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An article by the New York Times editorial board calling for privacy regulations was found serving invasive tracking scripts from 15 external domains, minimum. The NYT was contacted and asked to explain this “fundamental conflict of interest”, without success.

The companies that the NYT is talking about are financially connected to the newspaper, accounting for most of its online revenue. In many other domains, if editors would not disclose the nature of such a relationship, we would be speaking of collusion.  However, tracking became so pervasive “no one sees it anymore”, reads a post on a @Pinboard’s thread.

Such kind of contradiction is not new to the New York Times. An op-ed piece on his commitment to privacy written for the Times by Google's CEO served at least five undisclosed tracking scripts. Not to mention whatever Google Chrome, DNS networks, and smartphone OS may be reporting to.

The NYT covers political lobbying by the tech giants while distributing undisclosed tracking scripts to its readers that show to the Giants exactly what they want to know.

“Glad to see the New York Times covering the tech industry's corrupt DC lobbying today. I do wish the Times would add a disclaimer disclosing its financial relationship with big tech in such articles, which include Google…” writes Pinboard.

Paradoxically, disclosing the conflict of interest would help the New York Times’s coverage of privacy.

Also, according to Pinboard, the New York Times brand new “Privacy Project” page is stuffed with third-party tracking scripts.

Perhaps in an attempt to anticipate possible criticism, the Privacy Project did include an article about NYT digital privacy issues, that does little or nothing to address the problem.

Some people have suggested disabling JavaScript to browse through the New York Times in incognito mode. However, some sources don’t allow users to read the articles with JavaScript and cookies disabled, and some users are not tech-savvy enough to give it a try.

In most cases, tracking targets mobile browsers, where switching profiles or blocking JavaScript is harder than just giving in.

The problem of tracking is not confined to the New York Times or media in general, unfortunately.

But websites can survive even without: “I would like to just point out that @Pinboard and I have ZERO 3rd-party trackers on our sites. Somehow, we manage to survive. It can be done. See for yourself. Run a logger on our top sites,” said -inspiringly – Pinboard’s Maciej Cegłowski.

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