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Privacy Groups Want Feds To Investigate Targeted Ads

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the brought-to-you-by-the-letter-h dept.

Advertising 71

ciscoguy01 tips news that three privacy groups are asking the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether ad networks are "unfairly tracking Americans and profiting from their data." According to Wired, "Companies named in the complaint (PDF) include Google, Yahoo, PubMatic, TARGUSinfo, MediaMath, eXelate, Rubicon Project, AppNexus, and Rocket Fuel. At issue is a growing market of targeted, real-time ads, where advertisers can choose to show ads to people based on their age, gender, income and location — as well as their recent online behavior — often on unrelated sites that let third parties track users.... Third-party cookie tracking isn't new, but as the complaint points out, marketers are increasingly trying to augment that data with other data sets, such as the social network data that Rapleaf harvests and resells.... Tying ad cookies to personally identifiable data would let marketers successfully combine online and offline data on website visitors to build a complete digital dossier on a user."

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Good luck with that (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31807294)

The government will allow the private sector to do what it is politically unable to do itself. Once enough data is collected, the state can access it under National Security Letters when it needs to. All this without the political and legal consequences of the state operating the system itself.

Re:Good luck with that (3, Insightful)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807818)

It's scary when things make too much sense...

*dons tin foil hat*

Re:Good luck with that (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31810722)

That hat won't protect you, nor will your gun or any semblance of power you may feel you wield by owning one.

True democratic power is the only way. The problem being that widespread media influences the largely imbecilic populous to keep following the way.

Speak truth and incite criticism and true interest among your peers. Spread knowledge and activism through your own example. Teach others the truth about things and your passion for it will spread onto them.

When the majority will not simply accept something. When the majority will LITERALLY sit down and say "NO WAY", then we will get what we really want.

Right now, what 'we' really want, is largely biased by the ignorant sheeple 'we' that make up the majority. They decide votes from television and receive what they think is their own 'opinions' from paid mouths. Lead by example and your integrity and honor will influence them to follow you.

Re:Good luck with that (4, Insightful)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807952)

Correct but they don't need National Security Letters for this. They already buy, access, and store a ton of private sector data. It's not a loophole, it's the St. Louis arch, and its been open for years.

It's a little naive to think that segments of the government haven't their fingers in the development of various private sector companies since the beginning. Between CIA venture money, DARPA grants, large government contract awards, carefully placed personnel, etc., this far from some fortunate development that fell from the sky for them.

Re:Good luck with that (3, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808172)

Da-mit.

I was just thinking to myself, "So what if Microsoft or some orther megacrop knows my personal tastes and targets ads that I'd be interested in seeing?" Then you had to mention the government. It never occurred to me that the US Congress or EU Parliament might simply TAKE the information and use it for their own nefarious purposes.

Re:Good luck with that (2, Insightful)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808750)

That's a good point. People often forget that many people in government aren't there for life. They either came from business and/or go to business after working in the government. So it isn't an either/or situation at all.

Not Trolling ... (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807308)

... but is this part of the price we pay for free websites?

AFA harvesting data from social networking sites, well, if you're willing to post every detail of your life you can't be surprised if someone, or some company, is willing to suck up that data. It doesn't make it right, but I find it hard to feel sorry for people who want their lives to be a "web based reality show" for their friends but don't want anyone to actually use that information (either for marketing or for passing judgement on their character when it comes to employment, etc).

Re:Not Trolling ... (1, Troll)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807792)

Not trolling either. If ads were informational - telling me what I can find, where and at the cheapest price - why would that be a bad thing? I was looking for a new cpu cooler, if the data they have on me would help me find one, I would be all for it. I think ads drive the economy and should only be controlled if they try to prevent access to choice. Seriously, people need to worry about other things.

Re:Not Trolling ... (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808074)

If ads were informational - telling me what I can find, where and at the cheapest price - why would that be a bad thing?

There's the problem. They aren't (generally)

Ads seem to mostly be about informing you of a problem you didn't know you had, then telling you where to buy the solution.

"Oh, I see you are shopping for CPU coolers. You need to buy our Viagra clone. Only available from Schlongmaster of Korea. Mail us cash now!"

Re:Not Trolling ... (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808774)

"Oh, I see you are shopping for CPU coolers. You need to buy our Viagra clone. Only available from Schlongmaster of Korea. Mail us cash now!"

Um, that's probably because of the number of pages you were viewing that, um, were of an entirely different nature.

Re:Not Trolling ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31809048)

... and targeted ads are trying to change that, mostly, yet people rage against them.

Ad companies: Hey guys, we'd like to use some information to make the ads you see more relevant to you.
People: OH GOD NO THAT WOULD BE TERRIBLE DON'T DO THAT

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_D_Z-D2tzi14/S7-Y_ENECiI/AAAAAAAACoQ/I9s1cpAlbGk/s320/adpost2.png [blogspot.com]

Re:Not Trolling ... (2, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31809368)

Since I *never* buy stuff based on ads (if I need a CPU or whatever, I'll research for the most appropriate), the difference between non-targeted and targeted ads is only how much information they store about me. Not that I care enough to use proxies to browse, but I don't have any reason to prefer them either.

Re:Not Trolling ... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31814202)

Exactly, I never click on ads so if someone looks hard enough at my cookies they should be able to work out it's not worth seving ads up to me.

Re:Not Trolling ... (4, Insightful)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31809408)

How about
People: We have learned never to trust advertisers to do anything that is remotely in our interests. Don't try to tell us you are trying to make your ads more relevant to us. We don't believe you.

The advertising industry has broken my trust for decades. It'll take at least that long for them to regain it.

Re:Not Trolling ... (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808862)

I think much of the fear about this sort of thing is that it will be misused in the same way a fingerprint [washingtonpost.com] on a train in Spain were used to finger the wrong man (pardon the pun). It was a partial print, and was determined to be good enough to pass three "experts" at the FBI, and they dragged this guy's name through the mud, all to admit later that he was the wrong man. Imagine the same thing being done with this sort of info.

FBI: Hey, we have a hit on our SuperDuperTerroristCatchingProgram! They just looked for the same set of individually innocuous household items our program determined 86% of alleged terrorists look for before allegedly doing something bad!

FBI Supervisor: Well, we don't know how accurate this program is since we don't have the foggiest idea of how it works and haven't scientifically proven anything about, so let's go scoop him/her/them up and see what happens! Make sure to accuse them publicly of being a terrorist when you do it!

Re:Not Trolling ... (3, Insightful)

NotBorg (829820) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808370)

If I pay them will they stop spying on me? I doubt it. In fact we probably give up even more privacy by paying for content.

... but is this part of the price we pay for free websites?

How can this be a price for free websites if the same applies to pay sites? Just because you don't see adds doesn't mean they aren't tracking you.

Ultimately it comes down to choice. The one you don't have. Currently you can't choose to not be tracked. Not without extra software which may or may not be successful at stopping it (kinda like virus protection). You don't get a notice about being tracked and you don't get the option to opt out. It would be one thing if you could opt out and as a result you wouldn't be able to access the content. At least then the price would be upfront instead of a dirty secret.

In truth I don't care much about targeted ads. I don't see many of them, thanks to adblock any way. Even if I did see lots of relevant ads I wouldn't click on them. When I want to buy something I go directly to the manufactures web sight or a trusted retailer. I'll do a Google search before I click on an ad. Why? Ad companies can't be trusted. It is that simple.

Don't get me started on the abuse that goes beyond privacy. I've said it before and I'll say it again. The collect calling ads on TV did more to insure people hit mute on their remote for every ad break than any other ad campaign in history. They were that fucking annoying that they are still costing advertisers money today. An ad break comes up and people hit mute so fucking fast it ain't even funny.

If you have a site that depends on ad revenue you'd best spend your time policing the content and behavior of your ad providers. Keep doing that for a bout 10 years to make up for the 10 years of no one policing them at all. Then **maybe then** I may start trusting them enough to unblock them. I'm sorry you can't get the revenue you'd like from ads. Someone shit (ad companies) in that bed and I won't climb in there with them until long after the stench is gone--and even then they'd better be damn hot. Pick another business model because everyone can smell the dookie.

Re:Not Trolling ... (1)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 4 years ago | (#31812258)

... but is this part of the price we pay for free websites?

AFA harvesting data from social networking sites, well, if you're willing to post every detail of your life you can't be surprised if someone, or some company, is willing to suck up that data. It doesn't make it right, but I find it hard to feel sorry for people who want their lives to be a "web based reality show" for their friends but don't want anyone to actually use that information (either for marketing or for passing judgement on their character when it comes to employment, etc).

Well, yes and no.

Yes, if you post information in a public forum you should expect that anyone who wants it will take it. Yes, behind the scenese this is the price we pay for "free" websites.

But no, I don't think people using Facebook realise that everything they look at is being tracked, indexed and stored, regardless of what privacy settings they have in place. No, I don't think people using GMail realise that the content of the emails they send and receive is being trawled, analysed and stored for marketing purposes (in fact I KNOW they aren't - I've had the discussion many times with GMail drones).

At the very least it would be nice to see a law requiring the full disclosure, in non-legalese, of what is being collected and with whom it is being shared. They shouldn't be allowed to advertise these services as "free" either - the exchange should be made explicit.

Re:Not Trolling ... (1)

iphinome (810750) | more than 4 years ago | (#31814600)

Reading information people place in a public place... okay

Storing said information... well nothing you can do about it really.

Selling all the data your stored... Ding Ding Ding copyright infringement, bonus points for it being commercial infringement.

Ads? (0, Troll)

bernywork (57298) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807312)

What are these ads of which you speak?

Re:Ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31808028)

Yeah, yeah. We get it, you know about AdBlock. You are great. Now shush.

Re:Ads? (1)

mikael (484) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808994)

Try using a search engine for things like "life insurance", "home security protection" and "fire alarms", then see if web page banners appear or any junk mail related to these topics arrives in your snail-mail box. Or try something totally unrelated like "cattle grids" or "polytunnels" when you rent an apartment in the city.

Re:Ads? (1)

bernywork (57298) | more than 4 years ago | (#31823988)

Amusing. I go for a +1 or +2 funny and I end up with a 0 troll....

I was thinking in a Patrick Stewart voice when I typed this one. OK, I now predict my comment moderation to be -1 troll for attempting to lynch the techies.

In...

3...

2...

1..

Re:Ads? (1)

bernywork (57298) | more than 4 years ago | (#31824026)

that was supposed to be trekies, that's what you get for posting near midnight without thinking....

Relax (2, Insightful)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807330)

From TFA:

As for whether the FTC will investigate, it’s hard to say — but it’s not too likely. The complaint doesn’t seem to allege any clear-cut violations of law

It is Sunday. Go mow the lawn and enjoy a beer afterwards, or write some code. The world will survive this for now.

Re:Relax (1)

Dumnezeu (1673634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808754)

Since you're posting comments on Slashdot, I guess I could tell you to do exactly the same thing.

Re:Relax (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 4 years ago | (#31811162)

I don't have a lawn and don't drink alcohol. :P

New evil of the week? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31807332)

Two weeks ago it was Theora, last week was Flash, this week it's cookies?

Man, it's hard to keep up with teh evils of teh intarwebs!

Re:New evil of the week? (3, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807544)

Parent shouldn't be considered a "troll". They bring up a valid point: Every week it's something new we're up in arms about.

I'm not saying that there aren't valid concerns regarding these (and many, many other) issues, but the story of "Chicken Little" comes to mind. Who's going to listen to the "collective brain trust" when it's always squawking about something. There's always going to be something. I worry about how desensitized people will be when something major comes along.

Re:New evil of the week? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31807640)

This is not, and will never be, the "collective brain trust." Sorry. Your pleas are already in vain. Hell, every other fucking article on this site is about patent law, and not a single goddamned person on here understands how any of it works at even a superficial level. Another shit-ton of articles on here are related to the law in some other way.

Is there anyone on the editorial staff that's an attorney? You guys should probably think about hiring one if you don't want to come across as fucking idiots, you know?

Re:New evil of the week? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807650)

I'm not referring to /. as the "collective brain trust". There are countless sites & blogs that spout this "the sky is falling" shit. /. is just an opinionated aggregator.

Re:New evil of the week? (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807716)

If there are that many things to be 'up in arms about', then we -should- be bringing them all to the attention of everyone we can. Concentrating on just the worst one will mean the others have time to gain hold.

Cops don't all stop working on muggings when there's a murder.

Mechanics don't ignore the brakes when the transmission is blown.

Re:New evil of the week? (1)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808054)

Guess what?

It is their job to care. It is their job to take care of it.

But general population? You know, people whose support you need to fix socioeconomic issues like the on in op?

It is not their job to care or to take care of it. You need to convince then that when there is problem, it is their problem and they should care enough to be pissed about it and help take care of it.

But if you are comming across as whiny bastart that complains about pretty much everything, well, so surprises: you are going to be ignored. See, if you are continually complaining, you are no longer being taken seriously, but rather like background buzz because you always complain about something (and there is no way to shut you up because it is simply impossible to satisfy you).

This is one of the worst interpersonal mistakes that geeks/nerds do: complain loudly about minutae and details and when real issues with huge impact come, no-one listens anymore.

Do not complain unless you mean it. Geek/Nerd community needs to be that silent guy to whom everyone pays attention to when he finally opens mouth to say something because they know it is going to be important. Not comming across as spoiled brat hivemind.

Re:New evil of the week? (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808076)

Speaking directly to google I have to say I'd rather see targeted ad's then the usual crap "suburban mom teaches 1 simple trick to whiten teeth, make your penis bigger etc". I call that a value added service. I use their free products and they supply me with relevant targeted advertisments. As for the social networking bit, you get what you deserve when you use that type of service. Being anti social myself I have no use for that trash. I suppose it's probably a chick thing since my wife practically lives on Facebook.

Re:New evil of the week? (1)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808134)

> There's always going to be something. I worry about how desensitized people will be when something major comes along.

This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.

There is never going to announcement saying "Privacy/Freedom has been repealed". You will just wake up one day and realize it is so. And then we can all reflect back on the all the warnings ignored.

Why not the other way round? (3, Insightful)

drolli (522659) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807366)

Just introduce the rule that any customer contacted by a company may force them to provide a complete record (sent in paper, with a personal valid signature of the person in charge) on his personal data and how they got it, and the right to demand deletion of his record and the restriction a not use the same way again. Wrong statements should be punished by hefty fines and prison for the person signing it.

if 5% of the people do it this would clog up the system pretty much.

Re:Why not the other way round? (3, Insightful)

MrMr (219533) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807468)

Next you'll be wanting to decide who rules you. What are you? A liberal or something?
Shut up and get back to consuming.

Re:Why not the other way round? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31808634)

drolli wrote: Just introduce the rule that any customer contacted by a company may force them to provide a complete record (sent in paper, with a personal valid signature of the person in charge) on his personal data and how they got it, ...

Dear Company,
My name is drolli. Please send me all of the personal information you have collected on me. Thanks!
Signed,
drolli impersonator

In other words, imperfect implementation of this idea would open up more privacy holes than it closes.

Re:Why not the other way round? (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808998)

Did i anyhow mention that the checks on the identity of the requesting person are relaxed? The Idea is to overkill the Administration of the data harvesters if they start to piss off people. So i think it is for sure appropriate that they check the ISs of the people. How? Thats really their problem.

Re:Why not the other way round? (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808934)

Just introduce the rule that any customer contacted by a company may force them to provide a complete record (sent in paper, with a personal valid signature of the person in charge) on his personal data and how they got it, and the right to demand deletion of his record and the restriction a not use the same way again. Wrong statements should be punished by hefty fines and prison for the person signing it.

if 5% of the people do it this would clog up the system pretty much.

You have to pay a standard administration fee (£10?), and you don't find out where they got it from (unless that's part of the record), but that's pretty much the situation in the UK [wikipedia.org] .

Having said that, IME all that's necessary to stop junk mail is to mark it "return to sender", and to stop junk phone calls to ask to be removed from the list.

Re:Why not the other way round? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31812432)

Hell yes! And once we get that ball rolling, we can slippery slope into forcing the corporations to provide us with their data. No more shady business.

Ohmigosh! (1, Flamebait)

mrsam (12205) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807408)

Somebody's tracking me on the Intertubes! Oh-noes.

Privoxy FTW. I wish the marketdroids the best of luck in trying to cherry-pick whatever obnoxious ad they wish to throw in front of my eyes. I find blatant advertising as obnoxious as the next person, but I find it somewhat difficult to get excited over something that I'll never see.

So what if some database somewhere says that I enjoy midget w... uh, whatever. If someone's bothered by the existence of some database entry which besides its actual existence carries no other impact, then here's what they should do: now that summer is here and the weather is nicer (in my hemisphere, at least), is to go outside, fire up the grill, and enjoy a good barbecue. Life's too short.

With a Tivo for the boob tube, and privoxy for the Intertubes, I enjoy a generally ad-free existence. I've come to the conclusion that the best way to fight obnoxious and invasive advertising is via technical means. You can't legislate it away, any more than you can legislate away rudeness. These privacy groups may have good intentions, but I think it's a waste of time. I am skeptical that the legal route will accomplish anything. What they should be doing, instead, is educating people and promoting ways for them to filter out obnoxious advertising and solicitations out of their daily lives.

Re:Ohmigosh! (2, Insightful)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807614)

To summarize: the Internet is not, and should not be, a perfectly safe zone with rubber bumpers on all the sharp corners. We cannot expect the government to protect us from every possible implication of our own actions. People can limit third party interactions on the Internet each according to their ability, technical or financial or otherwise. Grow up people!

Re:Ohmigosh! (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 4 years ago | (#31816172)

We cannot expect the government to protect us from every possible implication of our own actions.

Especially not if it implies the $COUNTRY government dictating terms to $OTHER_COUNTRY. Especially especially not if one or the other is the USA.

Re:Ohmigosh! (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808426)

Doesn't TiVo track, like *everything* you do?

Re:Ohmigosh! (1, Flamebait)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31809426)

What are you comparing? Or are you fond of TiVo? Because that "like" serves absolutely no purpose in that sentence.

Re:Ohmigosh! (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31810480)

What are you comparing? Or are you fond of TiVo? Because that "like" serves absolutely no purpose in that sentence.

It's an idiomatic usage that gives additional emphasis on the word that follows it.

And? (2, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807458)

If this were a court rather than the FTC, it's be a textbook case of "dismissed based on failure to state a claim". May as well sue Ford for "profiting from selling ground transportation".

Re:And? (1)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808698)

Civil suits also require demonstration of harm. Even if we agree companies ought not be tracking people like this, I can't say how the plaintiffs could show they've been harmed by targeted banner ads.

never trust anyone who complains about "fairness" (-1, Redundant)

Uzik2 (679490) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807556)

The world is not fair, Never has been, never will be. Face up to reality and move on.

Re:never trust anyone who complains about "fairnes (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31807666)

Never trust anyone who thinks that "life is unfair" is right and proper.

Re:never trust anyone who complains about "fairnes (2, Interesting)

FrozenGeek (1219968) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808296)

I guess that depends on how you define "fair".

If "fair" means that the clowns who slacked off in school, spending their time partying and doing drugs, now make little more than minimum wage while those of us who worked hard make a good living, then I'm all for "fair". Too often, those who tout "fair" do not consider that one's current situation is heavily affected by one's previous decisions. I feel no moral responsibility to compensate for the problems you have caused yourself.

Re:never trust anyone who complains about "fairnes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31814306)

Too often clowns who work no harder than anyone else think they have done something special because they are not on minimum wages. In other words; "They call it the american dream because you have to be asleep to believe it" - Carlin.

Re:never trust anyone who complains about "fairnes (1)

pooh666 (624584) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807702)

Ok everyone, so we know now, Steve Job's Slashdot id is Uzik2.

Re:never trust anyone who complains about "fairnes (1)

Uzik2 (679490) | more than 4 years ago | (#31811282)

LOL! Extra points for you!

Give me the good old days... (0, Troll)

Jon.Burgin (1136665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807768)

when I received totally non-nonsensical adds for feminine hygiene products (I'm a man), dating services (I'm married...in the traditional sense), and other products I don't care about! This whole only having to see adds that I could possibly be interested in is way too much! BTW: Yes I get that the point is about privacy, but seriously, privacy is a fairly recent invention in human history that only is a convenience for the wicked or helps validate the prejudices of the ignorant. The truth is that privacy, although attractive to our weaker side, is an illusion and not truly a fundamental right.

Re:Give me the good old days... (2, Insightful)

dragonsomnolent (978815) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808392)

I only have to say that privacy can also be used against the wicked as well as by them (Do I really need to cite examples here?). Humans do have a 'need' (or I suppose such an intense want for that it's turned into a need) for privacy. It's why we have bathroom doors. They serve no practical purpose except to give us some privacy when we are expelling waste. No matter how recent an invention, privacy is an important one to a great many people. If you feel differently, that's cool, we all have different levels of what could be considered private information.

Re:Privacy isn't recent (3, Insightful)

symbolic (11752) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808478)

The problem isn't that privacy is a recent invention, it's that technology has made it much harder to come by. Back in the day privacy was automatic, as there was no other way it could be. This was due primarily to geographical considerations and the effort required to get information from one location to another. Once there, the "processing" of said information was another matter entirely. This wall no longer exists - acquiring information - in terms of both its scope and detail - is relatively effortless. Further, it can be disseminated almost instantaneously - to just about anywhere.

Re:Give me the good old days... (4, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31809520)

when I received totally non-nonsensical adds for feminine hygiene products (I'm a man), dating services (I'm married...in the traditional sense), and other products I don't care about! This whole only having to see adds that I could possibly be interested in is way too much!

Nobody wants to stop you from getting target ads, if you explicitly prefer them.

Yes I get that the point is about privacy, but seriously, privacy is a fairly recent invention in human history that only is a convenience for the wicked or helps validate the prejudices of the ignorant. The truth is that privacy, although attractive to our weaker side, is an illusion and not truly a fundamental right.

First, there are no "fundamental rights". Every right is as valid as any other. Unless you can tell me how are we supposed to distinguish between those rights without asking for your opinion.

Second, privacy is not a recent invention. The invasion of privacy is a recent invention, before that the lack of privacy wasn't an issue, because it didn't exist.

Third, it's funny how we as individuals don't have the right to keep our data private, yet no one claims that companies' secrets should be public domain. Only profit counts, right?

Re:Give me the good old days... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31813084)

However, the disparity in privacy is new. You used to know all about the people who knew all about you. Now, you don't even know how many people know what about you, much less even the basics like their names or what town they live in. Further, those who knew about you would have to face you at some point. They could only abuse personal knowledge of others so long before everyone they might meet would shun them. The corporate people who know all about you now need never see you as more than a pile of statistics. They will never have to face you and you won't ever know their name, so they don't mind lying to you.

I prefer targeted ads (0)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807874)

If I have to view ads I'd much rather view something that I may have interest in rather than all those god awful "whiter teeth" or "perfect abs" ads featuring some man/woman's fat gut on a website.

Targeted ads don't necessarily have to know who I am. They can work with the context of the website and the page's content. Is that really a bad thing?

Either way, if targeted ads mean fewer pay walls then bring it on. I *much* rather have tracking cookies (that I can delete) in my browser than have my payment details on dozens of sites.

Re:I prefer targeted ads (0)

PracticalM (1089001) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807944)

So do I. I'd rather only see ads for what may interest me. This has to be a win for both me and the company buying the ad. I'm happier because I see stuff I'm interested in and they are happier because if I know about it I'm more likely to buy it.

I can remember complaining to Yahoo years ago about them advertising services to me that my computer didn't support. What was the point of telling me about some cool new service if Mac or Linux wasn't supported. Heck they had to know what system I was running, better they put an ad there that would actually be useful.

Re:I prefer targeted ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31811650)

Me too. I'm hoping ultimately they will be able to uniquely identify me and target a custom ad portfolio to me and me alone. Because at that point, I'll be able to specify 'no ads of any size shape or form anywhere ever', and because they can track me uniquely and are fully aware of my preferences they'll have no excuse not to comply. In fact if I do get ads I know the advertisers know I don't want, I can sue 'em for being a nuisance. Roll on the day where they can track me as an individual. Then when they want to advertise, they can pay me directly for the privilege.

Re:I prefer targeted ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31814578)

I prefer untargeted ads. I already know products in the tech industry and know how/where to look things up before I buy them. Tech related ads are just annoying to me. If I have to see an ad, it would be better if it was something I knew nothing about and didn't know how to find out about it.

As an example, if I wanted to buy a present for some grandkids, how will I know which games are popular in their age groups if I never see those ads?

Also, with targeted ads, people can't talk about them anymore as everyone sees something different. Remember the old Christmas cola ads? Well in the future, only a few people will see them while everyone else sees something different. You'll lose that 2 minute ad small-talk.

Re:I prefer targeted ads (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31838010)

True, you won't likely see the same ads and yes a lot of related ads are of something I know about but from my experience either they're targeted and I click some of them or they're totally unrelated, often something for women's products, white teeth and flat abs. Those are of no use to me so it's a waste of their bandwidth and in some instances awful to look at.

What's wrong with targeted ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31808368)

I prefer being bombarded by ads that I find relevant to my "profile". So here you go Google, in case you didn't figured it out already: I'm 35, male, based in Montreal, income 100k, 6', 130 pounds, happily married. No, I'm have zero interest in loosing weight, buying an endless swimming pool, or a fake Rolex.

Re:What's wrong with targeted ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31809120)

so, a mailorder mistress for you then?

Re:What's wrong with targeted ads? (4, Funny)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31809552)

I'm have zero interest in loosing weight

Analyzing.... Done. Selected advertisement:

"Online English Course From $4.99
Try Some Free Lessons Here Now!"

Unfair? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31811550)

Fairness isn't the issue, legality is, and since you voluntarily give up the data, i think they are well within legal bounds.

Life in general isn't 'fair', so get over it and don't drop so many breadcrumbs.

I'm so tired of these "targeted ads" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31814318)

First of all my penis is of adequate size! Secondly, I am not looking for casual sex. And Lastly, I am not Black! Not that there is anything wrong with that.... Thou I find it funny that they can think I have a small penis at the same time they think I am black.

Re:I'm so tired of these "targeted ads" (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31815128)

I *hate* your yellow teeth

Re:I'm so tired of these "targeted ads" (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#31817826)

First of all my penis is of adequate size! Secondly, I am not looking for casual sex. And Lastly, I am not Black! Not that there is anything wrong with that....

Heh. My wife has become quite, uh, bemused by how the ad folks target her. She seems to get a lot of ads aimed at gay guys. NTTAWWT, of course, and some of our best friends are gay (to invoke yet another popular meme). As near as she and our gay friends can determine, this is because she subscribes to netflix and orders lots of old, 20's and 30's movies. This seems to be classified by the marketers as a gay male characteristic. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that she semi-regularly invites other like-minded (mostly female) friends over to watch old movies, and they all report getting lots of similar gay/male ads.

Actually, I've noticed a lot of similar "weird targeting", in that I often get bursts of similar ads that she doesn't, and they seem unrelated to anything that I'd find interesting or useful. The details aren't probably very interesting, other than the many times I've got adjacent ads for penis and breast enlargement. Is there really a "hermaphrodite" classification in the targeted-ad business?

But what I've been thinking is that discussions like this seem to always ignore something curious: The ad folks often seem to be remarkably off target. It's frequently obvious when they've classified you somehow, because you suddenly start seeing a lot of similar ads that people next to you aren't seeing. But they're also usually way off target.

Some people here have said that they like the idea of ads that are useful to them. But my experience, and a lot of other people's experience, is that ad targeting isn't even vaguely accurate, and doesn't seem to be getting any better. So it isn't improving our "experience" with the ads, and probably isn't doing much to improve sales.

My suspicion is that it's yet another case of marketing that is really quite crappy, but continues because the ad agencies are pretty good at one target market: They know how to target the corporate marketing folks who pay for the ads.

(I've recently terminated the use of google ads on several web sites that I help organize, because we don't see any ads on those sites that are at all relevant or interesting to the "audience" that uses those sites. So much for google's vaunted expertise in ad targeting. We even load the headers with all the relevant keywords we know, and it doesn't help. ;-)

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