BBC BLOGS - See Also
« Previous | Main | Next »

Tech Brief

Post categories:

Mark Ward | 12:12 UK time, Thursday, 23 September 2010


On Tech Brief today: the cookies that refuse to die and European politicians want you to stop file-sharing.

• As if web users were not watched enough, now come zombie cookies. Persistent versions of the little text files lots of sites use to track visitors. The difference being, says Jacqui Cheng at Ars Technica, that these cannot be killed. Just like zombies. Particularly worrying is the evercookie created by Samy Kamkar.

"When implemented by a website, evercookie stores a user ID and cookie data in not two, not three, but eight different places--with more on the way. Among them are your standard HTTP cookies, Flash cookies, RGB values of force-cached PNGs, your Web history, and a smattering of HTML5 storage features. In addition, Silverlight Storage and Java are apparently on the way."

• There are all kinds of ways for a company to get its message out but Netflix has shown definitely how not to do it. The net-streaming movie service has been caught out paying actors to pose as customers during a launch event. Cory Doctorow from BoingBoing wonders why it thought it could get away with it.

"It's funny how bizarre a corporate culture this move implies, a board-room full of people inhabiting a reality-distortion bubble nodding enthusiastically to one another, saying, 'Yeah, sure, sure, no one will ever find out that they're all actors. It'll be great. Really, really great!'"

• File-sharers beware, European politicians are upset with what you do. David Meyer at ZDNet reports that the European Parliament has adopted the Gallo report which recommends a crackdown on copyright infringement.

"Although it stops short of recommending the three-strikes rule, the Gallo report calls for greater enforcement of copyright law. Much of the report is devoted to lambasting the Commission for not having a sufficiently strong framework in place for defending intellectual property rights (IPR). The report also suggests that the EU needs to introduce criminal sanctions for copyright infringement, in addition to the civil sanctions that are already available to rights holders."

• Google is also mad as hell and isn't going to take it anymore. Dan Goodin at The Register details the action it is taking against rogue pushers of prescription pills.

"In a federal lawsuit filed on Tuesday, the search behemoth accused the owners of two websites of intentionally bypassing prohibitions preventing unlicensed online pharmacies from selling drugs through its AdWords program. According to the complaint, the advertisers used a variety of tricks to evade technical restrictions designed to enforce the policy."

• The humble barcode is throwing off its humble trappings and emerging as the portal through which cyberspace will flood reality. Chad Catacchio at The Next Web takes a look at how the barcode, and its sharp-suited sibling the QR code, is morphing.

"One of the emerging focuses of geolocation startups has been to transform QR codes and barcodes into a way to not only confirm that a person has physically been present at place, but also as a way to either add a web note to the barcode (whether as a check-in, picture, status update or even a video) and/or to "unlock" secret messages or prizes. Mainly because of these two reasons, this idea should have a lot of appeal to marketers, especially marketers that sell retail merchandise."

If you want to suggest links or stories for Tech Brief, you can send them to @bbctechbrief on Twitter, tag them bbctechbrief on Delicious or e-mail them to

More from this blog...

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.