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The uncensorable internet...

Opera introduces major updates to its blockchain-browser on Android


Link Here2nd April 2020
Web 3 is about rethinking the way we access data online. One of the important new Web 3 protocols which make this possible is IPFS.

IPFS is a protocol which allows you to store data on the web without having to rely on a single server or specific cloud service. How does it work? Instead of asking the network for a file using it's location, the browser can ask the network for a file using its cryptographic hash (unique to the file). IPFS then takes care of delivering the file to the browser, wherever it is stored. Each network node stores only the content it is interested in, plus some indexing information which helps figure out which node is storing what.

When looking up a file to view or download, one asks the network to find the nodes that are storing the content behind a given file's hash. One doesn't, however, need to remember the hash as every file can be found by human-readable names using a decentralized naming system like Unstoppable Domains or the Ethereum Name System (ENS).

This means that files, as well as websites, can be stored in a decentralized and secure way and accessed without relying on a single server 203 a truly cloudless form of storage similar to BitTorrent. Opera has worked directly with Protocol Labs, the main actor behind the development of the IPFS protocol, to integrate this experience into Opera for Android. 

Charles Hamel, Head of Crypto at Opera, commented:

Browsers have a critical role to play in Web 3 and we believe that integrating these new protocols into our popular browser will accelerate their adoption, said

 

 

Offsite Article: Free websites, advertising revenues and privacy...


Link Here 29th January 2020
If Chrome fixes privacy too fast it could break the web, Google exec debates advertising revenue vs privacy

See article from cnet.com

 

 

Playing the EU's Silly Cookie Game...

Google's Chrome browser will ban 3rd party tracking cookies albeit over the course of two years


Link Here16th January 2020
Google is to restrict web pages from loading 3rd party profiling cookies when accessed via its Chrome browser. Many large websites, eg major newspapers make a call to hundreds of 3rd part profilers to allow them to build up a profile of people's browsing history, which then facilitates personalised advertising.

Now Google has said that it will block these third-party cookies within the next two years.

Tracking cookies are very much in the sights of the EU who are trying to put an end to the exploitative practise. However the EU is not willing to actually ban such practises, but instead has invented a silly game about websites obtaining consent for tracking cookies.

The issue is of course that a lot of 'free' access websites are funded by advertising and rely on the revenue from the targeted advertising. I have read estimates that if websites were to drop personalised ads, and fall back on contextual advertising (eg advertising cars on motoring pages), then they would lose about a third of their income. Surely a fall that magnitude would lead to many bankrupt or unviable websites.

Now the final position of the EU's cookie consent game is that a website would have to present two easy options before allowing access to a website:

  • Do you want to allow tracking cookies to build up a database of your browsing history
  • Do you NOT want to allow tracking cookies to build up a database of your browsing history

The simple outcome will be that virtually no one will opt for tracking, so the website will lose a third of its income. So it is rather unsurprising that websites would rather avoid offering such an easy option that would deprive them of so much of their income.

In reality the notion of consent it not practical. It would be more honest to think of the use of tracking cookies as a price for 'free' access to a website.

Perhaps when the dust has settled, a more honest and practical endgame would bea  choice more like:

  • Do you want to allow tracking cookies to build up a database of your browsing history in return for 'free' access
  • Do you want to pay a fee to enable access to the website without tracking cookies
  • Sorry you may not access this website

The EU has been complaining about companies trying to avoid the revenue destroying official consent options. A study just published observes that nearly all cookie consent pop-ups are flouting EU privacy laws.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University College London (UCL) and Aarhus University have conducted a joint study into the use of cookies. They analysed five companies which offer consent management platforms (CMP) for cookies used by the UK's top 10,000 websites.

Despite EU privacy laws stating that consent for cookies must be informed, specific and freely given, the research suggests that only 12% of the sites met the minimal requirements of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) law. Instead they were found to blanket data consent options in complicated site design, such as:

  • pre-ticked boxes burying decline buttons on later pages multiple clicks tracking users before consent and after pressing reject
  • Just over half the sites studied did not have rejecting all tracking as an option.
  • Of the sites which did, only 13% made it accessible through the same or fewer clicks as the option to accept all.
The researchers estimate it would take, on average, more than half an hour to read through what the third-party companies are doing with your data, and even longer to read all their privacy policies. It's a joke and there's no actual way you could do this realistically, said Dr Veale.

 

 

Offsite Article Searching for better privacy...


Link Here15th January 2020
Google to strangle user agent strings in its chrome browse to hamper advertisers from profiling users via fingerprinting

See article from zdnet.com


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