TechSpot

Spyware Based Ads on TechSpot?

By mewi
Jun 22, 2008
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  1. Use better advertising affiliates... I have noticed that this site has quite a few well known tracking cookie based ad companies... for example: mediaplex... doubleclick.net I know this may not be a problem for the more experienced computer user... But for a novice, running into such things on a tech site is a bit well hypocritical, am I mistaken?

    DoubleClick especially, I know for a fact tracks and records any activity you do VIA a web browser, ( that is if you accept cookies from that DoubleClick ) it sends your data through their server. This tracking cookie also creates lag, and hang times... and sometimes forces a user to click "refresh" or reclick the link.

    I have no information regarding MediaPlex but I would imagine they have similar if not identical goals as DoubleClick...

    I'll also point out that DoubleClick has been sued in the past for acquiring information without that user's consent, I've even seen DoubleClick on bank account related websites!

    There is also atdmt which is ALSO seen as spyware.. even my spybot s&d notes it as such... How many more are on this site x.X?

    Either way... Tracking Cookie = Spyware = Bad
     
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Almost all websites use cookies
    Not all cookies are tracking cookies

    Cookies are simple pieces of data unable to perform any operation by themselves. In particular, they are neither spyware nor viruses, despite the detection of cookies from certain sites by many anti-spyware products.

    Blocking unwanted cookies with IE 7 can make some websites unusable. For example, shopping carts implemented using cookies do not work if cookies are rejected.

    You can easily remove all cookies and temporary Internet files by running programs like CCleaner

    TechSpot (like all other Tech Forums) use Cookies, to allow you to be aware of when and what pages you have visited, and to avoid logging in continuously each time you change pages.

    Also, by looking at TechSpot's front page you will notice that TechSpot has many links (and reviews) to new computer hardware items for sale.

    There are legal guidelines (legislations) towards cookies and their behaviour, that TechSpot adhere to.
     
  3. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,702   +1,886

    When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Dump Their Cookies....

    Just install "noscript" in Firefox, then configure FF to delete cookies when you close it. Problem solved!

    You will have to retype your password, everytime you return. Just a minor side effect of dumping all the cookies.
     
  4. mewi

    mewi TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 70

    If you read my initial post, I am fully aware of how to remove a simple cookie, just the ads on this site are less than trustworthy >.>" Go look up some legal things involving these companies and you'll know exactly what I mean. If I was requesting support on how to remove a cookie, I'd of posted in a support section >.>" This is my suggestion and my suggestion still stands.
     
  5. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,059   +646

    Mewi, this may sound a bit like BS to you coming from the Executive Editor of the site but you seem a bit misinformed on what spyware is exactly and what can put you at risk and what not.

    First of all, cookies are not spyware. Second, Doubleclick may have its second intentions and they've faced some legal trouble for that, but you will notice that a very large percentage of english-based websites (I'm talking like half of the entire web) rely on their technologies one way or another.

    TechSpot, for example, does not use Doubleclick directly but many of our advertisers rely on their technology for tracking audience stats, impression counts, etc.

    Last but not least, you may have heard that Doubleclick was bought by Google. Now, you may take the paranoid approach but that basically means a HUGE percentage of the world's Internet traffic is going through them. How that ultimately affects you is only up to you, but at the end of the day is just plain unfair stating that we are using spyware ads on TS. We take our readers' privacy and security very seriously, and by far, there are things you could worry about a whole lot more than a cookie generated from an ad you saw here, or the cookie that will keep you logged in to the site.
     
  6. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,714   +397

    I think people get freaked out when they run AdAware or Spybot and get a bunch of tracking cookies because they show up as a threat. I bet that is where this guys' 'misinformation' comes from.

    I too believe he is overly paranoid, but forcing the browser to delete cookies on close, or using Opera would 'fix' this 'threat'. I've never seen Opera cookies show up on a scan. Whether this is by design of Opera or by a lack of effort by AdAware/Spybot I don't know.
     
  7. mopar man

    mopar man TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,379

    Heh, I used to be this way until I had a system with hundred of tracking cookies and realised they weren't as bad as the AS program said they were.
     
  8. mewi

    mewi TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 70

    Firstly I am not a guy ;\

    Secondly, I do not know where the idea of how I was "misinformed" came to be. Lets go about what a tracking cookie is, a tracking cookie is a cookie that will record your browsing habits and send it to an affiliated server for "Marketing Purposes", you did not sign any agreement, or even visit the original site in which this company claims to be.

    So far the posters here seem to be mis-informed regarding my statements, I said TRACKING cookie... keyword here is tracking.

    What would you define as spyware? For me, it is a program/file of anytype that will record your information without your prior authorization. Now I am not so upset if that cookie only tracks behavior of what you do on the site in which it came from... But when you think about how it goes beyond that site and continues to track your behavior, it is quite unsettling to think about what kind of things they could record.

    While people may disagree with me regarding tracking cookies being spyware

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spyware

    "While the term spyware suggests software that secretly monitors the user's behavior..."

    According to Wiki, the statements made appear to agree with my view on tracking cookies.
     
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,714   +397

    Why don't you just disable accepting 3rd party cookies then?
     
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,702   +1,886

    Or perhaps run "Noscript" in Firefox as I suggested, which would automatically disable 3rd party cookies.

    And please skip the lecture on the fact that you know all that, because no matter where you surf on the net you're going to encounter "
    doubleclick", and "adspointroll", and "2.07" something or other.
     
  11. mewi

    mewi TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 70

    I agree with you captaincranky, but just because it is there does not mean I accept the fact that every site should have it.

    I infact I like techspot so Don't get me wrong here D:, and again I'd like to say... I know how to keep a cookie out of my browser ;\ ( third time stating it... ) If you read my initial post to it's fullest, I said that I was concerned about the people who did not know as much about computers as other people.

    Yes doubleclick and all these tracking cookie advertisement companies are everywhere, but just because others have them does it mean everyone else should follow? o.O

    I am not worried about my personal security ;p
     
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,702   +1,886

    OK, fair enough. In the modern internet environment the cookies we are discussing here are inevitable to web surfer and website operator. The forums here are free, and revenue must be generated to support that.
    So, without additional discussion we could collectively decide to change the demeanor of this thread to an informal discussion of privacy issues, to the benefit of our less experienced users and members: .

    Advanced Firefox configuration is already available on this site as a guide; http://www.techspot.com/guides/44-firefox2-tweak-guide/ And it's pretty complete, so that beginners and advanced users can both benefit from a good read through.

    So if anyone else has questions about self defense and the web, by all means , buzz in and state your business. :wave:
     
  13. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 3,908

    Cookies are simple pieces of data unable to perform any operation by themselves. In particular, they are neither spyware nor viruses, despite the detection of cookies from certain sites by many anti-spyware products.

    Cookies are not program code: they cannot erase or read information from the user's computer.

    However, cookies allow for detecting the Web pages viewed by a user on a given site or set of sites. This information can be collected in a profile of the user. Such profiles are often anonymous, that is, they do not contain personal information of the user (name, address, etc.)

    More precisely, they cannot contain personal information unless the user has made it available to some sites.
     

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