Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 30th Aug 2018 21:30 UTC
Mozilla & Gecko clones

Anyone who isn't an expert on the internet would be hard-pressed to explain how tracking on the internet actually works. Some of the negative effects of unchecked tracking are easy to notice, namely eerily-specific targeted advertising and a loss of performance on the web. However, many of the harms of unchecked data collection are completely opaque to users and experts alike, only to be revealed piecemeal by major data breaches. In the near future, Firefox will - by default - protect users by blocking tracking while also offering a clear set of controls to give our users more choice over what information they share with sites.

Firefox continues to do great work in this department.

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Example of creepyness
by emphyrio on Fri 31st Aug 2018 01:09 UTC
emphyrio
Member since:
2007-09-11

Lately I noticed an example of this creepyness which is somewhat less obvious: sometimes facebook performed targeted advertising based on your facebook acquaintances searches. If they happen to be closer than mere acquaintances, you'll be able to pinpoint quite accurately who of them caused which advertisement.

Reply Score: 2

ublock
by evert on Fri 31st Aug 2018 08:17 UTC
evert
Member since:
2005-07-06

Part of my default Arch install:

yaourt -S firefox-ublock-origin

Reply Score: 3

Targeted advertising
by WorknMan on Fri 31st Aug 2018 13:47 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

I've never really understood the hate for targeted advertising. If you hate ads like I do, you're probably going to block them, in which case you won't see them regardless. But if you're one of those people who don't mind ads, it seems like you would rather see ads for products and services you're actually interested in, instead of a bunch of random crap that doesn't interest you at all. The ad model only works if people are actually engaging with the ads, no?

So, what am I missing?

Reply Score: 5

RE: Targeted advertising
by flypig on Fri 31st Aug 2018 14:37 UTC in reply to "Targeted advertising"
flypig Member since:
2005-07-13

I'm not keen on viewing adverts (is anyone really?!), but I understand why they're useful, and I don't block them (I guess you could say that I tolerate them).

Moreover, I believe advertising works, otherwise companies wouldn't pay for it. So I accept, even though I don't like to admit, that my behaviour is altered by the adverts I view.

So what I don't want is companies building up a database about my character and preferences. The first reason is due to privacy: I want to be able to control who has access to my data, and I want to keep certain things private. The second is because I'm concerned about the control that this gives the companies: if they can use it to control my (and others') behaviour, then that gives them considerable unchecked power.

So, in short, I'm okay with paying for things through advertising, but I don't want to pay for things using my personal data, unless it's with my consent and under my control.

That's my take on why targeted advertising bothers me.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Targeted advertising
by WorknMan on Fri 31st Aug 2018 15:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Targeted advertising"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

The second is because I'm concerned about the control that this gives the companies: if they can use it to control my (and others') behaviour, then that gives them considerable unchecked power.


But isn't that the whole point of the ad model in the first place? For people to 'engage' with them? Like, they show you ads, and you respond, sort of like Pavlov's dogs. If you want them to keep serving you generic ads so you can keep ignoring them, then the whole model fails, so you might as well just block them.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Targeted advertising
by flypig on Fri 31st Aug 2018 15:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Targeted advertising"
flypig Member since:
2005-07-13

Yes, you're right, the whole point about the ad model is to control people's behaviour. But there are different levels of control, and my view is that allowing a company to target manipulation at the level of the individual, while at the same time having population-level feedback, is dangerous.

I understand that targeted adverts work better and more efficiently than generic ads, but the advertising model doesn't *rely* on targeting. Advertising is known to work even when individual-level targeting isn't possible (e.g. billboard or TV advertising).

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Targeted advertising
by WorknMan on Fri 31st Aug 2018 16:34 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Targeted advertising"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

But there are different levels of control, and my view is that allowing a company to target manipulation at the level of the individual, while at the same time having population-level feedback, is dangerous.


So it sounds like you're saying that a certain amount of manipulation by advertising is okay (a point that I vehemently disagree with, which is why I personally block ads), but not *too* much. Question is, is the amount you're comfortable with enough to make it profitable enough to allow the ad model to work?

Edited 2018-08-31 16:35 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Targeted advertising
by flypig on Fri 31st Aug 2018 17:12 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Targeted advertising"
flypig Member since:
2005-07-13

So it sounds like you're saying that a certain amount of manipulation by advertising is okay (a point that I vehemently disagree with, which is why I personally block ads), but not *too* much.


It's an interesting point. I guess I find it hard to imagine a world without advertising, so I accept it as inevitable. I can hardly conceive of advertising that isn't designed to manipulate (the closest I can think of is the Yellow Pages, but even that had picture ads designed to manipulate). I like to think that I'd rather pay for a service up-front, but on the other hand I've lived my whole life in a society where many services I use are funded by advertising, so it's hard to say whether I'd be willing to pay for *everything* up front.

Question is, is the amount you're comfortable with enough to make it profitable enough to allow the ad model to work?


This is a really good and important question. I guess I can't know for sure, but it's only recently (i.e. post-Google) that the ability to track has become so efficient that advertisers have been able to use it. I've lived in a world where advertising worked without tracking (because I'm old!) and it certainly generated profit back then.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Targeted advertising
by WorknMan on Fri 31st Aug 2018 18:22 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Targeted advertising"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I guess I find it hard to imagine a world without advertising


I don't think advertising in itself is necessarily a problem. I mean, there's a lot of products and services out there that could be very useful to people, and companies have to get word out about them *somehow*.

It's just that the model we have currently, where hundreds of commercial messages screaming 'BUY! BUY! BUY!' are being shoved down peoples' throats every day, in a way that's designed to target their 'reptilian' brains is really not good for society, IMO. Esp. when a lot of the shit being advertised is downright toxic.

Personally, I want absolutely nothing to do with any of it. As such, I would never turn off my ad blocker. Not for ANY amount of money somebody wished to pay me.

Edited 2018-08-31 18:23 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Targeted advertising
by kwan_e on Fri 31st Aug 2018 14:56 UTC in reply to "Targeted advertising"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

I've never really understood the hate for targeted advertising.
.
.
.
So, what am I missing?


You're missing the very well mentioned problem of the tracking required to do targeted advertizing on internet connected devices.

I mean, it's come up in thousands of articles and comments on this issue that you have no excuse not to understand what the real concern is.

You are even commenting on an article that has the word "tracking" explicitly in the title.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Targeted advertising
by WorknMan on Fri 31st Aug 2018 15:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Targeted advertising"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

You are even commenting on an article that has the word "tracking" explicitly in the title.


Honestly, I don't really care that they're tracking me to serve me more relevant ads, since I block them all anyway. So, track away, guys ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Targeted advertising
by kwan_e on Fri 31st Aug 2018 23:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Targeted advertising"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Good for you. But that wasn't the point. The problem was well explained before your comment so you had no excuse pretending not to understand why people had real concerns.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Targeted advertising
by shotsman on Sat 1st Sep 2018 19:05 UTC in reply to "Targeted advertising"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

But who says that I'm interested in X or Y?
Me? nope...
It is the Ad companies that decided that based upon my the data they have on me or you or anyone.
That is exactly why I hate it so much. It is creepy beyond creepy.
The only thing worse is the way Amazon keeps on sending me advert emails for an item that I have already bought.
Just how many concrete mixers do the think I need eh? Isn't one enough but that is off-topic.
My hatred for ALL adverts stems from me spending 11 months working for the IT Department for a company that was really a mini-google. I saw the way they collect data on each and everyone of us and manipulate in order to send targetted ad to the poor subjects.

Then there is the fact that this targetting can end up being embarrassing. What if you have been looking at getting a divorce but the other half knows nothing about it and as you are driving down the highway with the other party and you get a series of targetted ads that say
"Hey Dave, found that divorce lawyer yet? IF not try Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel!"
Opps!
The tracking that the likes of Google, FB and the rest do on all of us makes this possible.
All ads suck and targetted ads suck big time.

Edited 2018-09-01 19:09 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Targeted advertising
by WorknMan on Sun 2nd Sep 2018 15:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Targeted advertising"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Then why not block them? You're going to get served ads one way or the other, so just turn them all off. Problem solved.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Targeted advertising
by Soulbender on Tue 4th Sep 2018 03:53 UTC in reply to "Targeted advertising"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

i don't understand the hate for ads in general. It's like people want all this good content but they don't want to give even a dime for it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Targeted advertising
by zima on Thu 6th Sep 2018 00:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Targeted advertising"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Moreover, the practice of blocking all ads everywhere means that people don't know which sites respect them by showing moderate amount of ads...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Targeted advertising
by Gargyle on Tue 4th Sep 2018 17:22 UTC in reply to "Targeted advertising"
Gargyle Member since:
2015-03-27

This article is about third parties tracking the living hell out of you, not about advertisement on the internet.

Reply Score: 2

Iapx432
Member since:
2017-09-30

This (digital add based economy) is capitalism trying to survive in a world where the marginal cost (cost to duplicate) of information is virtually zero. And guess what ... the value of capital generated information - accuracy and mix between information you want and information you don't want (adds) - is also going to zero.

This contrasts with non capital generated information, such as Wikipedia and StackExchange - which are increasing in value.

Eventually people will reject valueless information and the system will break. I am looking forward to this. I don't like a world where the richest companies are those who skim our personal data and feed it back to us as mind numbing garbage - slight exaggeration to make a point. Imagine a world where the "richest" companies are those who cause sustainability, safety, freedom and sharing of wealth. Sounds crazy, but it shouldn't!

Reply Score: 1