Wouldn't it be great if a billboard could actually read your mind?

hmm, anonymised, sure…http://boingboing.net/2014/10/16/if-you-think-youve-anonymize.html

Also, look at his face just after he says anonymised at 0:31. So confused, like he’s just read it from a script and is thinking “I didn’t realise we were supposed to be doing that!”


I honestly don’t see the big deal - seems like what they’re doing is taking data like what websites were visited during a particular time and at a particular space and serving up ads targeted to that demographic. It’s not any different than what happens now when you surf from home. And if that experience is any indicator, I bet we’ll see a lot of ads for “single moms in Brooklyn want to meet you!”

That’s what you’re all hoping - but most of the people walking around you in public places aren’t hip young makers with distinctively edgy sex addictions.

Judging from my surfing lately, most Americans will be treated to “Supermarkets fear this man!!” flashing on every trashcan, bench and eye-height wall space in the strip mall.

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Please explain for those of us with Adblock set to kill?

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A common turn of phrase in the cheapest, least targeted banner ads.They work off the baseline expectation that everyone reading them is obese, dull, angry, aging and short of money – with no class and no discernment.

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When they bragged about knowing what websites people in the Surbiton train station likes to look at I felt my skin curl.

I use the Cooperative Phone and Broadband, but they again run on the EE network as far as I know. Feeling quite uncomfortable now, just sent Coop an email.

Your phone’s IMSI or MAC address or whatever feature they’re using to identify you aren’t anonymous; if they’re anonymizing it’s a cross between not wanting to look too creepy and wanting to present material to multiple targets at once, so they’re trading off “Mr Anderton, you could use a Guinness right now!” with ads for burgers or bacon for the non-vegetarian walking behind you, or “Apple! It has Teh Shiny! And your phone is (gasp!) more than 6 months old!” for half the people walking by.


Possible next step: social shaming (possibly into consumption, or as a social manipulation vector, or a revenge, million reasons/uses…) by publicly shown ads (edit) in their proximity.

Paging @doctorow, could be handy for a dystopian novel subplot.

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I’m guessing that very few anti-gay Republican Politicians will be enthused by this development.

“No honey, I had no idea you could buy cigars sealed by the anus of a Filipino gigolo.”


Can you really get them? I’m asking for a friend.


There is an argument to be made for personalised advertising; that if we have to look at ads anyway, they might as well be personalised. Of course, that presumes we have to look at ads :wink:

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So if I’m trying to figure out whether endocrine problems are contributing to my other health problems, I get ad after ad for testosterone boosters. And oddly never any for testosterone blockers. I think that’s just evidence that our culture worships testsoerione and what it represents.

It’s merely evidence that, for whatever reason, more money is spent on advertising those products. Probably more indicative of their profit margin on boosters over blockers. Like I said though: run an ad blocker and your problem will be solved.

a lot of evil fuckery hides behind the words “aggregated and anonymized”…oh don’t worry we aren’t doing something creepy and invasive to you personally, we are doing something creepy and invasive to a whole group of “you like” people all at once, wouldn’t that be awesome? yeah, how awesome is advertising? wouldn’t it be great if every action you took could be tracked and used against you to aid in separating you from your hard earned money? that would be awesome…


Note that personalizing these days involves the machines knowing the persuasion styles you are prone to and those that turn you off (eliminating these increases marketing efficiency by 30-40%!), and even at which times and moods you are most likely to submit to the allure of the ad.

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This is true. Basically no one is immune to being marketed at, but one’s awareness of its existence changes one’s susceptibility to its allure. It helps that as part of my job I have to engage with this crap, but the only internet advertising that I recall deliberately clicking on, ever, is the yellow sponsored links at the top of google search results because text ads and site-hosted ads are the only ones that make it through ABP. I only click on those links when I hate the company involved and was intending on going to their site in the first place :smile:

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I just installed the latest flavor of OS X (Yosemite) and, as I always do with such updates, browsed the system preferences to see what had changed. In the preference pane for spotlight (the system-wide search feature of the OS), Apple had pleasantly included a button, which linked to an explanation of how my local computer searches were being broadcast to Bing (MS) and to Apple. While they did offer a way to stop “my” “sharing” (I didn’t set up the sharing to begin with, and the word sharing connotes tacit acceptance of such an exchange) of search information to Bing, as far as I can tell there is no way to stop the OS from sending my local computer searches to Apple (and I will happily accept reasonable methods to stop such “sharing”; frankly I’m evaluating whether I want to continue using that OS anyway).
Long story short, “aggregated and anonymized” were used in Apple’s explanation of how great it was that they were taking this info from me.


I hear you. I felt the same way when the browsers started leaking whatever we typed in the url bar to the search engines, including the urls visited. Making the url bar also a search box “was for our convenience” but mostly for big data’s benefit. :frowning:


Which is why I absolutely cringe when I see people using any sort of toolbar addon like google/yahoo/whoever search. And as much as I’m a fan of big data, I don’t know that we’ve adequately thought out how to keep things truly anonymous, or even if that’s possible anymore.
Time used to be that I could take a ride on the M/C and essentially get myself lost on good roads for many reasons, not least of which was that feeling of being away, outside the box of communication and, for the most part, in my own private space. I was a late adopter of cell phones because I didn’t want to be so easily contactable (or traceable), and I didn’t want to be required to remake the decision to be in a private space every time someone called–do I answer this one or do I kill the chime? Technology has been and now continues to be used to erase whatever thoughts of privacy we once had, and the tendrils of big business continue to work their way into our lives such that the lack of privacy is a foregone conclusion, and all of it commodified to eke out the last sliver of cash we might have.


‘People who don’t use AdBlock’, then?