Re: Meta-Cookies, privacy, and encryption

Gregory Houston (
Fri, 14 Feb 1997 17:18:59 -0600

Alexander Chislenko wrote:

> Browsers already store your network preferences.
> More complex, structured profile, with personal descriptions and
> preferences and rules of sharing them, as well as intelligent software
> that makes use of them for your benefit, are exactly what we are doing
> at Firefly now - and other companies are entering the space as well -
> under the names of software agents, ACF, etc.
> It sure is a promising field.

This is great. I have a suggestion. Imagine a ticker tape cgi program
that the user can customize at some particular webpage by entering
fields of interests, people of interest, business's and organizations of
interest, etcetera. The ticker tape would then be constantly updated
with information regarding late breaking news on these subjects.
Clicking on the subject in the ticker tape would take you to that
information. Once the ticker tape has been defined, the person can put
it at the top of their home page so that every time they log on its
immiediately accessed. Putting the ticker tape on the home page would be
done in the same way many people put counters on their homepages by
accessing the cgi program on other servers, in this case the server
running the ticker tape. Then specialized sites could use this ticker
tape on their web pages also by defining the subjects of interest for
that site specifically. A nanotechnology site for instance would have a
ticker tape at the top [or elsewhere] with late breaking news dealing
with nanotechnology and related science. New news would knock off old
news so that even if there hasn't been anything new, there will still be
a set number of ticker tape items scrolling across this small and
unobtrusive html embedded cgi object.

I would suggest a hyperlinked table of contents on your essay for ease
of reference.

I am particularly intrested in microcosmic automated collaborative
filtering (ATF). How can I apply this emerging technology within my
website as well as beyond it?

In the essay, located in the URL of your sig text, it said,
"Explanations of the workings of the technology and
analysis of the current market are not my purpose here [...]". I would
be interested in an article that did delve into the technology a bit.
I'd like to know how this is to be implemented. Will it be in the
browser, or will it be cgi, or something else. Again, I would like to
see how I could use perhaps stripped down, stream-lined, less complex
ATFs on my own site. Something easily implented using JavaScript, CGI,
or ActiveX.

"The problem here is that while machines store and pass messages, they
do not know what to store and where to pass it. So,
they process everything." [ATF article]

This topic is covered a great deal in the IBM Systems Journal Vol. 35,
Nos 3&4, 1996. This particular issue of the journal is focused on the
MIT Media Lab. A highly recommended read.

"Some caveats exist here as well. If a people's expertise and tastes in
some area are underdeveloped, a straightforward ACF system might provide
them with the advice of their "laggard" affinity group that may give
them support but not help in developing beyond their current level."
[ATF article]

Wonderful. This would be particularly useful for personalized online
education [which one day might usurp traditional public education], and
for Elists such as this which cover such varied topics. You mention
"support but not help" here, but I think such a system could be
assimilated into a personalized school curriculum so that the individual
could attain degrees of both. In such a system the human teachers role
becomes referential rather than authoritarian. Student phone call or
email to teacher: "I have studied such and such information that my ATF
has recommended yet I still am unable to understand this concept. Could
you please help me." The ATF might even recommend someone to else to
contact within the instituition, perhaps beyond it, who is more
knowlegeable in this topic than the teacher/advisor.

"The applications mentioned above move beyond mere information
filtering." [ATF article]

I tend to bring up issues involving the emotions and the subconscious as
often as I can. In this case I think it might be interesting if
personalized real-time memetic engineered subliminals might be added to
a person's content based on their preferences, restrictions, habits, and
aspirations. This would broaden the relevant effectual/affectual range
of particular ATFs. ATFs already nudge us towards information at the
conscious level, why not take it a step further so that they nudge and
even help motivate us towards information and particular modalities of

Included for the links:
> Alexander Chislenko <>
> ACF theory paper: <>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gregory Houston