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What is so interesting about you that you're worth spying on? Part II

As I continue my reading of Lanier's Who Owns the Future, I come to the following passage, which (obviously) relates to my earlier post on the same subject, as well as alerts about the up to 17 trackers on the DP:

Even an innocent visit to a legitimate major newspaper site like the New York Times invokes a competitive swarm of more than a dozen tracking services, each of which is attempting to become a dominant compiler of spy data about you. One plugin that attempts to block spying schemes, called Ghostery, is currently blocking more than a thousand such schemes, though no one knows the true number.

There is no definitive map of network spying services. The allegiances and roles are multifarious and complex. No one really knows the score, though a common opinion is that Google has historically been at the top of the heap for collecting spy data about you on the open Internet, while Facebook has mastered a way to corral people under an exclusive microscope. That said, other companies you've probably never heard of, like Acxiom, and EBureau, are also deeply determined to create dossiers on you.

Because spying on you is, for the moment, the official primary business of the information economy, any attempt to avoid being spied on, such as the use of Ghostery, can seem like an assault on the very idea of the Internet.

FYI. This is news to me too, which is why I'm sharing it with you. So if you're worried about the 17 trackers on the DP, just know that I'm only a pawn in their game.


So are you.

Econ 101: There is no such thing as a free lunch.

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I can't see the video because it has been blocked!! LOL!

At the moment, I only get a 404 message when signing on to thedailypauldotcom and the Internet connection is shutting down!

The devil

goes around seeking whom he may devour.

well they can try as hard as

well they can try as hard as they want, I'm not gonna be happy until I have my own personal drone assigned to me.

So last time you were asking about the consumer effect

and we touched upon the FACT that with enough data, we can profile you many ways and predict many things about your future within a high % of accuracy.

We didn't spend much time on the fact that we can "drill down" on an information-dense person and get much higher accuracy. 100% or very near.

Other posters more than fully explain how this all can be used against a person but the ultimate expression of this now is you own the data, you "own" the person". There's two of all of us now: a meat version and a digital version and the two can be completely separate and different. How different they are depends on who owns the data and what their motives are.

We are mostly digital to each other on the DP. Even if you have a profile pic I don't know what you look like. I have never seen most of you. "Who you are" in my mind is purely a matter of WHAT YOU TELL ME.

So. There we are. All both of both of us.

(Bro, we're thinking and praying for you and your family every day.)

Be brave, be brave, the Myan pilot needs no aeroplane.

Michael Nystrom's picture

"A meat version and a digital version"

Keen observation. To further build upon that: There is only one copy of the meat version, but the digital version can be copied an infinite number of times. It can be sliced and diced, and sold and resold umpteen times, without your knowledge, ever. How many digital versions of you are there? No one knows.

However, given what we know about the laws of economics, and considering there is only one meat version but infinite digital versions, which is more valuable?

The answer to that question (because economics is subjective) is: "To whom?"

The infinite digital versions can be sold an infinite number of times, netting someone (not you) an infinite income stream.

However the attention beamed through your loving eyes can only be focused on one person at a time.

So which is more valuable?

- - -

Thanks bro, for the prayers. For my digital self, focusing on these abstract, theoretical ideas is a form of escape for the meat version of me, with all the meaty problems in front of me. I hope people understand that.

Thank you.

He's the man.

No pawn Sir, smart website management

So I have been chasing this down since you posted this yesterday and if I am not mistaken here is what's happening with all these "connections". as I said below, aside from the ad services you have subscribed to, all the other connections appear to be "external Permalinks" simply "Backlinks" from other websites pointing to the DP.

This is a good thing for the DP because the more backlinks, the more search engines will see it. This is actually good website SEO management and there seems to be no tracking of the first party viewer at all. Lightbeam and Ghostery just happen to be picking up these backlinks and showing the connection BACK to the DP from the other sites.

As I understand it, in order for a tracker to gather information it must first install tracking cookies to your browser cache. Since installing Lightbeam, I have seen absolutely no connections from the DP or any of these other sites make a cookie connection, not even from the ad services the DP has subscribed to.

So I am thinking with no cookies involved, the whole issue is mute about whether third party sites are blocked or not. Blocking with a browser does not affect these backlinks at all and these so called "connections" are rendered inert without any cookies. Blocking only prevents "Rendering" not a "connection", because there was not a true "connection" in the first place.


(If you somehow downloaded tracking cookies, you may have got them somewhere else other than the DP before coming here.)

Please, any additional input or corrections of my observations are very welcome to my limited knowledge here.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

my donottrackme has blocked over 150,000 trackers

It doesn't seem like I have had it that long. wonder how many it didn't block. and of course it is probably tracking me ! he/she who dies with the most data wins?

Michael Nystrom's picture

150K trackers is a lot

But as you point out, - how many did it not block?

Who are they?

If they block everyone else (presumably for free), what is their benefit? What if they block everyone for you in exchange for them being your exclusive tracker?

An obviously paranoid observation, perfectly fit for these obviously paranoid times.

How would you ever know the truth? If you did, would you care?

- - - -

This is the problem of information asymmetry. People have no idea how the data is used, or what is collected so the natural response is "I don't care."

But information asymmetry can be used to great advantage, as John Perkins explained in Confessions of an Economic Hitman.

He's the man.

In your defense Sir

I have been observing these so called "trackers" as I use the similar firefox plugin lightbeam. From what I see it is only showing the sites that are linked in each thread as a connection. not from them to the DP, but from the DP to them as a referral.

Aside from just a couple that are linked to update their ads, like adsense and double click, this is what it looks like so far. I will try to make a case for this to show what I have found as I start fresh and load threads one at a time.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

yeah I see google adsense and analytics

I don't use their analytics on my sites because I know they are basically just reselling the data. It is like Amazon and them letting people sell on their site. What happens is they gather up all the information from this and then go in direct competition with you. good stuff. Maybe it is symbiotic. In the case of analytics you get "free" stats and they get "free" stats too. Of course neither are free. They are just paying in different ways.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Yes, I run Google Analytics on the site

I don't know what they do with the data, but in the end, I do get the stats.

I have no idea what I'm "paying" for the free service, but whatever it is, I have no way of making use of it anyway.

But certainly, it is a devils bargain. No doubt they're getting the longer end of the stick, and I get subsistence, which keeps them stringing me along.

That is part of the big idea of the "Siren Servers" as Lanier calls them, after the Sirens> of Greek mythology. Eventually they eat you.

He's the man.

Thing is...

I see a lot of live link connections that might not need to be there, such as the social site plugin actually making a connection to the sites without being clicked on first and then connecting. I think a lot of this may be fixable on Michael and Jon's end. I am trying to find documentation on the issue this morning. I'm still not sure what this thing is trying to consider as a "connection". That's the first step.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

a lot of sites have scripts on them

that track where you move your mouse on the screen....then they can look at which links you held your mouse over to see which menus you look at or whatever. They are not interested in you in particular but how effective their design is. It is still really weird though....always being watched.

Some of those connections might be just loading the pictures from those other sites or tracking that they loaded. That way they can say it was viewed 200 times and clicked on 10 times. Just checked...the Amazon pictures are coming from Amazon directly.