1984 2.0

Posted on April 30, 2011


Big Browser is Watching You

Big Browser is Watching You

Just a little inSecurity reminder. Once upon a time, if Google wanted to know what you were looking at online, it had to coax you to install the Google toolbar. Now they just have to talk you into using Chrome instead of Firefox (which, given the quality of recent Firefox upgrades, isn’t all that much work). As for the kerfuffle over Apple tracking its iPhone users’ location, well, this is nothing new. All cellphones do this. Some even do it when they’re turned off entirely. There’s a project on the Downtown Eastside to give streetwalkers donated cellphones with no service. They still call 911, and they still track their locations, which is exactly why they’re being distributed: to reduce the chance that some girl goes entirely missing.

Why collect all this data? Because they can then sell advertising that’s more precisely targeted. This is also why Facebook likes you to use it. As a friend of mine said, never mistake yourself for Facebook’s customer: you are the product that they sell their customers.

Remember, it isn’t really consent until it’s informed consent. Which reminds me to post this lovely (gross) little public service announcement from SouthPark on the importance of reading the terms of service agreements instead of just clicking “Sure, gimme my free game” or whatever. Definitely, superlatively NSFW.