Ivatepray

1461082_10151973458857350_1113137741_n An advert in the Economist, and here’s the M$ puff online. M$ are trying to persuade the world that Evil Google is invading your privacy by auto-scanning emails to target ads. I can’t get exciting by this. Google, and Gmail, are supported by ads (aside: I’m astonished to discover just how much money their is in ads; only with Google did it become clear how much of such useful infrastructure they could support) and I’d rather they read my mail in order to send me useful and/or interesting ads (like this rather tasteful one I’ve inlined; I got that for searching for same) than spamming me with irrelevance like Facebook does.

And amusingly, the M$ page I ref comes up with: By using this site you agree to the use of cookies for analytics, personalised content and ads.

Comments

  1. #1 Dan
    2013/11/08

    Not to mention anyone as wants to can just use adblock and not see any of them. But it is fascinating: the real customers for both Google and Facebook are the advertisers, our eyeballs are the product they sell to them – and the amount of cash that spews from our eyeballs is, well… eye watering.

    By the way, seeing as you grammar-nazi’d me a while back… “just how much money their is in ads”. Woop woop!

  2. #2 Dan
    2013/11/08

    p.s., “we are the product” = not my idea.

  3. #3 Dan Moutal
    2013/11/09

    Of course Microsoft also scans all your email. How else are they supposed to filter out the spam.

  4. #4 Lars Karlsson
    2013/11/09

    #1: That has been the case for most commercial media for a very long time.

  5. #5 G
    California USA
    2013/11/09

    If you think Google’s voracious surveillance is only about selling ads, and that it’s not a problem, your skepticism has gone out the window.

    The real game is data aggregation and attribution. 41% of employers now use Google & Facebook to screen job applicants and monitor the goings-on of employees, often via intermediary companies that are tapping the same data-streams as used by advertisers.

    This may not affect you (presumably in academia) or me (engineering), but it does affect the vast majority whose jobs are “replaceable” from the army of the unemployed. An “inappropriate” comment or picture can, and often does, lead to being not-hired or getting fired. “Friending” people with poor credit ratings can now lead to one’s own credit rating taking a hit. I can post links to numerous mainstream media news stories about these subjects, or you can search for them yourself.

    The direct consequence of these and related practices is a widespread chilling effect on speech and association, and a sense of pervasive apprehension on the part of those whose jobs and circumstances are not privileged in the manner of our own. The land of the free and the home of the brave has become the land of “Watch what you say!,” with the difference that those who get sentenced to unemployment or denial of credit by the new private-sectorized Stasi aren’t regarded as resistance heroes, they’re treated as “losers.”

    Principle: We have a moral obligation to look out for others, and particularly to stand up for the weak against predation by the strong. And part of that moral obligation is to not pooh-pooh instances of predation by the strong upon the weak.

    You wouldn’t dare tell a female colleague that an unwelcome sexual remark by her boss was “just a joke.” But you’ve just pooh-poohed the claims, that are backed with facts as blunt and clear-cut as Google’s own court filings, that Google et. al. are engaged in the mass invasion of privacy on a scale that makes NSA look like small-time stuff by comparison. That’s shameful.

    Do the research, get the facts, and get on the right side of this issue.

  6. #6 Adam
    2013/11/11

    @Dan #1 Indeed, I see so few adverts online these days, it can be a little bit of a shock when I use other people’s computers – especially on sites I use regularly. I don’t use adblock, but similar tools.

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