IMAGINE there’s no adverts… it’s easy if you try

Saturday, October 3, 2015

online-advertising-with-stopONLINE ADVERTISING has become so rampant that we take it for granted. It has reached a point where we barely distinguish between our economic and our personal lives. Throw in all the real and imagined security factors that now abound, and it’s a mess.

Of course, rampant advertising is one thing. But intrusive, disruptive, in-your-face, you-have-to-watch-this-or-click-past-this-before-you-can-continue advertising is another. And then there’s invasive, unbeknownst-to-you tracking which is being done not just by advertisers (who in some cases can surreptitiously photograph and listen in on us) as we traipse through modern life in our cars, computers, phones, TVs, and home appliances. Yes, they monitor, record, and track, too.

(And if you think you have full control over whether you can turn off all the tracking and surveillance options, I have a cool investment concoction to sell you.)

One problem is that users do not control the code that allows for all this invasiveness. You would think that Congress would disallow it even being possible, or would somehow ensure that we, as users, could opt out by default. Ha! What a joke that would turn out to be anyway when it is increasingly obvious that profit-hungry companies and clever crooks (and probably even bridge players) would cheat with workarounds.

The other problem, of course, is that many people don’t seem to mind because technological conveniences are so—well—convenient, and because they make so many things free. Or so we believe. In reality, the cost of that freedom is not understood. And the more ubiquitous that ads, cookies, and surveillance become, the less we seem to think about why and how they exist, or who gains and who loses by their existence.

None of this makes a pretty picture. Nor does it speak well of us as a civilized humanity. And unfortunately, as technology becomes more automatic, so do we in our acceptance of it.

220px-JohnLennonpeaceWait! Is that John Lennon I hear?

Imagine there’s no adverts… it’s easy if you try… no algorithms ever… just surf the web and fly.

Imagine there’s no passwords… it isn’t hard to do… no encryption needed… no analytics, too.

Imagine all the web sites… just text and pics, no ads.

You may say I’m a dreamer… but I’m not the only one… nobody likes the interruption… and searching has lost its fun.

Imagine no more tracking… I wonder if you can… nothing to sell or buy for… no brotherhood of spam.

Imagine all the cookies… just deleted in the trash.

You may say I’m a dreamer… but I’m not the only one… I hope some day you’ll join us… and the Net will be re-won.



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