Friday, October 14, 2005


How serious are these ?? any privacy infringements?? pl enlighten on this issue
Just search : yahoo +web + beacon ..for more insight............................................

some Infowars story

some newsfactor story

read elsewhere..someone who informed abt this beacons in his egroups got his gps shut by yahoo..ennamo nadakuthu !!

This is what a friend recently asked me. This is not like the IIPM issue, where you would be sent a 'notarized email' and 'sued' for $2.7 million for writing about them. So, I decided to 'investigate' a little.

The Yahoo! Privacy! page on web-beacons is full of weasel words.

# Yahoo! uses web beacons to conduct research on behalf of certain partners on their web sites and also for auditing purposes.
# Information recorded through these web beacons is used to report aggregate information about Yahoo! users to our partners. This aggregate information may include demographic and usage information. No personally identifiable information about you is shared with partners from this research.
Usage information? Certain partners? Who are those partners?

If some country or its newest friend decides that I am a terrorist and wants to see what websites I visit, this would be certainly used against me! After all, this is the country where government blocks access to yahoogroups because some separatists in North East were using it, arrests the CEO of an auction site because some desparate IIT student (isn't that redundant?) sold a porn clip on that site, and the police closes down a five-star hotel's bar and arrests the manager and a bar-tender based on clandestine pictures of a private party taken and published in a vernacular newspaper.
"No personally identifiable information about you is shared with partners from this research".
-- This comes from the company that handed over 'personally identifiable information' of a journalist to 'comply with local laws.'

And, what do we see here?
Note: This opt-out applies to a specific browser rather than a specific user. Therefore you will have to opt-out separately from each computer or browser that you use.
The optout is for EACH COMPUTER AND BROWSER combination!!!
# Yahoo!'s practice is to include web beacons in HTML-formatted email messages (messages that include graphics) that Yahoo!, or its agents, sends in order to determine which email messages were opened and to note whether a message was acted upon
There is nothing wrong with companies auditing their advertising strategy, but this just takes things too far. Whey does Yahoo! need to know which emails I open or not? If I don't open an email from a particular sender, what would they do? Stamp it out as spam? The spam I receive has certainly not gone down!
In general, any file served as part of a web page, including an ad banner, can act as a web beacon. Yahoo! may also include web beacons from other companies within pages served by Yahoo! so that Yahoo!'s advertisers may receive auditing, research and reporting.
This is one reason why ads have to blocked, and I recommend the adblocking plugin for Mozilla Firefox.

With Yahoo! recently giving up details about a Chinese journalist, it won't be long before that friend would be sent to a certain place in Occupied Cuba (or its partner site in India!)

Thursday, October 13, 2005


I thought this would be a good week, but things don't turn out as expected. My friend from Chandigarh, on a vacation and staying with me, wanted to go see a movie, so we went to see The Grudge at Gem, in Bandra. The tickets were sold out in 10 minutes for the afternoon show. Since we had to while away our time till the next show, we went to 'The Great Punjab'. The food was good, but very costly. A litre of water (MRP Rs. 10) cost Rs. 40. In comparison, a litre of petrol costs Rs. 42 ONLY! The service was not bad at all, compared to how people who appear non-rich were treated at such pricey places. We found out why the tickets were sold out for an old movie when we went inside - the 'theatre' was so small, my house was bigger than that! It had only 45 seats, in 6 rows!! We were the only 'older' guys there among a bunch of college kids. With 1/2 the population female, I expected a lot of screams during the frightening scenes. To my disappointment, they were all laughing. Have people become so desensitised to humans suffering at the hands of ghosts?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


The office had a party today - for a Gujarati festival called Dandiya. I don't what it stands for, but people dance around in a circle, clapping hands and/or hitting sticks. They made me dance in that circle! Apart from the normal 'wheatish' faces, there was a very pink face in the crowd. It was the face of a French guy. It is not everyday we see French people working in India!. Tomorrow is a holiday for Dusherah - a Bengali festival. Kali is supposed to be the patron goddess for Bengalis (and Mysoreans). What a day it must've been for him - a party on the first day, and a holiday the next!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Kashmir Earthquake

Very bad week, that was! First, the cable guy finds out the cable connection was illegal and takes it away. The share markets plunge and I might have lost a bundle, the new electricity meter increases my 'consumption' by 80%, and the trekking trip that was supposed to be on Sunday gets cancelled!

I was planning to go to Mahuli with a friend - he gets down with a bad stomach and I had to cancel it. My friend from Chandigarh drops in early Sunday morning. He misses the earthquake as he was on the train already and had crossed into Madhya Pradesh. Late in the evening, we went to Lokhandwala Garden for the Durga Puja festival. Some Bengali restaurants had turned that festival into an impromptu Bengali food festival with pricey food. Atleast I had some decent fish yesterday. I got a free cap, 'won' a free audio cassette, and got free internet coupons! That was the only consolation after a bad week.

Funny, how some disaster brings out the truth in politics. Before the earthquake, Pakistanis were saying Kashmir (Pakistan occupied) was a sovereign state and Jammu & Kashmir (Indian state) was 'Indian-occupied-territory', and the Indian government and media were telling it was Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. After the earthquake, we get reports of _Pakistani army bunkers_ caving in and killing _Pakistani soldiers_, media reports of the epicentre being in "Muzaffarbad, Pakistan". No reports of the "Kashmiri Prime Minister", only _Pakistani PM_ visiting the 'affected areas' and _Pakistani President_ appealing to 'friends' for support. He doesn't want to ask India for help because of his ego! Indian TV stations first report of Earthquake in North India (with tremors felt in Pakistan also), BBC reports from Delhi about earthquake near Islamabad (though Muzaffarbad is closer to India than Islamabad), CNN shows footage of an Indian TV (which shows footage of a Pakistani TV). I wonder how long something can be called a 'breaking news'; CNN was showing the morning earthquake as breaking news at midnight.