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PCFriendly DVD Backchannel
From: Matt Curtin <cmcurtin () interhack net>
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2002 17:26:58 -0500

PCFriendly Enables DVD Backchannels


  Numerous DVD titles from major movie producers between 1996 and 2000
  come enabled with ``PCFriendly,'' an application developed by
  InterActual Technologies that tracks DVD usage.  The system is
  designed to identify users persistently, without using an HTTP
  cookie, thus bypassing any privacy-enhancing technologies like
  cookie management software or browser configurations.  The
  identifying token is persistent through product registration and
  PCFriendly use.
  Normal use of popular DVD titles on computers will result in users
  being identified verinymously, along with the DVDs that were used on
  the machine.  Privacy problems for the user are significantly
  exacerbated by the DVD titles' links to Web sites, some of which
  have nonexistent privacy policies and in at least one case, send the
  user's email address to a third party.
  This behavior conflicts directly with the PCFriendly posted privacy
  policy of December 2000.  Further discussion with InterActual showed
  that the policy was written to apply to the newer InterActual
  Player, released to replace the PCFriendly player, for which no
  privacy policy existed.
  PCFriendly appears to offer users granular control over which parts
  of the backchannel to enable, but the controls are not obvious, and
  are all enabled by default.  Further, the software has been
  deprecated in favor of the newer InterActual Player, which includes
  additional features for user control over backchannel behavior.

Matt Curtin, Founder  Interhack Corporation  http://web.interhack.com/
My new book,  /Developing Trust: Online Privacy and Security,/  is now
available.  See site for details.  research | development | consulting

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