Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Governments aren't the privacy problem, ad companies are:

source via Lesley Carhart ( @hacks4pancakes )

NEW YORK -- Ask one of the foremost cryptographers of the modern generation what the biggest privacy issue is today and you might expect something like backdoored encryption or government spying.

...

"The adblocker dispute is going to become one of the fundamental battles on privacy," said Callas. "It's going to be a lot of fun to watch."
 Interesting article, and I agree that private corporations are the real threat to privacy not the government.  In the wake of the Snowden revelations I maintained, and still do, that it is very hard for me to get upset about the government having phone metadata, when companies like Verizon have openly sold that data in the past.

I am a cell phone user, I am a facebook user, google user etc.  The thing is that I realize that once I use those services and give up that data, it no longer belongs to me.  Just like allowing someone to take a picture of me gives them a little piece of my soul, every time I use one of those services I give up another little piece of my privacy.

No amount of legislation, transparency, corporate good intention will ever change that.  It's a physical law of the universe.

I think the author completely misunderstands  why people use ad-blocker though.  I don't know a single person (I know Pauline Kael effect) who actually uses ad-blocking software because they are worried about their privacy.  Maybe they are happy with that as a side benefit, but it's not the primary purpose.

No, they use ad-blocker because they are tired of being pounded by overly intrusive autoplaying ads.

Look, I understand companies have to make a profit.  I am willing to support that.  Full page screen over ads that disappear after a few seconds, no problem,  In line ads, no problem.  Small polls that have to be answered in order to proceed to an article, again no problem.  Start running flash ads that autoplay and then repeat, or worse popunders that start autoplaying something and yeah, no-script and ad-blocker get deployed.  At that point the ad company fired the first shot and every single executive should be sent to Gitmo and waterboarded with 5 day old septic tank leakage.

Anyway the point of all this was that the guy is right - if you are concerned about privacy, it is the corpoarte actors who should really be concerning you.

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