Culture and Society

Privacy? What Is That?

They say, if you are not being sold a product.. you are the product.

But what if you are being sold an idea?

An idea that you need all this.

All this FacebookGoogleTwitterInternet.

You remember, when TeeVee happened. I am young enough to remember nothing. I know, however, thatwe had 2 channels back then and everyone watched everything. I mean, we were all so excited about the potential of that magic box back then. Global Village.

I still remember how I won an essay writing competition or two by writing something called “The magic of television”. They don’t do that anymore. They have moved on to the internet. “Pros and Cons of the Internet”  wins essay competitions now.

Television is now commercialized to the hilt. And maybe the same thing is going to happen to cyberspace.

Maybe it is happening even now. Sponsored links, sponsored tweets, sponsored everything.
Sponsored people. Sponsored ideas. Sponsored lives. Not far away.

Everything is and will continue to be monitored. Google is doing it. They probably don’t want to. This is money we are talking about. Google “bubbles” your search results. They show you what you want. There are no opposite opinions creeping in to your search results. Nothing that Google thinks you shouldn’t be seeing. 
Facebook has been doing it quite successfully though they claim to have cleaned up their act recently. Of course, they still think you should be listening to Mr. X because you ‘liked’  a page of Mr. Y.

And then there is Klout.

As, Charlie Stross puts it here

Anyway: if you sign up for Klout you are coming down with the internet equivalent of herpes. Worse, you risk infecting all your friends. Klout’s business model is flat-out illegal in the UK (and, I believe, throughout the EU) and if you have an account with them I would strongly advise you to delete it and opt out; if you’re in the UK you could do worse than send them a cease-and-desist plus a request to delete all your data, then follow up a month later with a Freedom of Information Act request.

This sucks. 

Mostly because, we are being sold all this creepyness as a boon to our existence in the name of tailor-made online experiences.

SO what can you do? Pretty much nothing. What is everyone else doing? Practically nothing.
Welcome to the Machine. [what did I just do?] 

You can try too. Jam some culture? Subvert some advertising?
Stop bullshiting yourself. Stop listening to the guy who is telling you to stop bullshiting yourself.
Start thinking for yourself.

Haha, that sounds great, let us read this blog post by a guy who got tired of being able to do nothing about this  so he wrote an angry blogpost.

What can you actually do? Make tough choices. Some useful suggestions here.

Who knows what the future will be like? With jetpacks and advertising that tells you what to dream?

By then it will be too late.


[I hope I don’t sound paranoid but there is even an Infringement Festival]




  • Kaustubh Phatak

    you cant do anything for this bullshit….
    the whole world is being a wave into this internet boom…
    people have forgot that Internet is a product of enormous research by many hard working engineers and they have made it into money making business.
    Google and Facebook are tracking your history not just because to serve the results what u want to see but also to dominate the whole internet.

    in the near future advertising will kill internet for sure.

    • Sushrut Munje

      I’m not sure it would be advertising that would kill the internet. We’re getting more adept at ignoring anything that even slightly looks like an advertisement. We end up ignoring the ‘noise’ (content) and hunt for the “skip this ad” button. The marketers are currently working on making their product more relevant in our daily lives. So the ‘advertising’ today is most likely to turn into ‘trial user experience without the barrier’. Thus, they enter our lives without us realizing it and then we start buying. Fun. We might have to redefine ‘privacy’ here.

  • Nikhil Daphale

    Good one, mane.
    You need only 3 things to safeguard yourself on zee internet.
    1)AD-block Plus (Blocks all pesky banner ads)
    2)Ghostery (Blocks all trackers.)
    3)Disabling history on google.

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