Just saw The Five Questions That Will Eliminate Ad Fraud. I'm not sure if those will do it. How about five more?
Since adtech is based on the idea of cheating writers using computers, is anyone surprised that someone came up with the idea of cheating adtech using computers?
Can you seriously expect any site that lives by ripping off other people's content to be completely honest with its ad networks?
Since adtech intermediaries make money from fraud just as they do on other ads, can you expect them to take fraud seriously, or just give conference talks about it?
Because IAB is run by and for the Big Data intermediaries who make money from fraud, do legit advertisers and content sites need an independent organization?
How can improving privacy protections for users make online ads more valuable?Posted Fri 21 Feb 2014 08:48:50 AM PST
I use dlvr.it to share blog posts and links with Facebook, through the magic of RSS. Every once in a while I go to the Facebook site to read comments on something that dlvr.it gatewayed there for me, but Facebook is not one of the places I check habitually (see How can I break the Facebook habit).
Most of the ads that I was getting to start with were for free-to-play NSFW games, so I changed my profile to "female". Jackpot! All of a sudden I started getting much more professional ads, including IT products and services for big companies, and training classes for online marketing skills (yes, including a Facebook ad for a class on how to advertise on Facebook). What I guess happened is that the more business-focused advertisers put in gender-neutral bids, and while I was "male" on the site, they got outbid by the game companies specifically targeting male users.
(Dudes, I highly recommend going "female" on Facebook if you haven't already, especially if you might be embarrased about people seeing too much décolletage in the ads when they walk by. So there's your personal infotainment tip for today.)
But what did I do? I had fixed a problem, so I broke it some more. I went ahead and stayed female, but increased my age to 88. Big mistake.
Now, I look at the ads, and I'm getting the bottom-feeders of the bottom-feeders. The above ad goes to a page that has nothing to do with a celebrity scandal. It's some kind of laser surgery racket. Oh well, the "dynamic corporate IT professional" ads that I had been getting as a younger woman were good while they lasted. I don't know if I'm now getting the low bidders who didn't want to pay more to reach younger users, or if some of these advertisers are targeting me.
Bob Hoffman points out that marketing ignores people over 50 but that's just legit marketing, from the kind of places that hire people like Bob Hoffman. All those ad spots that the big brands don't buy are still getting snapped up, and the result is pretty icky.Posted Thu 13 Feb 2014 07:33:45 AM PST
The last time one of my kids was sick, I gave her some Children's Tylenol.
Yes, Tylenol is still a thing. Even after the infamous Tylenol poisonings.
Johnson and Johnson, the brand's owner, recalled all the existing Tylenol, started a campaign to tell people not to take it, and, most important, fixed some key security problems.
Bottle seals are expensive.
Redesigning an openable capsule into a solid, coated caplet is even more expensive.
But the company did it. Today, the Tylenol story is the classic business-school example of how to save a product that has a severe security flaw. And I'm giving the stuff to my kids.
Today is supposed to be "#StopTheNSA" day. I'm just glad that the people who came up with that weren't in charge during the Tylenol crisis. Tylenol would have sponsored a big, attention-getting "#StopTheFBI" day, while customers quietly swore off the stuff.
Bonus link: Will the cloud divide America and Europe? by Rajesh RamPosted Tue 11 Feb 2014 06:41:15 AM PST
One can argue, and maybe I'm the first one to do it,
that all this targeting and audience segmentation might
be creating an internet that's worse for the consumer.
By downplaying the need for context, we're actually
dis-incentivizing the creation of quality content and
(no, you're you're not the first one, but you won't be the last.)Posted Wed 22 Jan 2014 03:53:56 PM PST
First of all, go read Havoc Pennington's report on putting Fedora 20 on a ThinkPad T440s. Good stuff, and a big reason I bought this machine in the first place.
The main problems with the T440s from my point of a view as a long-time Linux/ThinkPad user are...
New power connector again. Just when I got rid of my last 16V, and had a decent collection of round 20V ones, too. (But the new rectangular connector is also 20V. Maybe there's a source of just the connectors and I can break out the soldering iron and convert a couple of old ones.)
No more hard-wired mouse buttons below the space bar. More on this below.
Yes, this is the kind of little stuff that Linux laptop users are down to complaining about, now. When I was starting out we had to recompile the kernel just to get PCMCIA working. (What's PCMCIA? Get off my lawn.)
The Fedora 20 install was easy, as usual. Since I now have several Fedora, RHEL, and CentOS machines kicking around at work, I wrote an RPM spec to depend on or conflict with all the stuff I like to have or not have, so that I don't have to do as many "I thought that was already on here, oh well, yum install" moments.
On previous ThinkPads, I only had to use the "synclient" command once to turn off the TouchPad. Now, with no hardware mouse buttons, there's some more tweaking required. Fortunately, people had already hashed it out in the comments on that Havoc's Blog piece (you did read it, right?) so all I had to do was stick the right commands into a script. Since I will never remember how to make a .desktop file, the script will take care of that, too.
So now I have a Synaptics TouchPad that's set up for
just three mouse buttons and for two-finger scroll.
One-finger motion or accidental palm contact does
nothing. Anyone who has claimed that
is dead is clearly Wrong.
Nice screen. The speakers have always been a weak point for ThinkPads compared to other laptop brands IMHO, but the T440s is a refreshing change. Not hi-fi, but not pathetic either. Still needs headphones for extended listening.
The keyboard is similar to the one on the T430, with island-style keys. At first glance you might think, oh, crap, another laptop vendor hired an Apple fanboy as a product manager. But somehow Lenovo managed to make this keyboard much more usable than the Apple version. Not sure why, possibly because the keys each have a slight depression instead of being pure minimalist RoundRects. Anyway, good keyboard, and the IBM TrackPoint is unchanged.
Everything just works
Yawn. Have not tried the Ethernet or VGA ports, but no surprises so far. Let's put it this way: you're not going to learn anything about reverse engineering, driver development, or hardware vendor politics here. It's open box, click buttons, watch cat video time.
Time for another round of license poker?
The mid-range ThinkPads have been stealth Linux boxes for a long time, so it's not a surprise that this one is, too. Built from well-supported Intel components, and there's little if any drama getting the pre-loaded MS-Windows off, and Linux on.
Speaking of pre-loaded
MS-Windows, well, that's a tough business these
PCs are getting cheaper. But they're not making
much money for their makers. Welcome to the value
trap, writes The Guardian.'s Charles
Arthur. Time for another round of preloaded Linux
laptops, to get a better license deal from Microsoft?
Any time Lenovo needs to do that, this hardware is
ready for it.
Why are the people of Silicon Valley, including a venture capitalist slash Stanford professor, seemingly ignorant about questions that any gun show shopper would get right the first time? Michael Dearing, in The NSA and the Corrosion of Silicon Valley, writes,
Inside our companies and research centers, talented minds are being conscripted into surveillance. Think about the software developers who wrote the code behind your email service. Or the team who built the guts of a blogging service’s geolocation features. Not one of them chose to work for the NSA. But their work has been co-opted, effectively turned into surveillance tools.
Turned into surveillance tools.
Maybe the gun nuts have just been thinking about this stuff longer than the Valley crowd has. When the question of gun registration comes up, nobody beard-strokingly says, well, we need to reform the government so that the data collected will never be used for a confiscation program. Any Second Amendment fan will jump straight to assuming that the government, or someone inside the government, will go Pol Pot on them and do the worst possible thing with the data.
A good computer programmer doesn't trust the user's input, or servers out on the network. Why trust the government?
Maybe there's a simple answer. First, wishful thinking, and second, ambitious marketing. People normally interact with companies in a guard-up shopping mode. Users know that a company is trying to sell them something, and protect their internal decision-making process. But using what Rebecca J. Rosen calls the Grossest Advertising Strategy of All Time, a company can try to get inside the user's decision-making process.
In most cases, behavioral marketing goals are nowhere near achieved. The basic data that goes into user profiling is often wrong, and even hot "social" data Isn’t Actually A Good Way To Judge Potential Employees.
But what if there's a deeper problem. What if the Valley crowd really does know that whining about NSA reform is useless? Even if the marketing is weak, the surveillance is Good Enough For Government Work. What if, as Christopher Caldwell suggests, the surveillance-marketing complex is going through a public-private bonding period?
Big Data algorithms often escape common sense and easy regulability. Those who create them have a powerful incentive—as the designers of financial derivatives did a decade ago—to render them opaque. Yet the privacy problem that most agitates the authors is the prospect that companies might have to reveal "confidential business strategies to outsiders." The authors' suggestion of a "privacy framework...focused less on individual consent at the time of collection and more on holding data users [corporations] accountable for what they do" sounds awfully convenient for the data users. In fact, it sounds a great deal like the voluntary compliance that was expected of banks in the Alan Greenspan era.
That's going to be a problem when the inevitable "let's disrupt the incumbent" startups come along. The users and makers of privacy tools could already go to jail under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. And clearly, regulation will be more of an aid to the marketing-surveillance complex than a hindrance. In the system that passed CAN-SPAM, the most that Congress will come up with is a a complex set of regulations to protect incumbents (who have the budget to hire people to figure out the regulations) from startups (who don't).
So if adtech is so firmly joined to the NSA (and, of course, to other countries' intelligence agencies) to the point where disrupting it is, well, they don't call it "disrupting" when it's the government, do they? If the surveillance-marketing complex is really a thing, and not just a bunch of naive IT vendors being taken advantage of by the big bad NSA, what can we possibly do?
Are we supposed to become Cypherpunks 2.0? Bruce Schneier says The US government has betrayed the internet. We need to take it back. and Make Wide-Scale Surveillance Too Expensive. But who can do that? That's a lot of coding.
If you're a citizen looking to keep your Fourth Amendment rights, well, look at the people who have kept their Second Amendment rights. Read pieces like Thoughts on militia kit from Bob Owens. And if you're an IT vendor, then think like a firearms manufacturer.
What's the equivalent of "militia kit" for information freedom? Has to include something like Disconnect (interview). Second Amendment defenders don't have to adopt a Merry Men lifestyle to be effective, and many Fourth Amendment fans can get by with basic privacy tools instead of becoming slow-Internet-using PGP/Tor nerds.
Can we strangle surveillance marketing with easy-to-use off the shelf privacy tools such as Disconnect? Maybe. The big problem for surveillance marketing these days is that they can't have adtech, privacy, and fraud control—they have to pick two. If the user base picks privacy for them, then the presence of fraud rings is a big problem for surveillance marketing. It's easier for a bot to hide if it can pretend to be a privacy-sensitive user.
But can users and developers, without advertisers, squeeze out adtech? Probably not. When I mock Fourth Amendment fans for failing to protect their rights as well as the Second Amendment fans do, I'm leaving out an important fact. The Second Amendment doesn't have a whole industry devoted to wiping it out, while the Fourth is under attack from every "online advertising" line item in every Marketing budget in the world. And as long as that's true, you're risking prosecution under the CFAA every time you block or scramble an ad cookie.
The last piece that needs to come together for this privacy thing to work at all is for advertisers to realize that targeted advertising loses the valuable signal that they're buying ads for in the first place. The Fourth becomes as easy to defend as the Second when violating the Fourth loses its economic constituency, not before.
Adtech is just cold calling with too much math, and it's time for the bubble to pop. More on that in Targeted Advertising Considered Harmful.Posted Tue 07 Jan 2014 06:16:18 AM PST
This is based on a couple of questions about adtech fraud that have come up on mailing lists and in private email recently.
You know how half of online ad money is being stolen by con men and swindlers? And, at the same time, people are talking about how to make online advertising work in a more privacy-sensitive way?
It looks as if it's impossible for adtech as we know it to do both. We can't go directly from today's online ad environment to one that protects privacy. Current adtech has kicked out some of the essential supports, so a privacy-sensitive online ad business is going to have to rebuild some important connections.
Just to review, here's the fundamental value proposition of adtech.
The fundamental value proposition of these ad tech companies who are de-anonymizing the Internet is, "Why spend big CPMs on branded sites when I can get them on no-name sites?"
That's from Michael Tiffany, CEO of an adtech security firm called White Ops.
Here's the same explanation from the publisher's point of view. Alexis C. Madrigal:
The ad market, on which we all depend, started going haywire. Advertisers didn't have to buy The Atlantic. They could buy ads on networks that had dropped a cookie on people visiting The Atlantic. They could snatch our audience right out from underneath us.
With me so far? Yes, adtech proponents are going to try to snow you with talk about Big Data and disruption and all that jibber-jabber, but the object of the game from the adtech point of view is to track the users well enough that advertisers don't have to pay for reputable content.
Can't tell the players without a scorecard
Player one is the adtech firms. Their role in the game is relatively simple. First, move ad budgets away from high-value sites to cheaper ones, you know, the sites that run a bunch of crappy, infringing, violent, or otherwise Bad content. And track the same users from reputable to bottom-feeder sites. Adtech firms are all selling essentially the same thing. (Of course, they dress it up with technological-sounding language but the premise is simple. Writers cost money. Everybody needs money. Therefore, take money away from writers.)
Player two is the actual advertisers, the clients. For now, just think of them as the parents who are eventually going to come home and discover the party and the credit card receipts.
Player three: the users. The
conventional wisdom is that Pew
Research Center study has found that 86 percent
of US Internet users
have taken steps online to
remove or mask their digital footprints. And People
Are Changing Their Internet Habits Now That They Know
The NSA Is Watching.
Privacy tools are getting easier. Here's the most promising trend. Google and Microsoft, two companies that both make browsers and do adtech, are looking to replace the cookie with a new identifier.
iMedia Connection: All Feed: Google's first steps toward a cookie-free tomorrow
Instead of trying to micromanage cookies, privacy software developers will be able to deal with a single big target. Just scramble or block a single Google identifier and a single Microsoft one. (Facebook will probably do one, too.) Other companies, though, may go with sneaky browser fingerprinting, which requires fixing a bunch of bugs to deal with. But if Google and Microsoft are both staying away from this technique, it will be easier for those fixes to make it through the browser development process.
Now player four. The fraud rings. Remember the
bottom-feeder publishers on which adtech depends?
Well, as you might expect, many of them are
We fill up our site with infringing
copies of other people's content, but we play it
totally honest with our ad networks, said no
Google has everyone else in the game outclassed technically, but some of the ad fraud gangs have been able to score a few points against even Google. And if you can hang with Google, you can clobber the adtech ankle-biters.
Alexis C. Madrigal: The Dark Art of Bots: How to Make $2 Million Online Without a Human Audience
More examples in the bonus links below. The deeper you dig, the more fraud you find.
As Jack Marshall points
Manufacturers of false traffic intimately
understand the performance indicators on which
agencies are paid and know exactly how to game the
system without making it obvious as a result. As
Kuntz pointed out, that can lead to agencies tweaking
campaigns and reallocating budgets based on completely
false information, and they have little idea they’re
doing so. Agencies are just following the numbers.
If you're working for an agency, you're pwned. Fraud rings are inside your OODA Loop. When you see the major industry publication, Ad Age, run the subhead Metrics, Fraud and Piracy Remain Concerns in the Marketplace, that basically means HOLY SHIT THEY'RE ROBBING US BLIND.
Wait a minute, though. Adtech firms need to get more data in order to get a handle on fraud. But they need to get less data in order to give users some privacy and make online ads work better. As a matter of fact, the adtech business needs to do three things at the same time.
Take money away from reputable sites and their contributors.
Give users some privacy, because spam carries no signal.
Limit the amount of fraud in the system before the clients lose their patience.
But this might be one of those "pick two" situations. Right now the industry has picked option 1 already, and is trying for 3. That means throw away 2. So the current trend is toward Peak Advertising. The medium will eventually get burned out, like email spam. That would be a shame.
If you agree with me that you can't have effective advertising without user privacy, and with Eaon Pritchard that the great thing about brand advertising is exactly that it is unable to deliver precision targeting and lacks quantifiable ROI., then the choice is whether you want to throw away 1 or 3. If you give up on 3, then the whole system falls apart when the fraud gets too obvious for the clients. After all, if a user has good enough privacy tech, there's no way to tell him or her from any other user, or from a bot.
Which leaves the option that looks to me like the sound one. Keep 2 and 3, and give up on ripping off the writers. Of course, this means abandoning the fundamental value proposition of adtech, so that means giving up on the whole creepy industry and building a new one.
BOB HOFFMAN: eBay: Paid Search Is Worthless
Adam Tanner, Contributor: Here's The Most Amusing Way To Learn The Depressing News About Your Vanishing Privacy
Matthew Gertner: Advertisers Should Love AdBlock Plus
Judith Aquino: Mozilla Opens Up On Cookie-Blocking, Ad Targeting
Ben Williams: An open letter to Twitter
Jack Marshall: Here Come The Bots: Assessing the Latest Ad Fraud Fear
Ian Bogost: What Is 'Evil' to Google?
Adam Tanner, Contributor: Google And Facebook Get A Thumbs Down From This New Site That Reviews Privacy Policies
BOB HOFFMAN: Insights That Lead Nowhere
Venkat Balasubramani: Google Wins Cookie Privacy Lawsuit
Evgeny Morozov: Why We Are Allowed To Hate Silicon Valley
BOB HOFFMAN: The Scam What Am
BOB HOFFMAN: Astounding News From Moronsville
Adam Tanner, Contributor: The Revolutionary Way Marketers Read Your Financial Footprints
BOB HOFFMAN: Delighting In Digital Dumbness
Eric Picard: How targeted advertising can be savedPosted Sun 05 Jan 2014 06:22:52 AM PST
Gregg Easterbrook: How the NFL Fleeces Taxpayers
Jon Lund, Guest Contributor: Why tablet magazines are a failure
Emily Washington: The Value of Walkability
Peter Frase: Delusions of the Tech Bro Intelligentsia
Vijay Govindarajan: India’s Secret to Low-Cost Health Care
Andrew Price: What About The Elderly?
polkadotjello: Engineer’s “Pico Dwelling” Micro Apartment
Catherine Price: Can a $400 Blender Change Your Life?
Derek Thompson: Writing for Free
Rose Eveleth and Rachel Nuwer: Show Me the Money: The Economics of Freelance Science Journalism
Doc Searls: How to rescue radio
Lydia DePillis: Car companies are picking sides between Apple and Google (via The Big Picture)Posted Thu 02 Jan 2014 07:53:21 AM PST
Remember how Bruce Schneier used to do those security snake oil posts? Somebody needs to start doing that for privacy.
Here's a great example of privacy snake oil. The primary NSA issue isn't privacy, it's authority by Jeff Jarvis.
I also think that my cancer hospital, Sloan-Kettering, should collect data about how many penises, including mine, still function properly after prostate surgery there because that information and associated metadata about surgeons and age and other conditions could be valuable to the patients who follow. Of course, I expect that data to be held anonymously.
But there is no such thing as depersonalized or safe data about a person. You can't magically assume that because some large institution has a policy where everyone has to raise his or her right hand and say something nice about privacy, that the data won't get out there.
Here's the real problem, explained in an Atlantic piece by Rebecca J. Rosen: It Is Trivially Easy to Match Metadata to Real People.
As federal district judge Richard Leon wrote in his decision last week, "There is also nothing stopping the Government from skipping the [National Security Letter] step altogether and using public databases or any of its other vast resources to match phone numbers with subscribers."
Yes, that's right. Real people. Not hypothetical "wouldn't it be nifty if in the future..." people, but real people with all the stalkers, scammers, data brokers, and assorted creeps who have just as much access to the surveillance-marketing complex as anybody else.
Gervase Markham thinks it through, in Location Services and Privacy.
Now, as Mozilla, our initial impulse as an open organization would be to release all the raw collected data to the public so people can build awesome things we haven’t even thought of yet. However, it turns out that this data comes with some interesting privacy challenges.
Yes, code should be free, and so on, but what about wireless MAC addresses? What about all the other privacy use cases?
Privacy is hard.
Schneier's snake oilers were always trying to re-use one-time pads. You can't do that. Likewise, you can't collect and store PII—and it's all PII—and not have it come back to bite the people that it's about.
RAND: Commentary by RAND Staff: Opt-In, Opt-Out; Why Not Forced Choice?
Top News - MIT Technology Review: Data Discrimination Means the Poor May Experience a Different Internet (via Hack Education)
Doc Searls: Marketing isn’t getting the market’s message
Bruce Schneier: A Fraying of the Public/Private Surveillance Partnership
Michelle Richardson: Feinstein's NSA bill shows she doesn't have a clue about intelligence reform
Evgeny Morozov: The Real Privacy Problem
Bruce Schneier: Surveillance as a Business Model
Alice Marwick: How Your Data Are Being Deeply MinedPosted Tue 31 Dec 2013 08:02:51 AM PST
Daniel Nazer: Patent Troll Lodsys Settles for Nothing to Avoid Trial
Eugene Kaspersky: The patent trolls can be defeated – just never give up!
Eugene Kaspersky: Breathe the pressure!
Kate Tummarello: Mark Cuban, Reddit co-founder join patent fightPosted Mon 30 Dec 2013 07:27:03 AM PST
(This is feedback for my filter bubble tool, which lives here: read the whole thing. You've probably seem most of these when they made the rounds.)
Sarah Green: Research: Cubicles Are the Absolute Worst
Remy Van Elst: DigitalOcean Sucks. Use DigitalOcean! - Raymii.org
Megan Garber: English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet
Margot Kaminski: The TPP and Copyright
The Universe of Discourse: Insane calculations in bash
Janet Levaux: Pinball Museum Set for New Alameda Home
Kevin Drum: Why Are American Doctors Paid So Damn Much?
David Heinemeier Hansson: Microsoft's dystopian pitch for remote work by David of 37signals
John Bergmayer: If You Love Fair Use, Give It A Day Off Once In a While
sogrady: The Difficulty of Selling Software
Columbia Journalism Review: The NYT's paywall overtakes digital ads
KillerMartinis: Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or, Poverty Thoughts
James Hamblin: The Fist Bump Manifesto
Andrew Raff: Google Book Search is a Fair Use
Mike Linksvayer: Upgrade to CC-BY(-(NC(-(ND|SA))?|ND|SA))?-4.0
Matthew Yglesias: Can't Talk San Francisco House Prices Without Talking Zoning
James Kwak: Why JPMorgan Is JPMorgan
Doc Searls: Marketing isn’t getting the market’s message
Ben Bajarin: Android is Eating the World
Chris Heilmann: Help me write a Developer Evangelism/Advocacy guide
John Hempton: Google Plus will get your children murdered
xkcd.com: Git Commit
Matthew Yglesias: Conservatives' Curious Affection for the Doctors' Cartel
Guest Author: On Go’s Web Application Ecosystem
oliveremberton: The real reason we have meetings
Matthew Green: How does the NSA break SSL?
Patrick Stokes: The digital soul
Steven Rosenberg: I'm looking at the Fedora Power Management Guide
George Monbiot: The lies behind this transatlantic trade deal | George Monbiot
Christina Farr: Swarm Mobile gets $3.5M to track shoppers in physical stores
Andrew Rossignol: A Testament to X11 Backwards Compatibility
Edward Hasbrouck: Witness in “no-fly” trial finds she’s on “no-fly” list too
Bruce Schneier: The Problem with EULAs
Tom Scocca: On Smarm
Jean-Marc Valin's random rants on DSP, Speex, open-source: Opus 1.1 released
Jeff John Roberts: Supreme Court to review patents on software
BBC News - World: More men chat in girls' 'dialect'
Charlie Stross: Lovebible.pl
Simone: Radio Arcala Antenna Collapsed
Denis Duvauchelle: The most valuable lessons I learned from managing a virtual team
Richard Posner: Raise the Federal Minimum Wage (But Not Too Far)—Posner
Adrianne Jeffries: CyanogenMod rolls out encrypted text messaging by default
Ed Felten: How to stop spies from piggybacking on commercial Web tracking (via Deeplinks)
Planet PostgreSQL: Josh Berkus: Meet your new NoSQL Database
Charlie Stross: Trust Me (I'm a kettle)
Adi Kamdar and Rainey Reitman and Seth Schoen: NSA Turns Cookies (And More) Into Surveillance Beacons (via Schneier on Security)
Chris Roberts: Fedora 20 final status is a go
Jim Motavalli: Driving VW's Astonishing 200 MPG XL1
Peter Eckersley and Peter Eckersley: Google Removes Vital Privacy Feature From Android, Claiming Its Release Was Accidental (via John Battelle's Search Blog and Global: Dan Gillmor | theguardian.com)
Zev Winicur: (Gluten-Free) (Vegetarian) Tamale Pie
Keith Packard: xserver-warnings
Johannes Ernst: There are only Three Base Business Models
CoreOS Blog: Running etcd in Docker Containers
Daniel Kahn Gillmor (dkg): OpenPGP Key IDs are not useful
Bruce Schneier: World War II Anecdote about Trust and Security
The world's $0 commission stock brokerage.
Benjamin Meyer: Large Git repositories
Colin Ian King: Detecting System Management Interrupts
Mike Hadlow: Are Your Programmers Working Hard, Or Are They Lazy?
Ronald Bailey: Kill Off Software Patents
Caleb Garling: A modest proposal: Lose the tint, Tech Buses
John Brownlee: This Genius Spoof Rebrands Santa For The 21st Century
News You Can Bruise: Markov vs. Queneau: Sentence Assembly Smackdown
Baylen Linnekin: Small-Town Raw Milk Farm Faces Dubious Attack in Massachusetts
Sean Gallagher: Update: NSA surveillance critic Bruce Schneier to leave post at BT (via Schneier on Security)
Matthew Yglesias: You Can't Talk Housing Costs Without Talking About Zoning
Mark Dominus: Moonpig: a billing system that doesn't suck
Daniel Genkin, Adi Shamir, Eran Tromer: RSA Key Extraction via Low-Bandwidth Acoustic Cryptanalysis (via Schneier on Security and Planet Intertwingly)
Sean Gallagher: NSA leaks blamed for Cisco’s falling sales overseas (updated)
Timothy B. Lee: Obama administration sued over its secretive trade negotiations
Kashmir Hill, Forbes Staff: Data Broker Was Selling Lists Of Rape Victims, Alcoholics, and 'Erectile Dysfunction Sufferers'
sogrady: DVCS and Git Usage in 2013
Nathaniel Mott: Why the HP Chromebook 11′s exploding charger is its best feature
David Kendal: Block-chains and Bitcoin
Gregory Ferenstein: Tim Draper Wants To Split California Into Pieces And Turn Silicon Valley Into Its Own State (via TechCrunch)
Dylan Love: BitTorrent Is Building An NSA-Proof Chat Product
doingitwrong: When “Life Hacking” Is Really White Privilege — Medium (via Chris Hanel)
Mikko Hypponen: An Open Letter to the Chiefs of EMC and RSA
Jason: Ho Rudolph
Molly Samuel: The KQED Blog Posts That Just Won’t Go Away
Paul Nijjar's Internet Landfill -- Firehose: Why Libraries Still Matter
Guy Somerset: Manufacturing Outrage
Krzysztof Kotowicz: Rapportive XSSes Gmail or have yourself a merry little botnet...
Network & Infrastructure Blogs: Offshore Cloud Services: Who's in control?
Platypus Reloaded: Data Extortion
Steve Kovach: Why Your Android Phone Will Always Be Out Of Date
Felix Salmon: Why cab drivers should love Uber
Mat Honan: Generation X Is Sick Of Your Bullsh*t
Eric Blattberg: Apple-backed Rockstar group reportedly hawking its patents
Jeremy Stieglitz: Monster Madness – creating games on the web with Emscripten (via Standblog)
Arik Hesseldahl: Talk of an RSA Boycott Grows After Reports It Colluded With the NSA (via AllThingsD)Posted Sun 29 Dec 2013 06:40:27 PM PST
You want the bad news first, or the good news?
All right, let's start with the bad news.
Office sprawl is still a thing: Why Apple's Suburban Spaceship Could Lose The War For Tech Talent (via Samizdata)
And so is income inequality: The Second Class Citizens of the Google Cafeteria
Speaking of people not in prison who probably should be: Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke | | Rolling Stone (via Eschaton)
Good point from Andrea Peterson: 2013 is the year that proved your ‘paranoid’ friend right
Ready for the good news?
Bill Gates on progress fighting polio: Good News You Might Have Missed in 2013
One of the dumbest and most politically connected US policies may finally be going down:A Bipartisan Group Of Lawmakers Is Out To Kill The Corn-Based Ethanol Mandate (but wait, Sen. Feinstein is for it...what's the catch?)
Food Safety Modernization Act and "Ag Gag" would have been gifts to big rent-seeking agribusiness, but they're not doing so well: Food Freedom Dodged Bullets in 2013
All aboard: BART, Unions Reach Deal in Contract Dispute
Forgotten? Not if you're from Northern Indiana. The Largely Forgotten, Cynical Genius Behind A Christmas Story
Who knew "stunts your growth" was a marketing lie? The Devious Ad Campaign That Convinced America Coffee Was Bad for KidsPosted Sun 29 Dec 2013 08:31:14 AM PST
Where does the surveillance-marketing complex get all these wonderful ideas?
A little while ago we had the follow people through stores startup, and now there's a company that wants to keep track of your stuff in your house.
Adaptly CEO Nikhil Sethi, in The Future of Advertising Hinges on Understanding Identity:
Imagine that after continual usage, your fridge begins to understand what foods you consume and when. It then can make sure you have a full stock of the products you like. At the same time, these interconnected fridges are able to tell broader organizations what kind of local demand exists for certain produce, making sure the right deliveries are scheduled accordingly.
Or better yet, the count of cold beers in that fridge went down from 12 to 1, and the user is home alone web surfing. How much would an advertiser pay for that information?
Let's introduce our new product to people who
buy ice cream and never even put it in the fridge.
People who take it straight from car trunk to couch to
A clear value exchange to the
consumer will be important for ads to move from the
creepy factor to the wow factor.
But that's the problem. There is no valley of creepiness to get through. One-sided information just keeps getting creepier and creepier the more one-sided it is.
Connecting with the consumer?
You know the "consumer" side of me? The slothful, covetous, money-wasting side of my personality? The one who wants to buy some new shiny object, then play with it for a half hour and just leave it to clutter up the place?
I hope you haven't met him. If you're trying to sell me something, I don't want to let him talk to you.
Don Corleone said to Sonny,
that's an interesting concept but I think I can
fulfil that need with my existing devices side,
NEW SHINY THING ME WANT side.
So, Internet of Things and Targeted Advertising are both hot concepts, but combining them? If it doesn't work, it's just a privacy hole for no benefit. If it does work, that's even worse. It would go around the public business personality to the private, stuff-handling personality.
Somehow the industry needs to learn norms about selling things to people, not just technological possibilities.
I had an interesting conversation with a California resident a few days ago. A door-to-door sales rep had just come by, and as soon as he left, she called the police. The non-emergency police number, but still.
It turns out that other people in the neighborhood had also called. We've gone from a society in which door-to-door sales was totally normal, even the subject of underground NSFW comics, to something that regular people call the police about.
So where are we with web ad targeting?
Well, just like everything else in the IT business, at every level from hardware random number generators all the way up to cloud computing contracts, there's a Snowden document for that. It turns out that the NSA uses Google cookies, so you can't really split the surveillance-marketing complex, much as some people would like to.
Bruce Schneier says,
There are a lot of technical things we can do. The
goal is to make eavesdropping expensive. That's
the way to think about this, is to force the NSA to
abandon wholesale collection in favor of targeted
collection of information.
We can't fix half of the privacy problem.
There's no way to be
secure in your persons,
houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable
searches and seizures from the government,
while at the same time giving up your personal
info to the marketing side. Because the
government can just get the marketing data.
Even if they have to threaten to close some of the tax
loopholes that the Internet companies use,
they'll get it.
Or worse. Somebody else's government will.
Yes, people are going to get post-Snowden privacy tools. (Disconnect Search is my favorite.) But fixing privacy is actually going to be good for business. Details in Targeted Advertising Considered Harmful.
Bonus linksPosted Fri 27 Dec 2013 08:13:32 AM PST
I went to a trade show and sat down in a chair in a company's booth.
Then one of their marketing people started giving a demo. Right in front of MY chair! Don't they have any respect for their users? I was so mad I almost walked out!
Actually, not really.
Last time I went to a trade show I knew enough about how this stuff works to realize that the chairs in the booths are "free" because the company paid to have them there, to try to sell me stuff. I went to the booth anyway, but I didn't move in.
Bonus link: Instagram.Posted Thu 14 Nov 2013 07:29:36 AM PST
Where should companies draw the line in collecting
information about us in their efforts to sell things?
For example, should they catalog medical ailments or
physical attributes such as obesity? What about
religion, race, or sexual orientation?
Doesn't work. Writing codes of conduct for what's sensitive or secret information about a person, and what's not, is just a sacrifice of perfectly good carpal tunnels.
Once you turn the algorithms loose on a customer data set that's been carefully sanitized of anything medical, ethnic, or otherwise personal, they'll promptly reconstruct it.Posted Thu 31 Oct 2013 06:55:07 AM PDT
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