August 16, 2013
What Does It Really Matter If Corporations Are Tracking Us Online?

Say you, like me, went to bed a little early last night. And when you woke up this morning, you decided to catch the episode of the Daily Show that you missed. So you pointed your browser over to thedailyshow.com, and there, as you expected, is John Oliver. But there’s something else there too, at least if you’re me: flashing deals for hotels in Annapolis, which just so happens to be where I’ve been planning a weekend away.
We all are familiar at this point with the targeted ads that follow us around the web, linked to our browsing history. In this case, Google (who served me this ad) only got it half right: I had already booked a place.
And yet, I am planning a trip to Annapolis, and Google “knows” this, and is using this information to try to sell me stuff, a practice commonly criticized as “creepy.” But as philosopher Evan Selinger asserted in Slate last year, the word “creepy” isn’t particularly illuminating. What, really, is wrong with ad tracking? Why does it bother us? What is the problem?
Read more. [Image: AP]

What Does It Really Matter If Corporations Are Tracking Us Online?

Say you, like me, went to bed a little early last night. And when you woke up this morning, you decided to catch the episode of the Daily Show that you missed. So you pointed your browser over to thedailyshow.com, and there, as you expected, is John Oliver. But there’s something else there too, at least if you’re me: flashing deals for hotels in Annapolis, which just so happens to be where I’ve been planning a weekend away.

We all are familiar at this point with the targeted ads that follow us around the web, linked to our browsing history. In this case, Google (who served me this ad) only got it half right: I had already booked a place.

And yet, I am planning a trip to Annapolis, and Google “knows” this, and is using this information to try to sell me stuff, a practice commonly criticized as “creepy.” But as philosopher Evan Selinger asserted in Slate last year, the word “creepy” isn’t particularly illuminating. What, really, is wrong with ad tracking? Why does it bother us? What is the problem?

Read more. [Image: AP]

  1. decause reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    reppin
  2. flawlessescape reblogged this from crocodileblackpelvis
  3. jgrassound reblogged this from maneatingbadger
  4. maneatingbadger reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    More good points. See also.
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  17. crocodileblackpelvis reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    The problem is their collusion with security agencies. There, I just saved you all five minutes.
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