NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has called out websites for “user abuse” when they punish those who deny tracking cookies by administering “unnecessary” captcha tests.
“Unnecessary captcha use is user abuse.”
Unnecessary captcha use is user abuse. https://t.co/QMDeoimgSJ— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 29, 2019
Snowden was responding to an earlier tweet by a cryptographic and security engineering employee of Apple, Frederic Jacobs, who called out websites for penalising people who are trying to protect their privacy.
“Having a lot of reCAPTCHA prompts feels like punishment for blocking tracking cookies. If you maintain a website that uses them, you’re penalising people who are protecting their privacy,” said Jacobs.
Having a lot of reCAPTCHA prompts feels like punishment for blocking tracking cookies.— Frederic Jacobs (@FredericJacobs) August 26, 2019
If you maintain a website that uses them, you're penalizing people who are protecting their privacy.
Twitter users were quick to launch into the debate as some confirmed “it’s the worst” in reference to the practice.
It's the worst— Out of Context Posts from Redditchan (@redditchanner) September 29, 2019
Glad i’m not the only one that’s noticed that as of late. Captcha captcha everywhere— Naked Truth Podcast 🔞 (@nakedtruthguy) September 29, 2019
Any reCaptcha use is user abuse— CleverTrout (@clever_trout) September 29, 2019
CAPTCHA and its kind are utterly despicable.— Earth Ling (@Macak_Cat) September 29, 2019
Unnecessary data storage is abuse too. And data collection user agreements with no end date on consent or renewed consent.— Donnie (@Dhollida725) September 29, 2019
If only there was a privacy focused captcha option for developers.— Charlie Fish (@char_fish) September 29, 2019
CAPTCHA is also terrible for accessibility. People with impaired vision are at a significant disadvantage, and as someone who works with new (and timid) computer users all day every day, I can tell you it intimdates them. Gotta be a better way!— AndaliteBandit (@AndaliteBandit) September 30, 2019
Many netizens were annoyed at Google using the system to train AI via the internet users, who have had to take the test.
You may already know this but captcha was actually used by Google to teach their computer systems and to digitize books versus for security. They thought of it as free labor.— Mark Lamm (@mplamm68) September 29, 2019
...and supporting the development of AI for free— Denham Ellihat (@Adddenham) September 29, 2019
With recaptcha, you are google's employe you are labeling image data for Google's AI for free— yajounet (@yajount) September 29, 2019
to use captcha is to feed an I.A.— agn0sticus (@4gn0sticus) September 29, 2019
A CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) is a program aimed at protecting a website from bot attacks.
It does this by testing human responses, with many versions of it installing a cookie on one’s computer.
A reCaptcha is a similar system that uses the results of the test to develop machine learning or to digitise books.