back to article 'An issue of survival': Why Mozilla welcomes EU attempts to regulate the internet giants

Mozilla's head of EU public policy, Raegan MacDonald, reckons effective regulation to protect privacy and enable fair competition is an "issue of survival" for Mozilla and other independent companies. The browser developer approached us in order to comment on the EU's newly announced digital strategy. "We're at the beginning …

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    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Twat, though there's a picture of a female human no-one gives a fuck what you think about their appearance. Please comment on the story or piss off.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Trollface

        >>>Twat, though there's a picture of a female human no-one gives a fuck what you think about their appearance.

        Proof that hypothesis can now be safely discarded

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Twat, though there's a picture of a female human no-one gives a fuck what you think about their appearance.

        Strange you should focus upon gender, nobody else mentioned it. If it were Michael Dell in an equally unflattering pair of spectacles I'd still make the same observation.

        1. Halfmad Silver badge

          Point they are probably making is that this is for discussing the topic, not the appearance of those in it.

          While I may or may not agree with you around her spectacles, it's not the right forum for that debate. Let's stick to the content of the article itself rather than go down the tabloid route?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            While I may or may not agree with you around her spectacles, it's not the right forum for that debate. Let's stick to the content of the article itself rather than go down the tabloid route?

            How many years have you been reading the Reg ? It's a red top tabloid for techies, deliberately set up in the style of by Mike Magee.

            1. Philip Lewis

              I hesitate to ask (given my own age). Where is Mike these days ?

              1. Tim99 Silver badge

                Fudzilla

                1. Tim99 Silver badge
                  FAIL

                  Why the downvote? Mike is at fudzilla.com

        2. big_D Silver badge

          The register themselves were commenting on the clothes worn in the Autonomy trial.

        3. Cardinal

          @AC

          "nobody else mentioned it"

          But nobody else had commented on ANYTHING at that point!

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          No one wanted to hear your opinion on her glasses or Michael Dell (if he was wearing the same). Its non of your business so fuck off, and when you get there - fuck off a bit more.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC - Show us a picture of you wearing something

          and I will be delighted to make heavily unflattering observations about you. Oh, and don't bother showing any proof of intelligence, culture or education, we'll stick to your appearance.

      3. Smooth Newt Silver badge
        Happy

        Those glasses

        Twat, though there's a picture of a female human no-one gives a fuck what you think about their appearance. Please comment on the story or piss off.

        She obviously cares about her appearance, so why shouldn't we? Those glasses are making a clear fashion statement, whether you like it or not. And when comentards call, e.g. Trump things like "the orange one", I don't see them getting flamed for negative comments about his appearance. Perhaps this outrage on someone else's behalf only applies in relation to women?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Those glasses

          Or maybe the lack of outrage about insults to Trump is because he insults people on a daily basis, and besides people have always made fun of US presidents about their appearance even when they act like a president should. How can you not make fun of a guy who wears clownish orange makeup all the time? Just like people made fun of Obama's suit colors (and worse, by those of a more racist bent) Bill Clinton's "McDonalds belly", Reagan's jet black hair even when he hit 70 years old, Nixon's jowl and so forth.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Those glasses

          Usually when Trump is called "the orange one" etc, it's on the way to the point. A precursor, if you will, that indicates that the author disapproves of whatever Trump is fucking right up this week. In this case the appearance was the total subject of the comment.

          The opening comment came off like classic negging, as well as being off topic (and nothing to do with IT), so there was a lot to downvote there.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The glasses are problematic, though.

    2. Thought About IT

      I suppose the ideal way to distract attention from the message would be a picture of a squirrel wearing glasses.

      1. Anonymous Coward
    3. Palpy

      On that vein...

      ...get a fokkin' haircut, Boris, you look a right unsexy twat and that lawnmower job on your albino locks will not get anybody to buy you a drink and offer to take you home. Not to mention your wobbly gut, you pallid walrus.

      Go ahead, let's criticize men for their looks for a change.

      But she's right, you know. The Internet is badly warped. Google, Chrome, Facebook, Amazon, et al, have enabled the warpage. They're sure not going to fix it.

      Firefox is my go-to precisely because I trust Mozilla much more than I trust Google-Chrome.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: On that vein...

        For a change? Just do a search on Twitter for "George Osborne hair".

        Back in 2014, some women on the BBC's Politics Live programme were complaining, as their invariably do, about women being judged on their appearance. Later, at the end of the programme, they began discussing George Osborne's new haircut and David Cameron's bald spot, totally oblivious to their own hypocrisy. Jeremy Corbyn has also come in for a bit of criticism about the way he looks, too.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don't know, I found them quite cute.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8wE6ALlo3o

  2. thosrtanner

    i've been to at least one site that says 'if you don't accept our cookies you can't use the site'. so I don't use it, but seriously? that's certainly contrary to the spirit of the GDPR

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Contrary to the spirit of GDPR? It is illegal under GDPR. You can't refuse access if the user doesn't opt-in.

      You can't collect or use information without an opt-in and you can't refuse access if they don't.

      Cookies are a sticky subject though. Essential first party cookies (which page you visited last, are you logged on etc.) don't necessarily need to be agreed to, but anything that collects PII as you move through the site does, as do all third party cookies.

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        Trollface

        RE: big_D

        "Cookies are a sticky subject though"

        I keep mine in the fridge.

        1. Adair Silver badge

          Re: RE: big_D

          I eat my cookies, and my browser eats its cookies too.

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: RE: big_D

            My browser vomits its cookies on close.

            I actually think that should be the default - why isn't it, Mozilla?

            1. Alumoi

              Re: RE: big_D

              My browser kills them when closing the tab. Pwned!

              Why would Mozilla, by default, clear your cookies, history and such on closing the browser? Think of the great unwashed who will cry foul if their precious won't log them in automatically at the mere hoover over the link. Or remember what did they search for a month ago. Let's not forget the fun you can have when they ask you to see why their browser is so slow and you accidentally on purpose expose their dirty browsing habits.

              I know, I know, it's not PC to make fun of those technically challenged (did I get it right?), but boy...

              1. Cave-Homme

                Re: RE: big_D

                It’s not a matter of being technically challenged whatsoever, you are being condescending to many people.

                I specifically keep certain cookies for specific site preferences, which saves considerable time. I also keep certain specific third party cookies which some sites unfortunately require to function. I delete the rest. Firefox cookie and tracking management is very good these days.

                Even MS are doing a decent job in this respect with their new Chromium Edge. I still prefer FF though, not just because of its mission, but also especially since it’s much lighter on resources than Chromium / Chrome browsers I’ve tried.

                1. quartzz

                  Re: RE: big_D

                  I've asked this previously (and I have search-ed). but is there any decent cookie management for chrome? (like there is for Firefox). eg, sort by date last used/number of cookies/size)

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: RE: big_D

                Firefox Focus does exactly that, so it's not like they haven't considered the option.

    2. iron Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      > at least one

      Lol. You owe me a new keyboard.

      I think you meant to say "all sites."

    3. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      If you're in the UK, you won't have to worry about GDPR for much longer!

      Google is already moving UK data to the USA thanks to Brexit.

      The recent Cloud Act in the US, however, is expected to make it easier for British authorities to obtain data from US companies. Britain and the US are also on track to negotiate a broader trade agreement.

      Beyond that, the US has among the weakest privacy protections of any major economy, with no broad law despite years of advocacy by consumer protection groups.

      Google has amassed one of the largest stores of information about people and uses the data to tailor services and sell advertising.

      Google could also have had British accounts answer to a British subsidiary, but has opted not to do so.

      More...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ROFL

        Any agreement with the USA will be so one sided that all the data will ONLY ever travel in one direction and that is to the Yanks.

        Oh, and we'll have to take all that lovely Chlorinated Chicken and Rubber Cheese as well just to add insult to injury.

        Yours Grumpy of Fratton Park.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: ROFL

          If we dont let them have out data our cowardly government will let them have our bodies without any problem.

        2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: ROFL

          Sigh.

          If you don't want to buy chlorinated chicken, then............... don't buy chlorinated chicken.

          1. Robert Grant Silver badge

            Re: ROFL

            Enforced vegetarianism it is, then!

      2. codejunky Silver badge

        @Jamie Jones

        "If you're in the UK, you won't have to worry about GDPR for much longer!

        Google is already moving UK data to the USA thanks to Brexit."

        Couldnt this be seen as a positive since the EU is gagging to have just one success story to compete with the yanks?

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: @Jamie Jones

          I don't understand your question!

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: @Jamie Jones

            @Jamie Jones

            It was kind of following on the train of thought that our data might be freed up from the EU regs by the move to the US. The US being pretty good at providing things that people want while the EU seems envious of such ability while continuing to apply more regulations.

            1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

              Re: @Jamie Jones

              Hmmm. What? EU rules don't restrict you using your data for what you want, they restrict what others can do with your data without your permission.

              I really hope you're not saying that "our data is better in the US because there, everyone else is free to do what the hell they like with it."

              There's that story only this week on US ISPs claiming that restricting their ability to sell your web searches is against their freedom of speech... You agree?

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: @Jamie Jones

                @Jamie Jones

                "Hmmm. What? EU rules don't restrict you using your data for what you want, they restrict what others can do with your data without your permission."

                Yes. As I said the EU seem envious of US advancements but keeps applying more regulations to slow development.

                "I really hope you're not saying that "our data is better in the US because there, everyone else is free to do what the hell they like with it.""

                It is a view. Why do we have success stories like google, facebook and such in the world? Huge advances in AI, data retrieval, unique hashing algorithms, clusters, more efficient search algorithms, etc.

                "There's that story only this week on US ISPs claiming that restricting their ability to sell your web searches is against their freedom of speech... You agree?"

                To be honest I dont care. Recently the EU is wanting to stop development of AI for 5 years while it tries to find its arse with a map and both hands. I do care

                1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

                  Re: @Jamie Jones

                  Fair enough. At least you're up front in your opinion.

                  I don't agree that the EU is applying regulations to slow development. The same regulations apply to non-US companies too, and Facebook and Google would continue to be successful even if there was "global GDPR" - just as EU companies weren't dominant pre GDPR.

                  The main thing is that the EU is considering the citizen; the US the corporations. I suppose some may think that means the EU is unfair on corporations, but many of us would simply say the US is too lax on them.

                  To your example, if the EU was just trying to penalise America, then these AI "restrictions" would be a bit of an own goal, no?

                  Maybe, just maybe, they have been worried -- rightly or wrongly -- by the horror stories (again, relating to personal liberty and privacy)

                  And do you not care for the search history caching because of the following 3: a) You're not in the US, b) You're able to use a VPN if need be c) You don't regularly search for feet fetishes in your local area? (*) Would you feel the same way if 2 out of 3 of those weren't true?

                  (*) If you do actually search for foot-fetishes in your local area, apologies, it was just an example, I'm not judging you! :-)

                  1. BlueTemplar

                    Re: @Jamie Jones

                    Lol, "EU unfair to corporations" ?

                    If EU was *actually* fair to corporations (i.e. really treated them according to their good/bad behaviour), the GAFAM would have been kicked out of EU in the last few years, just like Huawei was in the USA...

                    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

                      Re: @Jamie Jones

                      As I said, "many of us think the US is too lax on them"

                    2. Robert Grant Silver badge

                      Re: @Jamie Jones

                      If EU was *actually* fair to corporations (i.e. really treated them according to their good/bad behaviour)

                      That's not "fair", that's "Santa". Fair is "subjected them to the same subsidies and penalties as all other corporations".

                  2. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: @Jamie Jones

                    @Jamie Jones

                    "I don't agree that the EU is applying regulations to slow development. The same regulations apply to non-US companies too, and Facebook and Google would continue to be successful even if there was "global GDPR" - just as EU companies weren't dominant pre GDPR."

                    We dont know if they would be so dominant. The regulations didnt exist then and a large part of FB and googles expansion has been through big data. If we pour tar on them now they must adapt (in the EU) but if they were already covered in tar would they have got as far as they have? The EU may not intend to slow development but that is the effect of regulations. The 5 year ban on AI being a good example, who else is going to do that?

                    "The main thing is that the EU is considering the citizen; the US the corporations. I suppose some may think that means the EU is unfair on corporations, but many of us would simply say the US is too lax on them."

                    From what I have read it does seem to be 2 different ways of looking at the same problem. From what I have seen the US people seem to view the public vs the private and the public imposes on the private. Over here we seem to have a different view that the gov is somehow on the side of the citizen against the businesses. Although that gets complicated when people complain about the gov being in cahoots with business. *I know its actually more complicated and a mix on both sides of the pond but roughly.

                    "To your example, if the EU was just trying to penalise America, then these AI "restrictions" would be a bit of an own goal, no?"

                    I dont think this is a move to penalise America and yes its an own goal. I actually think its a control freak mentality which should scare people that the EU wants a centrally planned economy.

                    "Maybe, just maybe, they have been worried -- rightly or wrongly -- by the horror stories (again, relating to personal liberty and privacy)"

                    Of course. This is the good governance vs bad where one considers the problem and the other reads the latest horror story and reacts. The expectation then growing that the gov will react to the latest overreaction and never do anything useful. Its an easy trap to fall into for any gov and ours has been guilty of it too.

                    "And do you not care for the search history caching because of the following 3: a) You're not in the US, b) You're able to use a VPN if need be c) You don't regularly search for feet fetishes in your local area? (*) Would you feel the same way if 2 out of 3 of those weren't true?"

                    You are right with a, b and c but even without that yes. The data (1) requires ISPs to secure ‘opt-in’ consent from their customers before using information that is not sensitive in nature or even personally identifying; and it is a targeted restriction-

                    All of this results in an “excessive burden” on ISPs, they claim, especially because not everyone else had to do the same. The new statute includes “no restrictions at all on the use, disclosure, or sale of customer personal information, whether sensitive or not, by the many other entities in the Internet ecosystem or traditional brick-and-mortar retailers,” the lawsuit complains.

                    *Note to anyone reading this and confused. Very sorry but this conversation is also discussing from another topic- https://www.theregister.co.uk/2020/02/20/maine_isp_lawsuit/

                    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

                      Re: @Jamie Jones

                      We dont know if they would be so dominant. The regulations didnt exist then and a large part of FB and googles expansion has been through big data. If we pour tar on them now they must adapt (in the EU) but if they were already covered in tar would they have got as far as they have? The EU may not intend to slow development but that is the effect of regulations. The 5 year ban on AI being a good example, who else is going to do that?

                      Fair enough. But why should we be grateful they are so big? Especially when their growth is down to shady data dealings?

                      The vacuum would have been filled one way or another, the only possible consequence is that some billionaires might not be quite as rich from profitting off others data.

                      From what I have read it does seem to be 2 different ways of looking at the same problem. From what I have seen the US people seem to view the public vs the private and the public imposes on the private. Over here we seem to have a different view that the gov is somehow on the side of the citizen against the businesses. Although that gets complicated when people complain about the gov being in cahoots with business. *I know its actually more complicated and a mix on both sides of the pond but roughly.

                      I agree. Though I'd phrase it differently. Over here, people *expect* the governments to work for them, and whilst there are still some voters who expect that, some politicians will be like minded.

                      In America, (and becoming more so with the UK govenment) people are resigned to that fact that the politicians work for the corporations, and the lobbying has been able to take over.

                      Though, I do see America showing signs of getting better. Here, we seem to need things to get even shittier before we have our "let them eat cake" reaction.

                      I dont think this is a move to penalise America and yes its an own goal. I actually think its a control freak mentality which should scare people that the EU wants a centrally planned economy.

                      An 'own goal" from a purely captilist profiteering point of view, but to some people, it's a cautionary step (although admittedly it's pretty useless if the rest of the world doesn't agree to the same plans)

                      Still, if people are that concerned about that or any other EU actions, they can always vote them out, seeing it's a democratic institution after all!

                      Of course. This is the good governance vs bad where one considers the problem and the other reads the latest horror story and reacts. The expectation then growing that the gov will react to the latest overreaction and never do anything useful. Its an easy trap to fall into for any gov and ours has been guilty of it too.

                      So your issue with the AI restictions isn't that they decided to place them, but that in this case, the restrictions don't tally with any supposed issue?

                      Yeah, all governments tend to over-react to certain issues. Once an angry mob gets mobilised, governments will be seen to make some stupid unworkable laws that won't help anyway.. Politicians knowing this, you also get the situation where they purposely incite the mob so they can "appease" them by passing laws they wanted to pass in the first place. The number of times "think of the children" and "to catch terrorists" has been used as a smokescreen is witness to that.

                      However, the other side of the coin is that I don't want governments to *not* investigate/restrict something just because doing so will affect the profits of some mega-corp. That's where America is, and we are heading.

                      You are right with a, b and c but even without that yes. The data (1) requires ISPs to secure ‘opt-in’ consent from their customers before using information that is not sensitive in nature or even personally identifying; and it is a targeted restriction-

                      Well, assuming they are completely above board there, I'll admit it's not as bad as has been reported, but still, it's an automatic assumption of theirs that they own this data. You'd not expect the phone or postal companies to do similar.

                      And how can they truely guarantee information will be anonymised?

                      What about a URL http://www.somesite.com/search/does/jamie/jones/from/swansea/have/a/big/xxxx ?

                      All of this results in an “excessive burden” on ISPs, they claim, especially because not everyone else had to do the same. The new statute includes “no restrictions at all on the use, disclosure, or sale of customer personal information, whether sensitive or not, by the many other entities in the Internet ecosystem or traditional brick-and-mortar retailers,” the lawsuit complains.

                      Well, that's just silly of them. There is absolutely no burden on them to leave peoples data alone. In fact, the burden would be the one they claim to have put on themselves : anonymising the data they are collecting.

                      And if they were campaigning for the same rules to apply to all, then I'd be agreeing with them, though I think their comparisons are invaild - Let them set up a shop on their portal, and then let people know that "1,000 people ordered a barbeque set last month" - it's not the same thing as snooping on peoples data, whh is no different to having peoples phone conversations listened to and "anonymised".

                      The main difference is the selling of information that a customer has provided you, versus selling information between 2 separate parties that has nothing to do with you. That's a big diiffence!

                      1. codejunky Silver badge

                        Re: @Jamie Jones

                        @Jamie Jones

                        "Fair enough. But why should we be grateful they are so big? Especially when their growth is down to shady data dealings?"

                        It isnt quite about being grateful they are so big, they are so big because people choose them. If they didnt then these businesses wouldnt exist for much longer.

                        "The vacuum would have been filled one way or another, the only possible consequence is that some billionaires might not be quite as rich from profitting off others data."

                        Maybe. And the various technologies and contributions made by these companies wouldnt exist either. Something would fill the void, but if it didnt generate as much in riches then that would be a reduction in wealth for us all.

                        "I agree. Though I'd phrase it differently. Over here, people *expect* the governments to work for them, and whilst there are still some voters who expect that, some politicians will be like minded."

                        Ok. But that is a delusional view surely? Throughout all of history the idea of governments working for anyone but themselves has yet to be shown. Success usually requiring the reduction of such meddlers as governments are a single point of contact to corrupt and attract the power hungry.

                        "Still, if people are that concerned about that or any other EU actions, they can always vote them out, seeing it's a democratic institution after all!"

                        Can we? The EU dictating the waiting period of 5 years isnt something we can change (UK). And precautionary steps can be justified for most advancement. And it would of course stop progress.

                        "So your issue with the AI restictions isn't that they decided to place them, but that in this case, the restrictions don't tally with any supposed issue?"

                        My issue with the restrictions is they are stupid. They provide no benefit but slow progress in the EU while the world continues without them. That it is a stupid overreaction is another strike against it.

                        "just because doing so will affect the profits of some mega-corp. That's where America is, and we are heading."

                        Profit is not a swear word. Salary, pension, payment, etc all require profit. Profit is a good thing of itself. That doesnt mean bad actions can be justified by profit but we are not discussing bad actions. We are talking about popular, successful and profitable.

                        "Well, assuming they are completely above board there, I'll admit it's not as bad as has been reported"

                        You hit the nail on the head there. I agree.

                        "And if they were campaigning for the same rules to apply to all, then I'd be agreeing with them"

                        I think the basis of the argument is that the rule isnt so applied. If it was applied to all then there wouldnt be an argument.

                        "The main difference is the selling of information that a customer has provided you, versus selling information between 2 separate parties that has nothing to do with you. That's a big diiffence!"

                        How does the information have nothing to do with them? (want to make sure I understand)

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