“The” Internet? No. “Your” Internet?

By on May 8, 2011 7:00:27 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

DrJBHL

Join Date 04/2002
+2261

 

I love Mike Elgan, and have for years. His work appears in a variety of publications, including Cult of Mac, Computerworld, Datamation, PC World, InfoWorld, MacWorld, ITWorld, CIO, the San Francisco Chronicle and many others, reaching more than a million readers per month. I read his latest on Computerworld.com and felt strongly enough about this topic to base this piece on it.

You all know the saying about “Perception is everything”? Pisses me off everytime I hear or read it. Why? Because there are facts, and then there’s oatmeal, mushy, touchy-feely crap. Or that’s the way it should be. At least some of the time, right?

I was brought up with “There’s reality. We can measure it and dissect and quantify, etc. it.” – you know: Science, math and intellectual freedom/responsibility. You can’t have that when someone is deciding what you see and in what order you see it.

Remember “Portals” (AOL. Yahoo…etc) that kept you inside their “bubble”? Now it’s far worse.

Well, turns out the relativists were right. Try this experiment yourself. Have a friend or two over with their iPads/phones (with net access) or laptops. In fact, they don’t even have to come over. Have them go to Google search (no, it’s not an anti-google rant) or bing or any of the engines… main thing is you’re all on the same one.

Then tell them a topic, and have them make a scrolling screen shot. email them to each other and compare. They’ll be different, as well as the ads they’re seeing before they type in the search subject. They shouldn’t be, should they ?

Google, bing, facebook… many, many sites do the same thing. They “personalize” things for you.

As Sarah Palin (among others) said, “Thanks, but no thanks.” All I signed on for was a connection: Not the connection someone else thinks I should have or the one that makes things ‘easier’ for me.

Why? Because I’m not feeble minded yet (shut up, Smedley biyotch), and because it really isn’t about me or making it easy for me: It’s about making it easier to sell me stuff.

In truth though, it goes farther than that.

Read Mr. Elgan’s article. Please!

I’ll take it one step further:

I think this is a form of wire tapping without a warrant. They collect their indicators (that’s the ‘tapping’ and all of them do) and modify what you see to match their formula.

It’s worse than a wire tap. They narrow your choices and by doing so, shape your thoughts. Eventually, you’ve stopped thinking critically, because you don’t really see what’s out there. It’s like being surrounded by “yes men”.

That’s not a wire tap, folks: That’s a lobotomy. They don’t want you to be educated to think for yourself, or critically. Anything but. Educated? No: Inculcated and tamed.

The Cure:

This is reproduced from Mr. Elgan’s article:

 

 

 

Source: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9216484/Elgan_How_to_pop_your_Internet_filter_bubble_?taxonomyId=167&pageNumber=1

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May 8, 2011 7:19:05 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

2 find this again

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May 8, 2011 7:19:36 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Give up Facebook? No thanks.

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May 8, 2011 7:42:27 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

DC... sorry mate, didn't understand your comment.

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May 8, 2011 8:11:23 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

at this point i have to say im proud to have you as MOD doc, you post articles and research for yourself even if i dont agree all the time i think, that you are one of the smart people here that know what they r talking about and what they are doing without just repeating what you have been told.  
This should be a compliment.So thanks at this point for the informations and news postet by you and of course for the outstanding will to help others.

I also use google and i thought it was intended to give you the first ten to 20 results for a search according how you use it.
I normaly google with + / and so on to get better results but after reading this its funny what stuff pops up.
But i think this method has also to do with the fact that we have become lazy over the years best example for me is the both side USB stick , so they just give us what we want in the end a more uncomplicated search specified on how we browse for things ( if i have understood it correct ).

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May 8, 2011 8:23:44 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Thanks, Rolo.... appreciate your comment. I'm actually glad, whether people agree with me or don't. Kind of you to say this. 

 

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May 8, 2011 8:25:28 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

your welcome

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May 8, 2011 9:30:20 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

If you're looking for google search results with out the personalization and ads, try Scroogle Scraper.

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May 8, 2011 10:27:58 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Talk about direct interference. I thought that was illegal, interfering with a person's ability to choose what they see. What it amounts to is blatant manipulation of the internet for personal gain. The gain being the 'Give them what they think they want, not what they need' people or should I say...thieves! Damn shit for brains ain't worth powder enough to blow 'em to hell.

Thanks CG1 - I just replaced Google with Scroogle. Yeah.

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May 8, 2011 11:03:43 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I always use Scroogle now.  I have a much more realistic viewpoint of Google these days after learning about other dubious things they've done (such as sniffing on unprotected networks when doing the Google Maps, and the infamous, at least on these forums Doodle 4 Google of whose early form seemed to be aimed at correlating other information about a US child along with the last 4 digits of a Social Security Number, which are the only ones which are random).  I will still use some of their services at this point in time, but I don't really trust them anymore.  Especially with so much information on all sorts of things which they are gathering.

Best regards,
Steven.

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May 8, 2011 11:19:00 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Here's some of what I taught myself from using search engines:

  • Graphic Design
  • Computer Repair/Troubleshooting
  • HTML scripting
  • Flash Actionscripting
  • Basic 3D Modeling
  • Fixing My Washing Machine
  • Fixing My Car

Additionally, a lot of graphics resources and the like I used for my job came from the internet and I have done research on the internet for the past several years. Getting harder (and almost impossible) to do most of it now because of what the Doc posted here (and more).

I used to do deep searches and spend up to two or three days sifting results for some projects.  A lot of the reults were trivial but as you sifted, you redefined your search terms--it was a real art.  My wife and friends would ask how I could find things they couldn't and it was because I was practiced at how to do it.

Because the search results were "raw" I would find not only what I was looking for but learn hundreds of things in the process finding things I didn't expect or know of.  Often that would be more helpful than the original search I began with. 

That is all gone now.  I routinely pull up searches on Google that produce two pages of results and don't even come close to what I want and the results are often "topical" from current events or news and not at all what I am looking for.

Google should have a switch to allow for a purely raw search where the user defines the search parameters fully.

In the bigger picture, we all end up sifting an ever narrowing set of information that more and more is given to us by someone else and becomes less and less unique.

I've taken to scrubbing my pc of tracking data routinely, using two machines for different tasks and using proxy net clients to search and the "here's what you want" services still kick in almost instantly.  Scroogle is looking to be the norm now for me.

Good job Doc.

 

 

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May 8, 2011 11:53:44 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

If it was only Google, it'd be one thing, but SO many sites do it...automatically that it's hopeless. Unless legislation (that is enforced) is passed. 

CG1 - Thanks for the Scroogle link. Appreciate that. 

Sinperium and StevenAus - Thanks.  

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May 8, 2011 12:04:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Where there's life, there's hope!   Yeah I know that it sounds trite, but life can certainly surprise us.  You don't have to be pessimistic to not be disappointed too often.   Being somewhat disappointed some of the time is fine, or greatly disappointed occassionally, but life can surprise us in positive ways sometimes.

Best regards,
Steven.

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May 8, 2011 12:23:34 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

These days I've gotten into the habit of deleting all saved data every single time I close my browser. I set it up in both FF and IE8 to do it automatically. I also have an option in my security suite to clear all browser cache and all other system temp data when I shut down my computer and I enable that as well. Also I disable all of the form completion data logging (other than passwords).

I also do not accept third party cookies at all.

The only thing I allow to persist between browsing sessions are saved passwords. That's really all you need to be able to quickly get back to sites that you commonly frequent. Saving all that other stuff really doesn't buy you anything.

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May 8, 2011 12:42:34 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting ,

 
As Sarah Palin (among others) said

 

And here is where I stopped reading, and the writer loses all credibility. It could've been Michael Moore, Glenn Beck, or Dr. Seuss who said it, it's a terrible transition.

 

 

Having ads and websites pandered to you has been around in quite awhile, and is probably as old as AOL itself. Firefox deletes my internet content, as well as makes most of my web browser incognito. If I was especially paranoid that Google was going to learn how much I like video game websites and send me idiotic ads (what idiot every bought something from an ad directly off of google or similar?) I could just use one of the many proxy services around. And the type of people who rave over Facebook and enjoy all of it's features, aren't the type of people who care about internet privacy. Or if they are, and they're not intelligent enough to keep off of facebook, then they don't understand the issue.

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May 8, 2011 12:59:54 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

My browser automatically deletes all cookies, the history, etc. when I close it. I don't store passwords, or any important info on websites. I love the internet, but I don't trust it......

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May 8, 2011 1:17:14 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Kodiak888,
quoting post
 
As Sarah Palin (among others) said



 

And here is where I stopped reading, and the writer loses all credibility. It could've been Michael Moore, Glenn Beck, or Dr. Seuss who said it, it's a terrible transition.

 

 

Having ads and websites pandered to you has been around in quite awhile, and is probably as old as AOL itself. Firefox deletes my internet content, as well as makes most of my web browser incognito. If I was especially paranoid that Google was going to learn how much I like video game websites and send me idiotic ads (what idiot every bought something from an ad directly off of google or similar?) I could just use one of the many proxy services around. And the type of people who rave over Facebook and enjoy all of it's features, aren't the type of people who care about internet privacy. Or if they are, and they're not intelligent enough to keep off of facebook, then they don't understand the issue.

Not about Mrs. Palin. I just remember her saying it a lot.

This isn't just about ads, Kodiak888. It's about search results and intellectual honesty, research, education... progress vs. essentially, a version of subversion of the honesty of the search process. If that isn't honest, then how can the results of research be honest?

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May 8, 2011 1:22:53 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I don't think legislation will really address this Doc as this is a "service" provided by a business.  If a search engine business was seen as a monopoly or having undue influence you might get some privacy legislation but as to what results they provide--its their product as they want to deliver it.

I don't know of any truly "raw" search engines out there  that have Google's former capability.

What's also scary about this is government officials, politicians and professionals use Google just as we all do and if Google "picks" results for them, it's effectively shaping their decisions or their ability to make them. 

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May 8, 2011 4:22:18 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Interesting.

I just used Scroogle for the first time, on my computer using PaleMoon, to search for an item that my wife had previously searched for on Google this morning on her computer using IE7.

The page Scroogle returned showed the site visited on my wife's computer to have been previously visited (the link was in the 'visited' color).  Hmm.  If it's truly stripping out the IP address, would that happen?

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May 8, 2011 4:38:03 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

@ Sinperium: Precisely.

@ Daiwa: maybe it isn't doing as advertised. It's looking at the ip address for sure.

 

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May 8, 2011 5:23:01 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

I've sent an email to Scroogle.  Will post back what I find out.

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May 8, 2011 5:24:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't think any of the sites I use besides Google do this. So what I'm seeing here is: If you use all that web 2.0 tomfoolery, you can expect it to contain web 2.0 tomfoolery. Makes sense to me.

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May 8, 2011 5:32:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,
... It's looking at the ip address for sure.


How can an IP address give you a followed-link status? Are there any IPs that answer only to one URL these days?

Could PaleMoon be looking at the same visited-URL list as IE does? I dump all that data so often that I've never noticed a cross-browser thing like that even though I often have two or three browsers working at once.

Re the general issue the OP & Mr. Elgan are on about, I've held a similar opinion since about 2000. It's probably still too early in the history of the technologies involved for detailed legislation to be workable, but it isn't too early for some basic, 'innovation-proof' principles to get laid down, e.g. opt-in as the default for all this tracking and 'personalizing.'

Like everyone else in Big Media, the NYTimes has gotten in bed with Fa(r)cebook and also have recently added a Recommended For You feature that kicks in slowly if you're reading without having logged in. It's not as bad as search results 'cleaned up just for you,' but it is sad to see the tendency towards tunnel vision getting built in to so many web content providers.

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May 8, 2011 6:09:34 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Quoting GW Swicord,
Could PaleMoon be looking at the same visited-URL list as IE does?

When they're on different computers?

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May 8, 2011 6:36:04 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Do you use your wife's computer and she, yours?

That would be the only way... I think. Each computer has to have it's own IP address or there'd be an IP conflict rendering one of them unusable for the net... unless there's something odd in your setup....but even then... 

Do you have sync between the computers?

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May 8, 2011 7:21:18 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

I'm on her login when I use her's and she's on my login when she uses mine; there's no sync of any sort, though her C:\ drive is shared on the network and both computers are backed up to the same USB hard drive every night.

Here's the first reply I (already!) got from Scroogle:

Something on your end is keeping a history of links already visited. Scroogle is not doing this. Scroogle highlights search term words with colors, but it always does this on all links where it finds them. It has no memory of your previous searches.

I've emailed backing asking what that 'something' could possibly be that tracks visited links across two computers each using a different browser.  This was a site never visited on either machine before today.

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