No surprise, really.
It’s an election year. Turns out MS and Yahoo have been selling your name, Zip code, and other info you provided when signing up for their services, and buying habits in order to provide targeted advertising to the political parties.
The parties can then match voter records to people’s online identities and send them targeted ads. They profile you. They have succeeded in invading your privacy yet again.
I can’t help but wonder if they also modify your searches. After all, Google does that all the time anyway [which is why I use Duckduckgo].
OK… so they pop up in your hotmail/livemail or yahoo mail. So what?
Actually, because MS and Yahoo operate huge mega-networks, the ads will appear in a huge swath of sites.
These giants say they don’t share [share??? Sell] directly with the campaigns. They also say they don’t see your voter registration data since a third company matches them up. They say this isn’t on an individual level, rather on a ‘group’ level, to target groups of similar individuals. Both parties are guilty of doing this. It’s stupid, because it isn’t going to change anyone’s mind, really. It might even be a negative when the dirty, negative ads are used.
Furthermore: Many parts of the process remain unclear since the companies were reluctant to explain the details of their matching and targeting. MS did say Microsoft said that the credit reporting giant Experian performs a "double-blind" match between Microsoft's data and campaigns' data.
Google and Facebook state they haven’t done this, but in Facebook’s case that isn’t strictly true. If you have made political statements on the site, that is taken as a tacit agreement to use your data (!).
Used to be, personal and private data was just that. Now? “Personal/private” = barbecue sauce.
Since there's no way to track what messages campaigns are showing to different targeted groups — or whether politicians may be pandering to different voters, these parties are busy manipulating you. They also aren’t saying what methods they are using.
And it’s all perfectly legal.
I think they should be forced to divulge all of their uses of personal/private data: After all, how else will we be able to scrutinize their actions? We’re not talking about the election of a CEO. We’re talking about the election to high Federal office.
Odd when “privacy” cuts in and out, isn’t it?
One good thing: “Do Not Track +”. Also, The Federal Trade Commission called for companies to implement a “Do not track” policy, earlier this year. No teeth, though.
An individual whose opinions I respect said something quite wise (in connection with another post):
"You also didn't take into account our subconscious memories. Seeing an ad may not phase you but later, when you're in the store shopping for the week, that ad might just do it's work and you might buy something you wouldn't have otherwise." - Bara
Or the voting booth I guess, Bara.