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Phuket Live Wire: The real meaning of ‘Do Not Track’

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Live Wire: The real meaning of ‘Do Not Track’ | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Professionally, I live in a world that’s just about equally divided between people who run around with tin foil hats on their heads, and people who don’t particularly care about internet privacy.

In 1999, Scott McNealy, the former CEO of Sun Microsystems, famously said, “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.” Steve Manes, the guy who wrote the original article quoting Scott, continued, “He’s right on the facts, wrong on the attitude… Instead of ‘getting over it,’ citizens need to demand clear rules on privacy, security and confidentiality.”

Times have changed a bit. Scott spent more than 20 years as head of Sun. He’s not in the computer business any more; he’s the commissioner of the Alternative Golf Association. Larry Ellison’s Oracle bought Sun in 2010. Steve Manes (“man-iss”) – who’s a great guy, in addition to being a tremendous writer – realized a long-held dream and started writing kids’ books, movie scripts and non-fiction.

So who’s right? Scott or Steve? I’m inclined to agree with Steve, but Scott certainly does have a point.

One month ago today, Microsoft made a huge step in the direction of helping to protect consumer privacy. Yes, that Microsoft.

To explain exactly what Microsoft did, I have to dig a bit into the technology, so bear with me.

Whenever you go to a web site, your browser leaves certain fingerprints: the name of your browser, your operating system, your IP address, time zone, screen size, whether cookies are enabled, the address of the last web site you visited, that kind of thing. I’m not talking about cookies. I’m talking about data that’s inside the “header” at the beginning of the interaction with every web page.

Even if you go “incognito” (in Chrome), “private” (in Firefox), or “In Private” (in Internet Explorer), your browser still sends all of that information to every site, every time you visit.

The Do Not Track proposal – and it’s only a proposal at this point – would assign one more bit in the header that says, “The person using this browser requests that you not track anything they are doing.”

Do Not Track (DNT to its friends) was originally developed by Firefox. You can turn on DNT in any recent version of Firefox by clicking the Firefox button, Options, Privacy, and checking the box that says “Tell web sites I do not want to be tracked.”

At this point, Twitter and Yahoo state categorically that they support Do Not Track: if you have the DNT bit set in your browser, those sites promise that they won’t track you at all. Google and AOL have also committed to supporting DNT although, as of this writing, I don’t think either of them has actually implemented it.

Here’s what Microsoft did that’s so revolutionary: In the test version of the upcoming, new Internet Explorer 10 browser, Microsoft turned on the DNT bit by default. If you want to turn off DNT, you can, but if you don’t do anything, IE 10 signals to every site that you visit that you don’t want to be tracked.

As with everything internet related, DNT isn’t cut-and-dried. There are lots and lots of nuances.

First and foremost, it’s entirely voluntary: Web sites can ignore the DNT bit if they want to. Second, the precise definition of “track” can get a little squishy.

Third, there’s no possible way to enforce the DNT settings – no way to tell which of the billions of web sites now readily accessible even claim to have a DNT policy, much less implement it.

Eighteen months ago, the US Federal Trade Commission published a report (W: 1.usa.gov/hUv6qF) that endorsed the idea, but didn’t fill out the details.

Since then, the major tracking companies and browser manufacturers (Google happens to fall into both camps, as does Microsoft) have been negotiating and fleshing out the details of a possible DNT approach.

Eighteen months later, we still don’t have anything definitive – no proposals, no regulations. While the rest of the world runs on internet time, the W3C – the internet standards body, which has representatives from both the tracking companies and the browser companies – runs in very slow motion.

The W3C came out in opposition to Microsoft’s move. Their opinion is that users need to express their own preference, and the browser maker should not make the decision for them.

Some members of the W3C committee on DNT wanted the group to go on record as saying that websites should ignore IE 10’s DNT setting because users had not been forced to make the decision themselves. Of course, the same group is quiet about Firefox’s decision to make DNT a rather obscure option.

Microsoft certainly has ulterior motives in all of this, but that doesn’t lessen the impact of their decision to enable DNT by default in their next browser. Suddenly, DNT is front and center on the political agenda – not just among geeks, and not just in the US – and with a bit of luck we’re going to see some movement on the topic.

Will DNT spell the end of advertising as we know it? Of course not. But, it probably will lessen the tracking companies’ ability to target ads.

Last week, the European Commission asked W3C to require browser makers to offer DNT as an option when the browser is installed or used for the first time. Microsoft’s shot across the bow has brought some action, at long last.

Of course, it doesn’t really say anything about how DNT should be enforced on web sites, if at all. But it is a step in the right direction. Even for the folks who wear tin foil hats.

If you have a browser that supports DNT, you can check to see if it’s working at my browser testing site.

Woody’s Sandwich Shoppes hold computer sessions under the tutelage of Seth Bareiss every other Wednesday afternoon, from 1 to 3pm. If you have a Windows problem that needs to be solved, drop by one of Seth’s free afternoon sessions. Details in the Phuket Gazette Events Calendar.

Live Wire is Woody Leonhard’s weekly snapshot of all things internet in Phuket.

Follow him on Twitter: @PhuketLiveWire, and “like” the pages at facebook.com/SandwichShoppe and facebook.com/phuketgazette.net.

— Woody Leonhard

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.

The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.

One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.

This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.

This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.

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Bangkok

The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations

The Thaiger

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The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com

In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.

But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.

Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.

In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.

The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.

By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.

Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.

You can read the full list HERE.

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

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Phuket

Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works

The Thaiger

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Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works | The Thaiger

The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.

The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.

The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.

Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.

As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.

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