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Yahoo's Wild Beacon Tracking Device- even when not logged in

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Joined: 13 Nov 2005
Posts: 122
Location: In the Garden

PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 10:33 pm    Post subject: Yahoo's Wild Beacon Tracking Device- even when not logged in Reply with quote

I found this informative post over on the www.godlikeproductions.com forum

apparantly, yahoo tracks it's members even when they arnt logged into yahoo. Read further to "opt out"

here is the direct yahoo link to opt out: http://privacy.yahoo.com/privacy/us/beacons/details.html


Yahoo is Tracking
Group Members


If you belong to ANY Yahoo Groups - be aware that Yahoo is now using "Web Beacons" to track every Yahoo Group user. It's similar to cookies, but allows Yahoo to record every website and every group you visit, even when you're not connected to Yahoo.

Look at their updated privacy statement at [link]

About half-way down the page, in the section on cookies, you will see a link that says WEB BEACONS.

Click on the phrase "Web Beacons." On the page that opens, find a paragraph entitled "Outside the Yahoo Network."

In that section find a little "Click Here to Opt Out" link that will let you "opt-out" of their snooping. Be careful! NOT to click on the next button shown. It is an "Opt Back In" button that, if clicked, will UNDO the opt-out.

Note that Yahoo's invasion of your privacy - and your ability to opt-out of it - is not user-specific. It is MACHINE specific. That means you will have to opt-out on every computer (and browser) you use.

Please forward this to your other groups. You might complain, too, but I'm not sure if anyone is listening..

Related article:

Yahoo Web Beacons Igniting Controversy Yahoo's current privacy policy is causing consternation among some users who object to their use of so-called 'web beacons'. Known in most circles as web bugs, these invisible images are embedded in websites and email and used to track your surfing - and even tell whether you've opened a particular email. [link]

~Lisa Augustine
"Have no fear. Wonders unfold"

Last edited by Boldyloxx on Tue Jan 24, 2006 12:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 24 Jan 2005
Posts: 424

PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Performing a google search for "yahoo web beacon" reveals yahoo renamed this "technology" in Jan 2004 and was operative before that.

Web pages may contain electronic images (called a "single-pixel GIF" or "web beacon") that allow a web site to count users who have visited that page or to access certain cookies.

A thread on webmasterworld reveals these beacons (1 pixel images) ping (track) servers.

This is just an image pinging a server.

There is a fundamental difference in the security permissions required and the availability to the host between cookies and beacons, as Y! beacons can (and do) send data to Y! from any site their code is placed on whereas Y! cookies can only be read from Y!'s own servers/domains.

They use beacons because of this, to supplement the Y! localized data they gather using cookies and sessions. They are not the same thing.

Pete Ashton's weblog summerizes the technology and its use.

Something that Andy just brought to my attention: Yahoo Web Beacons have got some people up in arms because they mean Yahoo can track their users outside the Yahoo webspace. Reading through their own statement it implies that it only works on sites that have beacons on their sites, so if, say, Amazon have a Yahoo beacon then Yahoo will know how often you go to Amazon. They won't know how often you come to this site because I don't have a beacon. They also put them in HTML emails they send out to tell whether they're opened, etc.

The beacons work in the same way the tracker on this page works - it's basically a small graphic that, when loaded, tells Yahoo who it is and where it is. Yahoo then puts this information along with the other information it has about you and builds a profile.

Basically it's an information sharing exercise centred around Yahoo for marketing purposes, similar to that reward card (the name escapes me) shared by a number of department stores and supermarkets. This stuff goes on anyway - that Yahoo are being slightly open about it is almost refreshing, though it doesn't make it a good thing.

The main problem I have with this is it's an opt-out thing. Otherwise it's just another marketing annoyance. Compared with the waves of spam I get already it's just a dip in the ocean really. I'm going to opt-out though.

And of course, this is not privy to just Yahoo - anyone can do it. From the google cache of freelist websitecritique archive:

All Yahoo HTML email that you receive also includes a Web Beacon (Web Bug) this is so they can keep track of live email addy's and to see who is opening up the email. All Commercial and HTML email you receive has a web bug, not just that from Yahoo.

Although more subjective, this author does state a truth about google tracking data:

...Google?s tracking techniques are far more intrusive, far more potentially injurious to someone?s privacy, and if you ask Google about ?opting out,? they?ll laugh in your face.

Which is why I use Firefox with the "customize" google plugin so I can turn off google tracking. You have to know what has already been established and what is coming up in order to thwart cyberspace tracking. There's still one or more I haven't disabled, but that's more for lack of trying. Welcome to cyberspace - an extension of reality where nothing is what it seems. Wink

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Greasemonkey is a Firefox extension which lets you to add bits of DHTML ("user scripts") to any web page to change its behavior. In much the same way that user CSS lets you take control of a web page's style, user scripts let you easily control any aspect of a web page's design or interaction."

If there isn't a script to disable web beacons already created, this is the tool to create it.
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Joined: 02 Jul 2005
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Location: The most corrupt state in the union, NJ

PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Google puts a tracking cookie on your computer that stays there until the year 2038, try www.scroogle.org for more info on this.
"They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys. It has worked well for over two hundred years and we're not using it anymore." George Carlin.
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