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Kathi Berens

The Curious Case of Internet Privacy - Technology Review - 0 views

  • Actually, the text above is not exactly analogous to the terms on which we bargain with every mouse click. To really polish the analogy, I'd have to ask this magazine to hide that text in the margin of one of the back pages. And I'd have to end it with This agreement is subject to change at any time. What we agree to participate in on the Internet isn't a negotiated trade; it's a smorgasbord, and intimate facts of your life (your location, your interests, your friends) are the buffet.
  • By reading this agreement, you give Technology Review and its partners the unlimited right to intercept and examine your reading choices from this day forward, to sell the insights gleaned thereby, and to retain that information in perpetuity and supply it without limitation to any third party.
  • Facebook then responds to the inevitable public outcry by restoring something that's like the old system, except slightly less private.
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  • pricing out the net present value of a decision whose consequences are far in the future.
  • No one would take up smoking if the tumors sprouted with the first puff.
  • "intermittent reinforcement."
  • Give a lab rat a lever that produces a food pellet on demand and he'll only press it when he's hungry. Give him a lever that produces food pellets at random intervals, and he'll keep pressing it forever.
  • Lawrence Lessig pointed out in his book Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, there are four possible mechanisms:
  • norms, law, code, and markets.
  • If there's one thing the last 15 years of Internet policy fights have taught us, it's that nothing is ever solved by ascribing propertylike rights to easily copied information.
  • Right now, there are two ways to browse the Web: turn cookies off altogether and live with the fact that many sites won't work; or turn on all cookies and accept the wholesale extraction of your Internet use habits.
  • There's a business opportunity for a company that wants to supply arms to the rebels instead of the empire
  • Behavioral scientists have a name for this dynamic: “intermittent reinforcement.” It’s one of the most powerful behavioral training techniques we know about. Give a lab rat a lever that produces a food pellet on demand and he’ll only press it when he’s hungry. Give him a lever that produces food pellets at random intervals, and he’ll keep pressing it forever.
  • But the truth is that dialing down Internet tracking won’t be the end of advertising. Ultimately, it could be a welcome change for those in the analytics and advertising business. Once the privacy bargain takes place without coercion, good companies will be able to build services that get more data from their users than bad companies. Right now, it seems as if everyone gets to slurp data out of your computer, regardless of whether the service is superior.
  • What if mobile OSes were designed to let their users instruct them to lie to apps? “Whenever the Connect the Dots app wants to know where I am, make something up. When it wants my phone number, give it a random one.”
  • Far from destroying business, letting users control disclosure would create value.
  • There’s a business opportunity for a company that wants to supply arms to the rebels instead of the empire.
Kathi Berens

I'm Being Followed: How Google-and 104 Other Companies-Are Tracking Me on the Web - Ale... - 0 views

  • The creepy feeling is a sign to pay attention to a possibly harmful phenomenon. But we can't sort our feelings into categories -- dangerous or harmless -- because we don't actually know what's going to happen with all the data that's being collected.
  • there are key unresolved issues about how we relate to our digital selves and the machines through which they are expressed.
  • At the heart of the problem is that we increasingly live two lives: a physical one in which your name, social security number, passport number, and driver's license are your main identity markers, and one digital, in which you have dozens of identity markers, which are known to you and me as cookies.
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  • As a Wall Street Journal investigation put it, data companies are "transforming the Internet into a place where people are becoming anonymous in name only."
  • With our data-driven advertising world, we are relying on machines' current dumbness and inability to "know too much."
    • Kathi Berens
      Arguments that data collection isn't harmful rely on machine's current capacities of speed and storage.
  • This is a double-edged sword. The current levels of machine intelligence insulate us from privacy catastrophe, so we let data be collected about us. But we know that this data is not going away and yet machine intelligence is growing rapidly
  • A voyage into the invisible business that funds the web.
  • While the big names -- Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, etc. -- show up in this catalog, the bulk of it is composed of smaller data and advertising businesses that form a shadow web of companies that want to help show you advertising that you're more likely to click on and products that you're more likely to purchase.
  • We shop for wedding caterers and suddenly see ring ads appear on random web pages we're visiting. We sometimes think the ads following us around the Internet are "creepy." We sometimes feel watched. Does it matter? We don't really know what to think.
  • never before in the history of human existence has so much data been gathered about so many people for the sole purpose of selling them ads.
  • But increasingly I think these issues -- how we move "freely" online, or more properly, how we pay one way or another -- are actually the leading edge of a much bigger discussion about the relationship between our digital and physical selves.
  • The unconsciously created profile may mean more than the examined self I've sought to build.
  • Already, the web sites you visit reshape themselves before you like a carnivorous school of fish, and this is only the beginning.
  • Behind the details, however, are a tangle of philosophical issues that are at the heart of the struggle between privacy advocates and online advertising companies: What is anonymity? What is identity? How similar are humans and machines? This essay is an attempt to think through those questions.
  • It's worth noting how different this practice is from traditional advertising
  • Now you can buy the audience without the publication. You want an Atlantic reader? Great! Some ad network can sell you someone who has been to The Atlantic but is now reading about hand lotion at And they'll sell you that set of eyeballs for a fifth of the price.
  • Those people become your training data, and soon you're only "retargeting" those people with a data profile that indicates that they're likely to purchase something from you eventually.
  • content providers
  • They are simply tools to improve the grip strength of the invisible hand.
  • They deliver more relevant advertising to consumers and that makes more money for companies
  • There are literally dozens and dozens of these companies and the average user has no idea what they do or how they work
  • We just know that for some reason, at one point or another, an organization dropped a cookie on us and have created a file on some server, steadily accumulating clicks and habits that will eventually be mined and marketed.
  • All that I had "opted out" of was receiving targeted ads, not data collection. There is no way, through the companies' own self-regulatory apparatus, to stop being tracked online. None.
  • In essence, Curran argued that users do not have the right to *not* be tracked.
  • The only right that online advertisers are willing to give users is the ability not to have ads served to them based on their web histories
  • "There is a vital distinction between limiting the use of online data for ad targeting, and banning data collection outright."
    • Kathi Berens
      A crucial disconnect between what readers/users *think* they are doing and what opt-out actually permits.
  • a full 61 percent of respondents expected that if they clicked such a button, no data would be collected about them.
  • scrum
  • privacy advocates who want to limit collection, not just uses
  • Digital Advertising Alliance
  • Many stakeholders on online privacy, including U.S. and EU regulators, have repeatedly emphasized that effective consumer control necessitates restrictions on the collection of information, not just prohibitions on specific uses of information.
  • But advertisers want to keep collecting as much data as they can as long as they promise to not to use it to target advertising. That's why the NAI opt-out program works like it does.
  • Companies' ability to track people online has significantly outpaced the cultural norms and expectations of privacy.
  • so, so different
  • We don't have a language for talking about how these companies function or how our society should deal with them.
    • Kathi Berens
      Crucial obs: we don't have language to specify the harm heralded by the "creepy feeling" b/c our ability to name and limit the harm doesn't exist.  It's "so, so new."
  • Everyone can know who you are, even if they call you by a different number.
  • "match cookies," s
  • But we just do not have an adequate understanding of anonymity in a world where machines can parse all of our behavior without human oversight.
  • Your visit to this story probably generated data for 13 companies through our website. The great downside to this beautiful, free web that we have is that you have to sell your digital self in order to access it
    • Kathi Berens
      The downside to the "free" web is that you have to sell your personal data to access it.
  • I am all too aware of how difficult it is for media businesses to survive in this new environment. Sure, we could all throw up paywalls and try to make a lot more money from a lot fewer readers. But that would destroy what makes the web the unique resource in human history that it is. I want to keep the Internet healthy, which really does mean keeping money flowing from advertising.
  • Perhaps there are natural limits to what data targeting can do for advertisers and when we look back in 10 years at why data collection practices changed, it will not be because of regulation or self-regulation or a user uprising. No, it will be because the best ads could not be targeted.
  • Every move you make on the Internet is worth some tiny amount to someone, and a panoply of companies want to make sure that no step along your Internet journey goes unmonetized.
  • Allow me to introduce the list of companies that tracked my movements on the Internet in one recent 36-hour period of standard web surfing: Acerno. Adara Media. Adblade. Adbrite. ADC Onion. Adchemy. ADiFY. AdMeld. Adtech. Aggregate Knowledge. AlmondNet. Aperture. AppNexus. Atlas. Audience Science.

    And that's just the As

  • Let's look at three companies from our list of As. Adnetik is a standard targeting company that uses real-time bidding. They can offer targeted ads based on how users act (behavioral), who they are (demographic), where they live (geographic), and who they seem like online (lookalike), as well as something they call "social proximity." They also give advertisers the ability to choose the types of sites on which their ads will run based on "parameters like publisher brand equity, contextual relevance to the advertiser, brand safety, level of ad clutter and content quality."
Kathi Berens

Universities are failing at teaching social media - Fortune Tech - 0 views

    CNN money report
Jennah Blau

USC football: Lane Kiffin says he still feels Pat Haden's support - 0 views

    Lane Kiffin could not escape the noise. After USC's 22-13 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday night, cheers and other boisterous shouts from the Fighting Irish locker room reverberated through the walls during Kiffin's postgame news conference. Later, when Kiffin was readying to leave the stadium in his car, Notre Dame's massive equipment truck sat nearby idling and rumbling in the Coliseum tunnel.
jacob fre

Notre Dame: Two Yards and a World of Difference - 0 views

    The symmetry at the Los Angeles Coliseum was perfect. Notre Dame had started the season unranked and slowly climbed, never losing on the way to reaching No. 1 just days earlier. Southern California had started out No. 1 and tumbled from the top 25 one loss at a time.
Jennah Blau

USC fined for deflating footballs during game against Oregon - 0 views

    - USC has been fined and reprimanded by the Pac-12 after it was discovered that one of the Trojans' student managers had intentionally deflated game balls during the first half of Saturday's loss to Oregon.
Kat Koehler

Heisman slips from Barkley - 0 views

    Yahoo video
Jennah Blau

USC's football season wasn't supposed to play out like this... - 0 views

    USC began the season with expectations of playing for a BCS title. No one anticipated the Trojans would be 6-3 heading into their final three regular-season games. Fans aren't the only ones disappointed; so is the head coach.

USC football could have big say in National Championship picture as they play unbeaten ... - 0 views

    Oregon statistics

USC Football: Marqise Lee, Trojans Offense Only Bright Spots In Arizona Defeat - 0 views

    meaningful lessons/mistakes from the Arizona game
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