60 Seconds Exploring Design & Technology since 1988

ArchiveJanuary 2017

Bailing a sinking ship with a teaspoon


This was a little weird. I just finished reading Romain Aubert’s article Why I told my friends to stop using WhatsApp and Telegram’ — which I recommend everyone read. I thought I’d add a comment, but when I clicked the comment window I got this block message:

I cannot continue unless I turn on my cookies? Really? After reading this article? So, I went to read their explanation. The target of the ‘learn more’ is a sophomoric tutorial on how to turn on your cookies. Really?

I had to laugh.

Now, we already know there’s only one reason for cookies: and that’s to “know” you. They want to know where you’ve been, where you’re going on the web, who you talked to, what you bought, where you spent the most time, and who your friends are. Cookies tell site owners your surfing habits, and can even share information with other cookies. There are even cookies that collect all the data contained in all the other cookies you’ve accumulated including any and all online financial transactions. This data is usually compiled and sold to data brokers, or advertisers. Many sites will tell you lots of tails about ‘making your experience better’ or ‘remembering you the next time you visit’ and so forth. But rest assured that while that certainly could be among their agendas, the main reason for cookies is revenue. You are the product they sell in order to pay for the service they are providing at no cost.

Here we are, reading an article about stalking and predatory web sites, and how it is really an intrusion into your personal life, and then we get this alert.

I had to laugh, but the whole reason I wanted to comment was that nobody — not even in the one-hundred comments — mentioned Google, the big brother of all surveillance. WhatsApp and Telegram are microscopic fleas on the back of the 800-pound gorilla, because the big G gets all that info plus a lot more automatically. Mr. Aubert calls himself a “grounded sailor” so I’m wondering why he’s bailing a sinking ship with a teaspoon.



PS: The real story can be found in the newly updated book Future Crimes: Inside the Digital Underground and the Battle for Our Connected World by Marc Goodman… and if Aubert’s story got your attention, then you really must read this book. I have no ties with the book nor the author other than wanting to spread the message of that book to the citizens of the world.

I suspect Aubert and the authors he references, Amul KaliaQuincy Larson and Fábio Esteves, have read “Future Crimes” because I’m seeing very familiar themes and passages in their works — which I ALSO recommend you read. Then read them again.

60 Seconds Exploring Design & Technology since 1988
Fred Showker explores design, graphics, computing, social media, marketing, and the online world with an eye to entertaining, amazing information that will possibly make you think!

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