Let me get this straight… to disable tracking, I need to enable tracking?

This has been my rant about advertising, sparked by Microsoft’s OS tracking and “privacy options” (or lack there of).

I was going through today and checking out the settings in Windows 10. While I was just looking them over I found an option for Privacy. This is something I shouldn’t need to worry about on my personal PC… but Microsoft seems to think differently.

As I read the Privacy settings, it implied that my actions were tracked for Targeted Advertising.  What? Why? Why is my OS (that I paid for) selling my usage for advertising? So I decided to disable the option… I toggle the switch that does this and I get a wonderful alert at the top of the screen.

MS Really? 

So Let me get this straight. To disable my OS tracking me, I have to turn ON 1st and 3rd party tracking (cookies) and ensure that my browser doesn’t protect my privacy?

Lovely.  So to sum it up, to stop your OS from tracking you you have to make sure that your browser can track you instead. That is asinine. This screen should not be labeled Privacy it should be labeled “Privacy violation settings”, you don’t get to “Chose your privacy”. You get to chose HOW your privacy is invaded.  Through your OS or your browser.

All in the name of advertising and targeting apps.  Neither of which I like. Just allow me to customize and control my own PC… I can tailor it to my usage, I don’t need other people doing what they think I want for me, or providing me what they think I’m interested in. If I’m interested in something I will go out of my way to find it.

Side note, found a project that I’m really beginning to like the idea of. This project called AdNauseam. The goal of the project is to make online advertising worthless to advertisers. It blocks and automatically clicks (in the background) each and every single ad it blocks. Advertisers pay for “impressions” and “clicks”, this makes it look like you click on everything, making it impossible to distinguish what YOU are actually interested in because you’re interested in everything (apparently).  Every time it clicks on an ad… someone somewhere has to pay the advertiser for that. By simply clicking on everything you are costing advertisers AND eventually making the advertising worthless for marketing data.  Mind you I am not against advertising a product or service, I am against the mass data collection and storage of user information even in an anonymized way. It is never truly anonymous, just more difficult to connect the dots.

I believe in unobtrusive advertising, advertising that tells me about a product or service without taking over my screen, without playing a video that I didn’t ask for, without un-wanted audio. But advertising has become so obtrusive and invasive I go out of my way to make it useless and block it.  If I had my way anyone who put an “obtrusive” or “invasive” ad on the internet should be fined $100 per view/click.

Advertising costs YOU money. You are paying for the bandwidth, the cpu time, the electricity to light your screen and power your computer. Why should I pay to generate and see advertisements that I didn’t go looking for? If you are a business owner, advertising on websites (and your PCs) cost you resources, and potentially expose your work, and risk security. According to engadget and arstechnica there have been a number of ad based viruses/malware/ransom ware attacks. Even in big firms. There has even been a phrase coined for this called Malvertising

According to the NY Times, on average more than 50% of your mobile bandwidth is sucked up because of advertising. You know that extremely limited data plan that you are paying for through the nose… more than half of that is paying so you can see ads on your mobile device.

In short, intrusive advertising pisses me off. If I go to a site and I can’t block or prevent the advertising. I leave. I encourage you to do the same. If you run a website, consider your impact on peoples lives, and your own image online. I think advertising makes sites and software look trashy and second rate, and I know I’m not the only person who thinks this.

This has been my rant about advertising, sparked by Microsoft’s OS tracking and “privacy options” (or lack there of).  Best of luck to anyone who can stop the insanity which is advertising!