Within a couple of minutes after reading these paragraphs, I had installed and configured Ghostery to block cookies from over 500 advertising-related tracking sites.
An honest web is one in which the overwhelming majority of the code and assets downloaded to a user’s computer are used in a page’s visual presentation, with nearly all the remainder used to define the semantic structure and associated metadata on the page. Bullshit — in the form of CPU-sucking surveillance, unnecessarily-interruptive elements, and behaviours that nobody responsible for a website would themselves find appealing as a visitor — is unwelcome and intolerable.
Data brokers in Vermont will now have to register as such with the state; they must take standard security measures and notify authorities of security breaches (no, they weren’t before); and using their data for criminal purposes like fraud is now its own actionable offense.
Going to a random Chicago Tribune article, say for instance “Let’s hear it for Memorial Day weekend at the beach. Oh, but the litter …”, and Tronc is serving me, a subscriber, 18 cookies/trackers from various entities, like Amazon, Google, and a plethora I’ve never heard of. My print newspaper doesn’t track me like this.
So I took the time to download my entire Facebook data file, unzip the file and peruse it. If you want to do the same, go here https://www.facebook.com/settings
Josh Marshall, the publisher of the long-time political blog, Talking Points Memo, has some thoughts about it, and thinks, in general, it will be good for sites like his.
Speaking of privacy and technology, Wired Magazine’s Mark McClusky boasted to Ad Age that everything is going great with their ad blocker gambit.
This sucky blog’s editor ((me)) has assigned Tuesday’s topic as technology. Like all good topics, that’s a bit vague, there are lots of threads that can be collected here.
We’ve discussed the weird state of consumer data many times, where companies such as Acxiom and thousands of others collect every scrap of information about us they possibly can, by whatever method, and then sell it to marketers. Our data, our habits, our propensities, but their profits. Seems like a bum deal, for consumers.
And advertisers’ target audience du jour — millennials — appear to be more likely to use ad blockers than any other age group. Of the survey respondents who were between the ages of 18 and 29 years old, 41% said they use ad blockers. As further evidence ad blocking isn’t abating, Mr. Williams said AdBlock Plus has averaged 2.3 million downloads a week since 2013.
On Thursday, Google started experimenting with a new way to let users contribute to web sites in exchange for removing – or at least reducing – the number of ads. The service, called Contributor by Google, has users give between $1 and $3 a month to sites like The Onion and Mashable.
Though this is a voluntary rule, and there are lots of lobbyists chewing on Congress-critters ears to block this practice from expanding, the publics’ opinion is very clear, so maybe by the time the aliens land, or the oceans reach the Midwest, we’ll have action:
Internet groups complained Monday that new Federal Trade Commission regulations to protect children’s privacy online are financially burdensome to start-up companies.
…Google’s privacy practices are under intense scrutiny. Last year, as part of a far-reaching legal settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission the company pledged not to “misrepresent” its privacy practices to consumers. The fine for violating the agreement is $16,000 per violation, per day. The FTC declined to comment on the findings.
Google cleared $37.9 billion in 2011 revenue, which equates to more than $3 billion a month, mostly from those little text ads next to your search results that neither you or anybody you know will admit to ever clicking on.
Speaking of online privacy, there wouldn’t be a need for anti-cookie extensions like Ghostery if bills like California’s SB-761 become the law of the land: