If Congress Thinks Cookies Violate Your Privacy, Wait’ll They Hear About This!

If you were to go to the Scout Analytics website dig into the info about their offerings, you’ll find that they tested their patent-pending technology for the last six months on hundreds of thousands of users (see the Press Release entitled “Scout Analytics(TM) Quantifies the Inaccuracy of Cookies as a Measure of Unique Users‘) The two techniques they cite as the basis for this study: biometric signatures and device signatures. The release is more revealing about the biometric approach than it is about the device signatures. The biometric signature is essentially an identifiable pattern in a person’s typing style. The device signature is something they are vaguer about, saying only it is based on “data elements collected from the browser to eliminate errors in device counting such as cleared cookies”. The test was meant to see not only how much overcounting of unique users there was, but how many unlicensed users there were of subscription content via multiple use of the same user account.
I wonder if they got the explicit permission of the subscribers to have their keystrokes and machines profiled? If this kind of approach were to spread beyond detection of licensing violations, I wonder how much sympathy regulators and legislators would have for it?

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