Now we have to suffer fake content, incredibly well researched click-baits, short term conversion optimized (good trailer, bad content) media and of course tracking to incredible extend. Every single machine learning algorithm trying to push us to more extreme world views so we stay on the platform to consume more contend and see more ads.
Every time my young daughter is watching youtube, I can see how what it is recommending and how easy it is to manipulate her. Few weeks ago it hit me, that I sold her mind, because I did not pay, and now everything is beyond repair.
I just finished listening a great reading of 1984 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM3GFyuJwQ8) and am in very dark place.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with publishing things for free, doing things for free and consuming things for free. The best content on the web is done by people from their own interest in sharing. Personal contacts, exchange of information, feedback and community are so much more worth than money when it comes to motivating the production of good things.
I'm a paying subscriber to the NYT. When I open their homepage now, the page is split horizontally with an ad taking up about 40%-50% of the entire screen. The "The New York Times" header is about halfway down the page, and the first actual content probably starts at 85% or even below that.
Anecdotally, the NYT runs even more intrusive ads than this to paid subscribers. Off the top of my head, I would say their modal popup video ad is the worst.
Look at the Hacker News homepage right now and count the websites and projects created and maintained as hobbies. If it's not a hobby and it's not paid, then the content you're viewing is an advertisement.
From an economic point of view, the problem with free content is that it's killing the paid alternatives. This is capitalism and in terms of price it's a race to the bottom. And you can't beat a zero price tag.
Just an example, how many visitors of Hacker News still use a @gmail.com email address or a free Dropbox account? By my estimation it's the vast majority, judging by the comments I've been reading. So we are talking about a demographic that earns well (compared with the average) and that doesn't blink when paying for lattes, but that is unable to pay for services that keep their email or data safe. And then you see people outraged whenever new limits are imposed on the free accounts, which is quite unbelievable.
Not trying to shame anyone in particular here and I understand that this is simply how the market works, my rant is basically about human nature. We consume, but we never learned to give back unless we are forced and you can see this in everything we do, like for example in our relationship with nature. In my mind the problems with the environment that we've created are the same problem.
This is why ads appeared on cable TV. Why ads appear in the economist magazine even though its a premium paid product. Why celebrities shill products and there's product placement even though you pay to see movies and they already recieve multi-million dollar pay-cheques.
The only effective way to fight back against advertising is to go on the offensive: teach people to notice and avoid and react against advertising, produce content without it, switch off and do not use services that use it and support services that take a stand, destroy their tech or use it against them, change the relative cost of their activities so they retreat from various spheres, or use society and government to shame, ban or disrupt their activity.
So if its worth anything, you don't have to feel bad about selling your daughter's mind by not paying. That's like the sheep thinking they can placate the wolf by just giving a taste of blood and hoping he'll be satiated...
/apparently I'm in a radical place :P But having said that, I would also advocate paying people who do good things and produce good content for the world, assuming the market and your situation lets you...
This seems ethically suspect, possibly illegal. Can you elaborate?
however, that being said, I personally would consider many forms of advertising ethically suspect today (without coming into the debate of what constitutes advertising).
So all I'm saying is, if a mugger comes at you with a knife, or there's a dark alley, or someone places a GPS tracker on your car without your consent, or someone bombarded you with messages about how you're not sexy enough or your kids are stupid and you're a bad parent if you don't buy X because they profile you, then you can (and probably should) break or take the muggers arm/gun/ķnife, light the dark alleyway, smash the GPS tracker or reprogram it out send it fake signals, block their messages/throw them in the bin/destroy them respectively.
You often hear messages about how people are obligated to watch/respect/load advertisements from advertisers, and this is just patently absurd, especially on the web and in public places.
I have no ethical problems myself with using ad blockers or technology to waste the resources of advertisers, trackers and telemarketers. at what point you take to the streets and start defacing billboards, covering signs, tearing propaganda down, disabling severs, breaking screens etc, I can't say without context, but I would say from my perspective civil and active disobedience certainly isn't inherently non-ethical. private property rights do not trump all other rights or civil responsibilities in a reasonable and ethical society.
Just so you know, the audiobook of 1984 you linked to on YouTube is the same narration as the one I purchased from Audible.
Or the advertising.
In my opinion, there is no limit to man's greed. Whether that's a good or a bad thing for humanity, time will tell.
I think this is all emergent behavior coming from the self-interests of the many participants.
I hear you. While it may be impossible to stop the tracking or the fingerprinting, I follow the steps below to somewhat limit the damage from the cesspool that is Youtube.
- No Youtube Kids app
- I use the iPhone app on which I have a setting to "Pause Watch History" and "Pause Search History"
- Clear the watch history once my son is finished viewing( this is weird I know considering the above setting but I've found it helps )
- I stream the video to the TV so that my kid doesn't keep swiping on random crap
- I and my wife have a plan to wean him off Youtube by making him watch something like NatGeo on TV.
It has been a long while since I have seen Woody Woodpecker, Chilly Willy, or Tom and Jerry in stores, though. I hated The Flintstones and The Jetsons, and never watched reruns of them. By the time we got GI Joe, MASK, Jem, Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Pony, He-Man, Care Bears, Thundercats, Voltron, etc. they were just wall-to-wall toy ad. That saturation ad-bombing backed off as cable TV ramped up, because then you could get Disney Channel and Nickelodeon.
Classic Looney Tunes; Tiny Toon Adventures; The Real Ghostbusters; Robotech; Animaniacs; Batman: the Animated Series; Rugrats; Doug; Hey, Arnold!; Rocko's Modern Life; CatDog; Ed, Edd, and Eddy; Dexter's Laboratory; Cow and Chicken; I Am Weasel; Ren and Stimpy; Powerpuff Girls; Freakazoid; Spongebob Squarepants; Avatar: the Last Airbender; Ducktales; Rescue Rangers; Adventures of the Gummi Bears; TaleSpin; Darkwing Duck; Goof Troop; Phineas and Ferb; Gravity Falls; The Proud Family; Kim Possible; Star vs. the Forces of Evil; Homestar Runner; Wallace and Gromit.
Those ought to keep anybody's kids off YouTube.
I'll guess that's because you lived in the US :). I grew up in a post-Soviet country; for all the downsides they had, at least our cartoons were really top-notch and not yet touched by commercialization. You can bet that Reksio the dog, or Krecik the mole, or Filemon the cat weren't pushing any merchandise. They were just relaxing cartoons for children.
(In the 90s we had some western classics in private TV stations too; I watched plenty of Dexter's Lab, Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, Tom&Jerry, Wile E. Coyote & the Road Runner, etc. Somewhere around pre-teens we got access to Nickelodeon/Fox Kids, and I got my fair taste of Marvel & DC-based animations too. Most of that I'd consider a-ok for my kid.)
It is intuitive to think of it that way,yes but my friends have had bad experiences with what it recommends. In addition, reading articles like this somewhat makes me feel wary about living with a false sense of security. I figure I'm better off with Youtube (I don't consume content on this. So no recommendations from my viewing habits)
If you don't mind that dark place becoming even darker may I suggest:
- Jacques Ellul "The Technological Society" https://archive.org/details/JacquesEllulTheTechnologicalSoci...
and his other book "Propaganda" https://archive.org/details/Propaganda_201512
this is basically what drove Ted Kaczynski to a place of no return https://archive.org/details/TechnologicalSlaveryTheCollected...
Then I started reading The Technological Society and it is very,very depressing. You start questioning your sanity that why is it that the rest of the world doesn't see it that way :). Read it half way and haven't had the courage to return to it. When almost everything you do comes within the realm of the inanimate process driving towards efficiency, it makes you wonder if there is any point to it.
It becomes difficult to function. Like the other commentator said, one needs some antidote to this aspect of reality. I really wish something like that existed.
Meditating on the Tao helped, Stoicism helps. Being with kids helps as they seem to be unaware of these things. But you feel helpless that they will grow into it and inherit it.
But again, glad I read them. Ellul lays it out really well with such clarity. If 1984 feels like a rainy day, Ellul is being alone in the Arctic winter.
The only way is to voluntarily, consciously, and simply reject it. Not to be a slave to efficiency, information. And start to rebuild again with this new understanding.
I firmly believe the only way out of this advertising dystopia is for us to start paying for things again. This will create more opportunities for people to run sustainable small business and spread wealth out more instead of concentrating it in a few advertising conglomerates.
Weather data is already gathered by state authorities in most developed countries. It would be nice if taxpayers could have free and convenient access to the data they paid for. Giving money to a for-profit corporation’s weather app only rewards rentseeking.
I can get free weather details with the built-in iOS app, but I still bought Dark Sky because it's a better interface. I have no qualms with this purchase.
I would pay for DarkSky if it was available here though; I quite appreciate their approach to location privacy: https://blog.darksky.net/location-privacy/
The best we can do is defend against the Dark Arts.
AllAdvantage? I got a few quid from them back in the day. Strange times...
I know, I would have to go live with the Amish or something, but daaaaamn... TV and Saturday morning cartoons were bad enough ~30-40 years ago. We're warping kids' minds.
The Brave browser has something similar. I found it a bit subpar, but it's a good start.
You have 10 € in your account at the beginning of the month which were automatically invoiced from your debit card. You now visit sites or articles or whatever and they have the Flattr button integrated. You like something? You click the Flattr button!
In the end your balance will be split evenly among all Flattr buttons you clicked that month. If you visit NYT regularly and click their buttons often, they will get more money from you than others.
I think you could also set that a single click was worth x cent and they invoiced you the total amount at the end of the month, but I'm not sure about that.
All in all Flattr was/is a great idea, it just somehow did not take off.
"This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by a third party."
Can you tell us more about the video? Why it was important for you?
Which, besides being a bad idea for privacy on any site, makes much of this particular site's ostensible purpose even easier to defeat.
Mozilla has a contract which prohibits Google from using data from Mozilla websites for the things people usually object to.
1. Trusting that supposed assurance.
2. Going to so much contortions to rationalize a third-party surveillance facility that you didn't need to use.
That does seem rather strange to me too. Is GA that critical to Mozilla that it justified crafted a special agreement with Google to keep using it? Why not re-implement the key functionalities themselves, surely they have the internal resources to do something like that. It seems like a weird decision, especially now that they're getting very aggressive with the "we respect your privacy (unlike Google)" angle.
Also just analyzing server logs should be enough in most use cases.
That sounds like a fantastic way to play GDPR roulette.
Did the guy you hire to spec and build the server log analyzer follow the law, or did he just wing it?
Contrast that to just using a SAAS offering, where you have someone to sue...
Nginx, haproxy, and others log all requests by default. If you are behind a CDN, requests are already anonymized as you get the CDN IPs. Not sure why you'll need a guy to set things up.
Turning raw logs into metrics and action items is what requires you to pay that engineer, and what may get you get you in trouble with the GDPR, if they do it wrong.
Flexing a lot for a non-profit.
Also, threat of poo-storm is not always sufficient incentive to respect privacy or even agreements with governments (after you're caught brazenly violating privacy): https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/9432518/Google...
Mozilla exposes all its visitors to Google, it tells Google what they looked at and when, and more. This is horribly inappropriate if Mozilla touts itself as privacy protecting.
Sure, but that is not the distinction I was making though. Google Analytics is a first-party tracker in the sense that it sets a cookie on the same domain that the script is loaded on. Contrast this to a third-party tracker which sets a cookie on its own domain, and as such the same cookie will be reused for all websites using this third-party tracker.
> it tells Google what they looked at and when
As far as I know only Mozilla has access to the data collected through their Google Analytics account. Third-party trackers, however, often aggregate collected data across a wide range of websites, and might sell augmented, highly profiled user data to advertisers. I have not seen any reports of Google using Google Analytics in such a way, but the data is nonetheless stored on their servers, so you will have to trust that they won't abuse their power.
EDIT: As mentioned by throwaway9d0291, it seems like there are settings for enabling or disabling the sharing of Google Analytics data with Google. Not sure if this is opt-in or opt-out though, but this means that it possible to use the service without Google using the collected data.
IP addresses, timestamps, and webpages viewed over time is absolutely personally identifiable information.
For one thing it won't let other advertisers besides Google's partners know what you're doing anyway and ever for Google it probably won't do much good unless they explicitly decide to handle that website specifically. Which they might do I suppose if it becomes popular enough.
I think one of the most enlightening consequences of the GDPR for me was to see that ridiculously long list of "partners" many websites had. Hundreds of companies trying to track me on most websites. I knew this was happening before but I couldn't imagine how bad this was.
For people living outside of Europe who might not have seen this before, here's what it looks like on TechCrunch (I chose the site randomly, it's by no means exceptional): https://svkt.org/~simias/up/20190626-122149_partners.png
Note the size of the scrollbar. There are 173 entries in that list.
While agree that the surface-level optics aren't ideal, and Mozilla sucks at communicating those things, I believe people often take a to categorical black-white stance on this.
I have no idea why they would. Google is a data collection company. That's their entire job. There are zero means of implementing oversight to make sure they uphold their end.
Our industry and technology has gotten pretty twisted. Getting an understanding of the extent of the bloated mess, shoveling our way up for air, shaking up practices that have become automatic, and cleaning up all the corners that are dirty... is going to take time.
that's why i said "dishonesty at the org level". i don't think there's any one particular person in mozilla at the prenda law-level of crookedness, but what exactly is their company culture around privacy that they end up casually slipping a surveillance tool into a web page that's ostensibly against surveillance?
Firefox already ships with telemetry enabled by default, superfluous closed source components (pocket) and a remote control mechanism which Mozilla has already abused "for fun" (remember that Mr Robot thing?).
Once is an accident. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.
Some of the sites I looked at do not even have any trackers on them.
It had a sort of "I'm Sure" button that would kick off a bunch of web searches like "syria hotel tickets" and ... more amusing/disturbing ones.
That's a good thing on the long term. We need false positives for such lists to become better, to make the developers up their game.
Ever downloaded Tails? You're on a list.
Because this has worked so well for the US No-Fly List.
Parallel construction is a law enforcement process of building a parallel—or separate—evidentiary basis for a criminal investigation in order to conceal how an investigation actually began. In the US, a particular form is evidence laundering, where one police officer obtains evidence via means that are in violation of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, and then passes it on to another officer, who builds on it and gets it accepted by the court under the good-faith exception as applied to the second officer. This practice gained support after the Supreme Court's 2009 Herring v. United States decision.
In August 2013, a report by Reuters revealed that the Special Operations Division (SOD) of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration advises DEA agents to practice parallel construction when creating criminal cases against Americans that are based on NSA warrantless surveillance.
Of course the alternative theory that it's there for control and manipulation is more likely.
Either that or the NSA just isn't doing anything to stop these shootings. We may never know.
A web form for sending, and storing the results of Section 702 information requests. Those were targeted requests for user data.
You can legitimately quibble over how precisely targeted they were, or whether there was a justifiable trail of evidence leading to a warrant. It, however, was not a mass surveillance system. You can't build a mass surveilance system on a 200k budget. You can't even integrate with one on a 200k budget.
Snowden's leaks showed the NSA collects data from google. Google would have no power to stop them from taking whatever they want and they seem to want everything.
Lavabit tried to provide a service where everything was encrypted and secure but the government demanded they compromise the service so they could spy on people or shut down. They decided to shut down. You think our 3 letter agencies are shaking down small tech-savvy email providers while ignoring a target like Google? A company that is devoted to collecting our personal info?
I ran a Tor exit node on my home static IP for years. No dramas.
I mean, being on the list doesn't matter until it matters. If nobody ever wants to harm you, being exposed doesn't matter. If anybody ever wants to, having given them material in the past will make your current day defense harder.
Citation needed please.
That's the juicier stuff that makes its way into the news. "A person living under an oppressive government evading censorship" will never be as juicy to write about as "murderers for hire on the dark web". That says absolutely nothing about the actual usage of Tor, so I'd like to see you back up that "big part" part.
It bothers me when people draw badly considered conclusions from them, such as claiming that "most" or a "big part" of Tor is dedicated to illegal activities. The percentage is probably greater than on the "normal" web, but I object to the stronger claims than that.
IMHO, Mozilla isn't offering "Track THIS" as a solution to being tracked, instead it's a demo of how tailored one's ads are, so one will be offended enough to turn off 3rd party cookies.
Some people are going to try this demo and realize "Huh, so 'surveillance capitalism' really just means that I see better ads?"
Most non-technical people have this dystopian illusion when they hear about all of Facebook/Google/Amazon's fabled super-advanced-magic-tracking that there's either a human or a near-sentient robot listening in to every facet of their lives and forming a judgmental, human opinion of them as a person. Once they realize this shit is so basic that opening up a few browser tabs of stuff you don't actually like is enough to trick it, I think their apathy will increase, not decrease.
They proposed the simple, obvious solution: "Twitter is listening to my microphone."
I countered with, "No, Twitter knows you're friends with this person, and because they have access to both of your location data, they know you were visiting this person at the same time that they searched for and went to this event."
My family member said that my explanation didn't make them feel any better, at all, and then deleted Twitter off of their phone.
I don't know if that person is typical or not, but I will say that when you see something yourself it can sometimes make you feel more vulnerable and disturbed than when you hear about it second hand. Tracking is so ubiquitous that there's kind of an abstract, "but really it's not so bad" quality to it. People joke about the super-advanced-magic-tracking, but they don't really believe it on an emotional level. Or they believe it's super competent and dehumanized and subtle.
I think projects like this have the potential to maybe make it feel more tangible. Hyper-advanced systems feel more theoretical and less dangerous than, "hey, I'm literally just watching you browse the web." In my (again anecdotal) experience, magical systems are dismissable, but people get worked up over, "somebody's looking in my window."
It goes to show that people aren't too aware of just how much data Facebook/tech has about them, and occasionally that data can make extremely accurate predictions.
What do you suggest?
Believe me, there are many players in this space that work tirelessly to compromise mobiles and try to emulate real users to earn profits on PPC campaigns.
So honestly, this is just a waste of time. Whatever patterns these guys come up with. It'll be defeated by those to fight the real bad guys.
I've done a lot of work in data linking, which I consider basically the same thing, albeit not with advertising or ad fraud as the necessary subject matter.
Now while its true that a lot of the things people do to lessen their fingerprint/signal is often not effective, its simply not true that such things are always a priori defeatable.
Theoretically, you have to do some combination of plugging the leaks, increasing the noise, or dropping the signal. And if you do that then signal becomes harder and harder to extract.
And its not even black and white like total win/lose. You could stop advertisers from finding out certain things, or change the relative value/cost of what's possible/profitable, or the degree of accuracy with which they can state certain things.
Indeed, for instance, if you can get regular people's actions and behaviours to look more and more like these bots or fraudsters, that likely lessens the effectiveness of their machine learning techniques...
Just like this!
I find this site insightful in terms of discovering new things. It could be made into some sort of tumbler for ads. :)
I know this is sacrilegious on HN, but I personally prefer targeted ads to that. I still think you and everyone else should be able to not have ads targeted if you don't want, and I'm all for alternative funding systems where you pay for content directly, but I'd much rather see ads for SaaS companies I may use and movies I'm interested in over that stuff.
Buy a widget - you might be purchasing for a company and will buy a the same widget next month for the next employee. If you advertise your widget to everybody 99.999% won't buy it, so that 99.9% that won't buy another widget is a much larger margin of those who will buy another. (the ad is about either keeping you a loyal customer or getting to to switch to a different brand). Most of us are more valuable as a possibly purchaser of more than one than as a potential customer of something new we didn't even know we needed.
I could imagine buying a mattress would be an even better example.
The New York Times stopped behaviorally targeting in Europe without much consequence . I don't think we can reject the hypothesis that adtech is largely a scam, with targeting being done more so adtech companies can "differentiate" themselves than for any benefit to publishers.
Because Honda doesn't want to pay Facebook $$$ to show Civic ads to a hippie that lives in a small commune and rides a home-built bicycle.
Maybe I've blocked enough cookies that they actually know nothing about me? But I use plenty of Google services, and I'm generally logged in to my Google account by default.
Maybe the problem is that the things I'm interested in, are things that don't generally advertise much. Not on such broad generic advertising networks, at least.
Think twice before you take a poo in your own profiles.
If you want to poison your profile without it backfiring on you, you might want to wait until pretty much all profiles are poisoned simultaneously.
I would certainly like to poison my profile. Preferably with all the kinky stuff.
I'm on a full fat iMac Pro and that's still going to be a big fat "nope" from me :-D
When you fight someone who has more to loose, it usually is a waste of energy. If you want them to change you have to reduce the stakes for them.
Why? It just has to become unprofitable for them to look for something else. They will adjust their stakes accordingly (are you proposing getting them a different source of income? wouldn't someone greedy just accept both?).
Hah, funny. Maybe on Chromium, where it would already go into swapping hell on my 8GB RAM. However, on Firefox this is rather low - I'm on ~150 right now and that's just because I have cleaned all open tabs a few days ago (it was above 1000 before).
Some people organize their tabs into trees; there was also "panorama" feature in the past; however, for me it seems like a scrollbar (with a filtering search bar) is enough.
Also, the awesomebar itself has excellent support for switching between open tabs.
Sometimes I only have a vague recollection of what I want to revisit - then just figuring out something that was near it is enough, as after searching and activating some related tab its whole surroundings are now in view again.
Or is there a plugin that gives the same tree in multiple windows?
They look like:
with each link having a distinct number, counting down to 1.
It doesn't look like a typical referrer ID, so it is probably something that Amazon generates, although I don't know under what condition.
This confuses the algorithms temporarily into thinking that your tastes have changed.
They still know who you are. Your devices and browsers are fingerprinted. Your home network is in a database. Your mobile carrier is selling your location data. Your IP address doesn't change that often. Etc.
Plus, you know there are already multiple teams tasked with filtering out "fake clicks". They probably are already doing it, assuming that multiple users are sharing a machine or something like that.
Mozilla had already tried something like this with an extension, it's called "Firefox Lightbeam".
With the next Firefox version, statistics about the number of trackers blocked will be included in Firefox, and I think a better version of Lightbeam (more lightweight, visually showing the difference between tracking protection on/off and excluding subdomains) should be included as well.
Also I think there is anyway a trend towards less ads. Those who push out most ads - probably online magazines - are changing more to paid subscriptions.
You can just say, "your regular browsing experience won't be impacted."
EDIT: nevermind, you have to go back and visit the Track This tab to have it open up more tabs.
> It looks like you’re on Firefox. Because Firefox builds in all kinds of protections against malicious sites, it’ll only open 20 tabs at a time—and only if you allow pop-ups from this page. While 20 is enough, to see how wild 100 tabs can really get, try Track This on another browser.