Joomla! Wold Conference 2012 Keynote: Changing the world with Open Source

Pascal Finette gave a great keynote at Joomla! World Conference 2012 talking about how Mozilla came to be and what they learned along the way. He shares insights on how to build a competitive product, a healthy community and maybe even a business around it, but developing and governing it the open source way.

“You’re not anonymous. I know your name, email, and company.”

This is how Websites know your name, email and company even if you didn’t submit any information and weren’t logged in through social media.

The analogy at the end is the point:

A real-world analogue would be this scenario: You drive to Home Depot and walk in.  Closed-circuit cameras match your face against a database of every shopper that has used a credit card at Walmart or Target and identifies you by name, address, and phone.  If you happen to walk out the front door without buying anything your phone buzzes with a text message from Home Depot offering you a 10% discount good for the next hour.


NPO, what do you need cookies for?

If you try to visit any of the websites of the Netherlands Public Broadcasting service you get a pop-up informing about their use of cookies on their site and asking you for your consent in storing data about you in them.

NPO cookie consent pop-up

Well … if you click on the “decline” or “more information” links you are told to reconsider, because the use of cookies is essential for the working of the site (“Functionele cookies zijn strikt noodzakelijk voor de werking van de website”)!?! As a web developer I can say this is absolute bullshit. They also tell you why: because they “need” it for “managing” “web statistics, advertising and social media.” And of course them not being able to accurately (because you can track users without cookies) track you and siphon off your private data and selling your viewing habits, makes it technically impossible for them to serve you videos … see how they are linked?

Oh of course they have the obligatory “but none of the information can be linked to individuals … we value our users’ privacy” bullshit. If they really meant it, they wouldn’t force you to disclose this sort of information for a service that absolutely does not require it.

So it boils down to them denying you to watch TV programs that already got paid for in full (by the dutch tax payers, thank you for that ;), this also means there is no “need” to exploit your users) and forcing you to give up your privacy in order “for them to protect it” again … are you confused? … I am … this makes no sense!

Now I’m short of a media source for having a peek into another language/culture. 🙁

On a side note: despite all my rage I must admit, the reconsider allowing cookies page is really well done and does tell you in a simple way how cookies work and how they put them to use … I wish other sites were as open about it. 😉

Creepy Pregnancy Test

The NYT has a nice piece on how tracking your shopping habits allows marketing firms to determine if you are pregnant and how far along you are … even if you don’t know.

And there is a followup from Forbes.

Money Quote:

What Target discovered fairly quickly is that it creeped people out that the company knew about their pregnancies in advance.

“If we send someone a catalog and say, ‘Congratulations on your first child!’ and they’ve never told us they’re pregnant, that’s going to make some people uncomfortable,” Pole told me. “We are very conservative about compliance with all privacy laws. But even if you’re following the law, you can do things where people get queasy.” – NYT

– Forbes