Do you care that your preferences aren’t secret? How about your actions in public – do you mind that you are recorded in multiple venues and on the street almost anywhere?
People often say they don’t like, or they feel “violated” by, the fact that Google or social media sites advertise to them based on their searches or browsing patterns. They are bothered by the fact that someone or some ‘bot is collecting of their “data.”
My perspective is a little different. I figure that we are free to make choices – if I wanted “privacy” badly enough, I could choose browsers, email, search engines, and other apps that aren’t free, or I could stay offline. But also, if I choose to live with integrity and have nothing to hide, I don’t care who knows what I do – especially if they provide productive online services for free.
Plus I figure that seeing ads for things I’m interested in is better than seeing ads for rap concerts, Summer’s Eve, or Depends. I do sometimes get annoyed with pop-up ads for sign-ups and ads that auto-play video and audio just by going to a site, but I take some satisfaction from finding and installing apps to block (most of) those obnoxious ads, and by vowing to not patronize the perpetrators. Do they really think annoying us will get us to buy their products? I consciously choose not to patronize those intrusive advertisers. My little boycott isn’t going to affect their sales, but if we all did that they’d eventually get the message.
Freedom is about choices. With choices, we have the ability to avoid what we don’t like, or accept the annoyances if the inconvenience is outweighed by the utility.
While the online interconnected world is far from perfect, it’s still very inexpensive and it’s massively powerful. I am particularly glad we don’t have to do research the old-fashioned way … in a library! So I’m more than willing to put up with stupid ads.
When people propose banning internet ads, they probably don’t realize that the advertising keeps so many of our online tools free (I have multiple gmail accounts and don’t pay a thing for them). Like millions of people, I choose free internet apps because I want them more than I want to keep my browsing secret. I really don’t worry about “privacy” because I’m not concerned about what I do. And when I need to protect client secrets or I want to keep intimate details private I take appropriate precautions.
But I don’t at all feel “victimized” by the fact that there are data files about my behavior or my preferences. It doesn’t bother me one bit.
You may have noticed I’m not posting every day anymore. I achieved the goal of posting every day for the first two months. Now I’ll post when I see topics that need addressing.