In the Age Of Advertising…

In the Age Of Advertising…
6 Dec 12

Apple does it in iOS, Google does it everywhere, Microsoft does it in Windows 8 and Canonical does it in Ubuntu 12.10; in one way or another let advertising slip into your regular life with your computing devices. No matter where you go, what flavor of computing you prefer, you will get ads. One way or another.

In this day and age, it seems like there is little escaping from the clutches of the advertisers, tracking and having your information data-mined for better ad targeting. Try as you might, there’s not much getting around it.

But is it really all bad? If we do get better things to go along with the more targeted ads, as in that the adverts we have to look at are much more relevant to us, isn’t that a fair trade? Could this not potentially be a great benefit in our lives, letting us concentrate on life itself, rather than keeping our imaginary privacy actively defended online? No more hunting around for the latest offers that might interest us, as the offers would just trickle their way down to which ever device you are using at the moment. Sounds pretty ok to me.

Then again, there is that pesky privacy issue. You know what I’m talking about. That thing that doesn’t really exist in real life, only in fairy tales. Take one step and five different CCTV cameras notice you, go online to search for a new hat and 35 different online retailers systems become aware of it, or swipe your credit or debit card in the local convenience store and both the store and your bank will learn a great deal about your habits.

And let’s not even begin talking about social media, which definitely has managed to make privacy go away, if anyone still thought it was around. Never before have so many people all over our little planet felt such pressing urges to tell everybody where they are, what they are doing and who they are doing it with. All geo-tagged, photo attached, “liked”, retweeted, and commented on.

Building your own stuff might seem like a viable alternative for a while, but you’ll still be depending on online services at some point. At least this has created a booming market for alternative services who at least on the surface appear to not track you, or serve you any ads you don’t want. Edge cases? Possible. Will they be a true threat to the big players in the game? Not likely.

It’s not quite a dystopia of Gibsonesque proportions, but we’re getting there. Sure, you can try to fight back, but they’ll just get more and more clever until you don’t even know it’s going on in the background. They’ll get your information, one way or another.

 

Robert Falck

Robert is a freelance tech writer from Sweden. You can follow his posts here on the British Tech Network, listen to him yap away on the British Tech iOS Show and read even more of his stuff on his site streakmachine.com or you can even follow him on twitter @streakmachine. (But you won’t find him on Facebook!)

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Robert Falck

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