There’s a plethora of fake Palin accounts, from @FakeSarahPalin to @PalinsVagina to @SarrahPalinU5A … and so on. Key learning here: If they are nominated, or if signs point to that occurrence, the Twitter accounts will come.
The Politics, of Course the Politics. We’ll save deeper political discourse for another post (this is about the Internet reaction, after all), but this sums up one side of the thinking fairly succinctly:
Tough day for Sarah Palin as the truth sets in: Paul Ryan is younger, more Conservative, and prettier than she is.
— Nell Scovell (@NellSco) August 13, 2012
Discussions of “Women’s Issues.” From Palin’s nomination there followed a lot of talk about what that meant for women. Palin herself is a woman, obviously, but what about her politics? How she felt about a range of women’s issues turned out to be not so progressive at all. Similarly, there’s been a wave of response regardingPaul Ryan’s stance on issues that impact women (and really, “women’s issues” are issues of people in general, couching it that way is a wee bit depressing). Of course, much of the lead-up to this election has referred to a “War on Women,” and we’re clearly going to keep talking about these issues as such, whether it’s because it makes for some snappy discourse or writing or because it’s truly important (the latter, we think and hope). And then there’s the electoral issue of women, particularly single women, as key voters in this election…
Fun with Photos. Let the extensive Photoshopping of Paul Ryan commence. We got every variety of Sarah Palin possible, really, from “sexy schoolteacher Sarah” to Sarah in a bikini, with a gun to, well, everything else, from disturbing to silly to hypersexualized and even porny. Ryan fans and haters, it’s on. There are also real photos to be distributed and admired or analyzed, of course, including this one of Paul Ryan and a deer (Palin liked hunting a lot, too, or at least said she did). Or the one of Ryan as prom king. Similarly, Palin has embodied a certain “prom” or “homecoming” queen aesthetic to more than a few, and you betcha her high school prom date ended up becoming her husband.
A Look at the Fam. It’s a given there will be a lot of interest in any potential vice president’s family, but with the reaction to Palin and Co. as a particular precedent, it’s a good bet we’ll be seeing a whole lot more of Janna Little Ryan and the kids, Liza, Charlie, and Sam, in the lead-up to November.
Identification of Catchphrases. “You betcha”; “Joe Six Pack”; “Hockey Mom”; “Maverick“; and “I can see Russia from my house” were just a few of the Palin expressions that took off and found a life of their own during the last electoral season. So far with Ryan, the media is already grabbing onto ”If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” and his thoughts about the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Surely there will be more, if we only listen. He might just co-opt “bold” as his own.
- The Obama Campaign Declares Sarah Palin Mentally Incompetent (mbcalyn.com)
- Cagle Post ” Stop Comparing Paul Ryan to Sarah Palin (mbcalyn.com)
- The Internet Gives Paul Ryan the Sarah Palin Treatment (theatlanticwire.com)
- Team Obama: Ryan ‘falls flat’ with voters, like Palin and Quayle – The Hill – covering Congress, Politics, Political Campaigns and Capitol Hill | TheHill.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Stop Comparing Paul Ryan to Sarah Palin (Guest Voice) (themoderatevoice.com)
- Ryan’s Mitt Romney problem – chicagotribune.com (mbcalyn.com)
- The Obama Campaign Declares Sarah Palin Mentally Incompetent (politicususa.com)
- The White House Silences McCain’s Dump Biden Babble With Two Words: Sarah Palin (politicususa.com)
- Sarah Palin won’t speak at GOP convention (newsday.com)
- Bill Maher on Paul Ryan’s smarts: Name something he and Sarah Palin disagree on (theblaze.com)
Because We All Know What Skype Was Missing Was Intrusive Advertising, Microsoft Has Decided To Add It | Techdirt
Because We All Know What Skype Was Missing Was Intrusive Advertising, Microsoft Has Decided To Add It
from the that’s-not-how-it-works dept
It appears that Microsoft’s first big contribution to Skype… is to put giant-ass ads in the middle of your call that look kinda like another caller has joined your call… except that caller is some company wanting you to buy stuff:
I actually don’t really have that much of a problem with Skype trying to figure out how to monetize with ads — in general. I do tend to think that intrusive advertising is not a particularly good way to go about it. However, what really gets me about this is the way Skype wants to pretend that these ads are something consumers want:
While on a 1:1 audio call, users will see content that could spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skype users and highlight unique and local brand experiences. So, you should think of Conversation Ads as a way for Skype to generate fun interactivity between your circle of friends and family and the brands you care about. Ultimately, we believe this will help make Skype a more engaging and useful place to have your conversations each and every day.
Now, I’ve been a big believer that good advertising is relevant content, and not just intrusive content. So I can understand the basics of what they’re saying. But there’s almost nothing in the execution that suggests that the folks at Skype actually understand why “advertising is content” works. It’s because it provides useful or compelling content in a manner such that people want to seek it out, not have it suddenly jump up in the middle of their conversation.
As Jon Brodkin, over at Ars Technica notes (sarcastically), positioning this as a user enhancement is just silly:
Skype has provided a great service for years, keeping us connected with friends and family. But there’s always been one thing missing—marketers interrupting calls with giant display ads.
This stinks of an idea that some committee came up with, where no one on that committee actually uses Skype.Because We All Know What Skype Was Missing Was Intrusive Advertising, Microsoft Has Decided To Add It | Techdirt.
- Skype calls to feature ads big enough to interrupt any conversation (arstechnica.com)
- Microsoft interupts Skype with ads (amanwithaphd.wordpress.com)
- Disappointed: Skype adds adverts to Video Conversations (lehsys.com)
- Skype to become more annoying (52tiger.net)
- Skype will show animated adverts while you make audio calls (wired.co.uk)
- Skype Introduces Conversation Ads : Target More Revenue From EyeBalls (thetechnologycafe.com)
- Skype’s brilliant, passive-aggressive new monetization idea: “Conversation Ads” (venturebeat.com)
- Skype Hunts Revenue, Begins Featuring Ads Between Conversations (valuewalk.com)
- Skype debuts ‘Conversation Ads’ for audio calls, hopes to get you talking about them (geekwire.com)
- Skype advertising update: We’ve launched Conversation Ads (nextlevelofnews.com)
Behavioral data tracking rising dramatically (Q&A)
A study by Krux study shows a huge jump in behavioral tracking since Nov. 2010 — here’s why. Hint: Ad networks are involved.
by Elinor Mills
June 19, 2012
Web sites are increasingly targeting ads at visitors based on behavioral data collected via cookies and other tracking techniques behind the scenes. This riles privacy advocates and many consumers, but there’s no question it will become even more widespread.
Since November 2010, behavioral tracking has increased 400 percent, according to a new study from, a firm that helps Web sites manage customer data. The average visit to a Web site in December triggered 56 instances of data collection, up from 10 instances in Nov. 2010, the company found after crawling pages on the 50 most-visited sites measured by ComScore.
Tracking people as they visit different sites on the Web allows advertisers to provide more targeted marketing, and it lets publishers demand bigger sums for the eyeballs they provide, via real-time ad bidding. Facebook confirmed last week that it is that allows more targeted advertising based on browser history.
Krux President Gordon McLeod talked with CNET about why targeting is rising so fast and what this means for consumers.
It’s cookie data from a user’s browser. More companies, including the publisher of the site you are on, and third parties are collecting similar data and getting understanding from user perspective what sites you’re going to, what content you’re looking at, things you’re interested in, income, age, education level. As well as marketing data. You’re looking to buy a , planning a vacation to France. All sorts of bits and bytes that are sent to a collector building up profiles and audience segments, and much of it is going to ad networks and exchanges where it’s sold in real time.
Yes. It’s one of the bigger growth industries that we’ve seen. An IDC study shows it growing from zero to $5 billion in less than five years. That says there is real value in data. That the traditional approach of buying advertising content on a page, sponsoring a section on a news site, is the classic version. But now advertisers are buying audience. They are looking for more attributes. They’re buying at scale and at prices, frankly, that are relatively low. But that activity has generated a lot of new entrants into the market place. Many more companies are scraping and collecting this data. Sometimes publishers are aware of this and they see it as a cost of doing business, but many times they are not. They see it coming in through that free toolbar, the analytics toolbar, or that widget that reaches out to social-networking sites or it’s within the ad networks themselves. What this study shows is that the number of collectors and the amount of ad collecting activity is growing incredibly quickly.
Yes and no. Certainly privacy advocates and some governments are ahead of this a bit. if you go to Europe there is an even higher level of discussion. The reality is there wasn’t a lot of discussion over the years. With credit card companies, phone companies, and others a lot of similar practices have been going on for quite some time. What’s happened here is the lack of transparency. Many other collectors, that are not the site owner themselves, are scraping this data and it’s done in a way that the publisher and the user aren’t aware that it is happening. Some would characterize it as it’s starting to get creepy. Certainly publishers have privacy policies, but they are really hard to enforce. You have to be really cautious working with partners on tools and analytics and on advertising sales.
There are a lot of black arts and other things going on, but 99 percent of this is just anonymous targeting based on interest levels or other data. Some of this is personal preference. Some people like to walk into the bar where the bartender knows their name and has their drink ready for them and their seat. Others like to go in anonymously, order a different drink every time and sit at a different seat and not have to talk to the bartender. What’s creepy to you might be helpful to me. My wife and I bought a Prius three weeks ago and we spent a long time online looking for hybrid cars. And as I would go to The New York Times or Sports Illustrated I was served up ads from hybrid car manufacturers. I actually found that helpful because I was in the market and I wanted that information. I find that more helpful than getting offers for a new mortgage or a new computer, which I am not in the market for.
It raises the level of the debate. It gets more and more people talking about these issues. It gets more people thinking about what information they are revealing about themselves on the Web. It gets them thinking about privacy policies and whether they should be deleting cookies and what their browsers are set at. This is still pretty complicated for the average user. With Microsoft’s rather unilateral decision (to set ) it gets people talking about it. The more informed users are, the better off they will be and we maybe won’t need to rely so much on government interventions through regulation, if the companies and publishers are more transparent and open about what is being tracked and what isn’t. The debate is raging, obviously, and people are taking many sides on what’s appropriate. Krux works with publishers and says ‘This is what’s going on in your site. These collectors you don’t have a relationship with. How do they get access to your page? What kind of data are they collecting?’ This is where a lot of the publishing community has pushed back in the debate about what has to be done and they said let us self-regulate and monitor our own pages. Krux is trying to enable them to enforce that, to audit their own pages and see what is happening on the site.
It is hard because that great personalized recommendation experience they get with Amazon, often they don’t feel the same way when they are on a news site. They should be more aware of which sites they’re on and what environment they’re on with regard to how they want to manage the tracking of data. We work with a company called Privacy Choice that has best recommendations. We work with industry groups like the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) in putting out best practices. Some of this is about self-education for users. Krux spends a lot of time with publishers on creating best practices for protected environments for publishers and consumers.
- Online behavioral tracking up 400 percent across prominent websites (arstechnica.com)
- Krux zeros in on giving publishers power on their sites (vator.tv)
- Re amping changes the sound a lot? (gearslutz.com)
- Tracking the euro-zone economy in real time (economist.com)
- Bits Blog: Facebook Begins Ad Bidding System (bits.blogs.nytimes.com)
- PrivacyScore (programmableweb.com)
- FTC Mulling “Do Not Track” List for Online Privacy (blogs.lawyers.com)
- Carat to the rescue – new app aims to put mobile battery woes to bed (digitaltrends.com)
A sign of the times
Congressmen interfere with W3C over Do Not Track
In a move that shows just how high-profile an issue online tracking has become, the co-chairs of the United States’s Congressional bi-partisan privacy caucus have sent a letter to the W3C urging it to support the Do Not Track (DNT) standard. Addressing members of the Tracking Protection Working Group (TPWG), the two congressmen — Democrat Ed Markey and Republican Joe Barton — refer specifically to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 10, which was recently slapped down for enabling DNT by default.
“In anticipation of the next W3C Tracking Protection Working Group meeting in Bellevue, Washington from June 20-22, we urge W3C participants to commit to user control over both data collection and use”, reads the missive. “[W]e call on W3C participants to make the protection of consumer privacy a priority and support Microsoft’s announcement by endorsing a default Do Not Track setting.”
Whether members of the TPWG will take kindly to the Representatives’ interference remains to be seen. Ed Markey’s legislative director, Joseph Wender, has brought the letter to the attention of the group’s mailing list, but, as of the time of writing, he hasn’t received any replies.
We’re not sure if it’s strictly ‘unprecedented’, but it’s certainly an odd move. If your standards body is receiving pleading letters from Congress, you must be doing something right — that said, this particular story bears all the hallmarks of a PR push by hoary old legislators attempting to seem with-it and technologically savvy.
- Microsoft defends default Do Not Track in IE10 (pcpro.co.uk)
- Could the W3C stop IE 10′s Do Not Track plans? (neowin.net)
- To Track or Not to Track? Not Just a Question, a Choice (blogs.technet.com)
- Do Not Track should not be enabled by default says W3C proposal (h-online.com)
- Admen Spot an Enemy: W3C (technologyreview.com)
- Microsoft Not Backing Down On IE10 ‘Do Not Track’ By Default (techweekeurope.co.uk)
- Microsoft Won’t Back Down On Offering ‘Do Not Track’ By Default In Internet Explorer (forbes.com)
- Standards group to bar IE10 from claiming ‘Do Not Track’ compliance (techworld.com.au)
- Provenance Access and Query Draft Published (w3.org)
- W3C: ‘Do not track’ by default? A thousand times NO (go.theregister.com)