Tag Archives: invasive

The Stigma of Being a Private Person – The Ad Industry Is Losing The Battle

imageTry as they might – apologists for the Internet’s ad industry push to overwhelm common sense in the creation of a bizarre concept – personal openness – appear to be losing. Despite an invasive and manipulative strategy, which has led to a manic drive to strip consumers of any semblance of privacy, it seems we just aren’t buying it.

Contrary to the claims by pseudo social scientists, supported by far to many tech pundits (who, in the real world, wouldn’t know their ass from a hole in the ground), that personal privacy is dead – that consumers don’t care about personal privacy – uncomfortable facts (uncomfortable for the ad industry, that is), appear to tell a different tale.

Hardly surprising, given that these pundits and social scientists deal in “bought and paid for” points of view. Manipulation and deception – by any other name – propaganda – has lost its luster. It’s been recognized for what it is – bullshit.

We are not as complacent, when it comes to personal privacy, as we have been led to believe. More users than ever, have come to the realization that the price of admission to active interaction with the Internet, should not be the complete stripping of the right to personal privacy. Consumers are advancing the notion that the right to privacy is a “natural right”, and should be recognized as such.

Better yet, consumers are pushing back against privacy predators who continuously boost the “creep factor”. In a just released survey from TRUSTe – one more in a long line of recent surveys which refutes the bought and paid for assertions of the ad industry’s propaganda merchants – it’s clearly apparent that these “lie merchants” are taking it on the chin.

Survey highlights:

94 percent think privacy is an important issue, with 55 percent saying that online privacy is a really important issue they think of often.

69 percent say that they trust themselves most when it comes to protecting their own personal information online (up sharply from 45 percent in 2011).

40 percent say a targeted advertisement has made them feel uncomfortable.

53 percent (52 percent in 2011) believe personally identifiable information is attached to browsing behavior.

Consumers take a variety of precautions to protect their privacy online, such as:

76 percent do not allow companies to share their personal information with a third party (up from 67 percent in 2011).

35 percent say that they have stopped doing business with a company or using their website because of privacy concerns.

90 percent say they use browser controls to protect privacy, including deleting cookies (up from 84 percent in 2011).

40 percent say a targeted advertisement has made them feel uncomfortable.

53 percent (52 percent in 2011) believe personally identifiable information is attached to browsing behavior.

For far too long, the Internet’s ad industry (and, the bad actors who support it), have gotten away with their attempts to stigmatize those of us who believe in the concept of the “private person”  – those of us who have sought a balance between the public and private. I’m hopeful, that we may have reached a stage where consumer action will result in tighter controls being implemented against what has turned out to be, a largely unethical Internet ad industry.

9 Comments

Filed under Point of View, Privacy

Google Alarm – Alerts You When Google Is Watching!

In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, Google CEO Eric Schmidt made the following comment which frankly, I find not only offensive, but very disturbing.

“We (Google) know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are.”

If you feel like a pawn in a bigger game that you don’t understand, and you wonder just why this insatiable need exists for Google to collect more and more information about you, you’re not alone.

Schmidt can put it perspective for you though –

“I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time,” he says……. You get a billion people doing something, there’s lots of ways to make money. Absolutely, trust me. We’ll get lots of money for it.”

Despite Schmidt’s claim last year that privacy is dead, and that people don’t care about privacy, any number of recent surveys refute this assertion. A much more realistic and balanced view on privacy, can be had at the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (Epic.org), is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C. “which focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values.”

If you’ve ever wondered how invasive Google really is, there’s a small Firefox addon on that will help answer the question.

Google Alarm puts up a small message box for any web site where information on you is being sent to a Google server. The screen capture below shows that Google collected information on me, at 53 of the sites I visited this morning. I must admit, I found this rather amazing.

image

The information collected, at first glance, seems rather harmless. But, with the ability Google has to correlate and data mine, (much of that ability jealously guarded), I have no doubt, that the captured information is anything but harmless.

Here’s a short video which shows Google Alarm in action. Just click on the video to run.

image

I’m not suggesting that you need to run this addon as a permanent fixture in your Browser, but I do recommend that you give a spin. If it acts as a wake up call on how powerful Google has become (it should), then it’s done its job.

Note: If you decide to install this addon, you’re better off choosing the “workplace-friendly” version which dispenses with the annoying sound alarm, and relies only on a flashing message box.

If you’re a Chrome user, a Beta version of this application is available.

Download at: the developer’s site.

Additional articles on privacy posted here, include –

Personal Privacy – A Dangerous Concept!

GoogleSharing Firefox Add-on – Stop Google’s Invasion of Your Privacy!

Google’s CEO’s Privacy Statement – A Freudian Slip?

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

16 Comments

Filed under Browser add-ons, Browsers, Chrome, downloads, Firefox, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Google, Interconnectivity, Point of View, Privacy, Software, Surveillance, Windows Tips and Tools