Archive for September, 2010

Ringleader Mediastamp Lawsuit

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

New York mobile advertising company Ringleader was hit Wednesday with a proposed class action lawsuit over its use of their propriatory mobile cookie technology called Mediastamp. Mediastamp is a HTML5 trick to track iPhone and iPad users across a number of websites.

Ringleader uses HTML5’s client-side database-storage capability as a substitute for the traditional cookie tracking employed by all major online ad companies. Mobile Safari users visiting sites with Ringleader ads are assigned a unique ID number ,which is stored by the browser, and recalled by Ringleader whenever they revisit.

The technology enables frequency capping and user recognition, both of which are needed in the online ecosystem. In the online world, cookies are widely deployed and used. So the reason Ringleader is being suit is not the ability to recognize the user, or the exchange of PII, but the fact that users cannot opt out.

According to Wired Magazine (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/09/html5-safari-exploit/) the tracker, labeled RLDGUID, does not go away when one clears cookies from the browser. In addition, it is reported that users savvy enough to find and delete the database have found it returning mysteriously with the same ID number as before — a result the lawyers suing Ringleader say they’ve reproduced.

HTML5’s database storage is a highly touted feature designed to allow websites to locally store data on the user’s computer — a boon for offline use of a browser app. The HTML5 local storage feature lets sites store certain types of data on your hard drive for quicker access later on. For example, a Webmail service could use this feature to store some of your inbox data on your hard drive, so that when you visit your Webmail inbox, it’ll load more quickly.

my phone with ringleader mediastamp cookie

my phone with ringleader mediastamp cookie

Oh Brave New World

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

We recently came back from a few days in China. I have seen quite a bit of this planet already, but Shanghai was significantly more amazing than anything I had experienced before. Our import dollars are hard at work over there, and the resulting infrastructure is nothing short of spectacular. Even more shocking are the crowds: in the shopping malls, on the streets, at the main tourist attractions. Mindboggling.

We also checked out the World’s Fair. I had wondered why we still need an Expo like this. Well, now I know the answer: 70 million Chinese are expected to attend the show, check out the pavilions, and learn about different cultures. The World’s Fair is educating an entire people about the world they are starting to dominate. Oh brave new world…