Advertising Bureau Calls Mozilla's Privacy Plan "Kangaroo Cookie Court"

by Ostatic Staff - Jun. 26, 2013

It was only last week when the news broke that Mozilla would join forces with Stanford’s Center for Internet Society to support a new Cookie Clearinghouse that will oversee easy-to-use “allow lists” and “block lists” to help Internet users protect their privacy. The privacy scheme could become a default setup in the Firefox browser. As that news broke, it seemed likely that it might draw a caustic reaction from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), which has blasted Mozilla's attempts to control online ads and cookies before

Sure enough, without missing a beat, the IAB has an official post up mocking "Mozilla's Kangaroo Cookie Court."

According to the post, from Randall Rothenberg:

"Mozilla’s “Cookie Clearinghouse”  is neither new nor a proposal, inasmuch as the no. 2 browser-maker seems hell-bent on implementing on a tight deadline cookie-blocking by fiat. It is not a clearinghouse for cookies - it is a kangaroo cookie court, an arbitrary group determining who can do business with whom.  It replaces the principle of consumer choice with an arrogant 'Mozilla knows best' system. It is not 'independent,' as Mozilla claims, but is stocked with self-interested academic elites with whom Mozilla has long histories. Nor is it rational, trusted, or transparent."

Rothenberg adds this:

"Mozilla’s 'Cookie Court' is just another blatant attempt by a powerful tech company to destabilize efforts by multiple stakeholders to reach consensus about how lives and livelihoods should be aligned in the Internet era. Mozilla is reassembling the players whose inexperience and antipathy to negotiation and consensus have subverted the early W3C processes. Its members have blithely gloated about their willingness to 'put a number of third parties out of business.' They include technological totalitarians who dismiss negotiations with the haughty declaration that 'it’s very difficult to see a long-term consensus approach,' and who equate corporate imposition of 'the technologies at the browsers’ disposal' with 'the consumers’ side.”

Wow, you have to take in the full post. What a diatribe. For what it's worth, the board overseeing the new Cookie Clearinghouse actually seems diverse and well chosen. To establish the 'allow list' and 'block list' that the Cookie Clearinghouse will use, the group behind it is consulting with an advisory board that will include individuals from browser companies including Mozilla and Opera Software, academic privacy researchers, as well as individuals with expertise in small businesses and in European law.

Mozilla's Brandan Eich has also delivered a very even-keeled discussion of why Mozilla is backing the Cookie Clearinghouse.  He has called for responses and laid out good reasons for Mozilla's decision.

As we've noted before, the Safari browser already blocks third-party cookies by default, and many users appreciate that. You can expect to hear more objections from the IAB, though.