Gotta agree with Alec Muffett here. I did a lot of game modding in high school and college. The skills I learned there were very influential in helping me get into a high-paying career as a software developer.
This is actually very tricky, as the fingerprinting comes by measuring a bunch of things that there are lots of legitimate, non-surveillance-related reasons to want to be able to measure. Thwarting it would basically require causing those APIs to lie, which would break a bunch of web apps.
I think this would be worthwhile for Google to do, but if they want to head off antitrust problems, they'd have to do it right: set it up in a way that makes it clear that they're not trying to cause problems for competitors.
IMO this would involve two steps. First, they should open-source it so all of the other ad-blocker developers can examine it, both to ensure that there's nothing bad in there and also so that they can incorporate useful principles into their own work.
Second, they should make it a discrete feature of the browser. Instead of being just another plugin, "the adblocker" would be A Thing, much like "the default browser" is A Thing in the operating system, and users could affirmatively change their adblocker from Chrome Adblocker to some other adblocker if they wished to do so.
Taking those two steps would give end-users all the benefits mentioned in the article while leaving competing adblocker developers with no reason to claim antitrust violations IMO.
Re: One man's terrorist is anothers freedom fighter
Don't be ridiculous. There's a very simple, clear, objective distinction to be made: legitimate freedom fighters fight against an oppressive regime, and attack government and military targets in the hopes of destabilizing their oppressors; terrorists attack civilians in the hopes of instilling terror in the populace.
There's plenty of room for ambiguity in this world; please don't try to inject more where none exists.
Rather than heavy-handed and open-ended regulations that stifle the Internet, we need a statute offering clear and enduring rules that balance innovation and investment for all parts of the Internet ecosystem.
I think this is the biggest part of the problem right here. Senator Thune is conflating "the Internet" with "Internet service providers." Given their long history of abusive behavior, yes, we absolutely do want to "stifle" them as much as possible, for the good of the (actual) Internet!
the fact that, whatever else one might want to say about President Trump, his administration is certainly active, meaning there is much more about which to leak.
This has long been one of my observations about American politics: Democrats are, generally speaking, well-meaning but ineffective, whereas Republicans really know how to get things done, but the things they get done tend to be horrifying!
Coca-Cola has built a large business on their branding. The "secret formula" to Coke isn't all that secret; you can find it floating around the Web easily enough.
The true "secret" to the flavor is that they use coca leaf extract with all the actual cocaine removed, and of course the government is not all that keen on letting people import it. (Unless of course you're Coca-Cola and can invoke "whoever has the gold makes the rules.") So it's very difficult for anyone else to replicate the exact taste.
I think part of it is perception. Google provides a valuable public service, whereas Uber seems to be engaged in a full-out sprint lately to see how fast they can reach, and then surpass, Comcast levels of corporate evil in the public eye. When you go supporting them over Google in a straight-up corporate espionage case in which (assuming the allegations are correct of course) they are clearly in the wrong, just because something something patents something something, it looks really bad.
What’s more, the German government has a long, sad history of using Article 103 to silence people who criticize foreign despots like the Shah of Iran and Chile’s Augusto Pinochet.
Now, I don't know enough about Pinochet to speak on the subject, but by all accounts he was a pretty rough guy. I do know that the Shah of Iran doesn't deserve to be spoken of in his company.
The problem with assassinating the character of someone in living memory is that there are still people around who remember them. For example, my mom lived in Iran under the Shah, growing up. (My grandfather was an engineer doing contract work there at the time.) She and her sisters have a lot of happy memories of that time, because the Shah was building Iran into the sort of place where Western, Christian girls could feel safe. He was improving opportunities for women in his country, he was reducing the oppressive influence of Islam on society, and he was making education more widely available.
Whatever his personal faults may have been, his agenda as a leader was to make Iran a more civilized place, and he was actually succeeding! Right up until the Islamist barbarians overthrew him, that is, plunging the country into a totalitarian hellhole that it has still not recovered from.