Monday, June 17, 2013

Blogosphere speculates on connection between Internet ad business model and NSA spying; a coming catastrophe for sharing and spontaneous publishing as we know it?

There’s buzz in the blogosphere Monday that the ad industry was, at least indirectly, complicit in the government’s development of PRISM, by getting the public used to being tracked for targeted ads, by a process in many ways similar to what the NSA does (although there’s something that doesn’t add up here-  ad networks don’t need to see “pen registers” of your direct communications). 
   
Zero Day’s Violet Blue has a detailed story in many online sources, such as ZDNet, today, here.  
  
The OPA (the Online Publishers Association) has an email today speculating on whether the Snowden-PRISM-NSA scandal could be catastrophic for the ad industry – and free entry – as we know it now.  It's sort of like a weather rumor that there's going to be a derecho.  The argument is murky and not yet online (outside the email)., but there isn’t any clear course for the Obama administration to follow in developing policy for storing “metadata” on communications.  The problem is somewhat existential. It probably doesn’t hurt “you”:, but if somehow you fall into somebody’s crosshairs, even by “honest mistake”, it could prove tragic. 
  
The closest press release that OPA has right now is a March 2013 statement that Mozilla’s plan to block third party cookies won’t ruin the Internet, link

This is a developing discussion, and bias will change it quickly. 

Update: June 16

I didn't catch the wind of this article on p. G2, Business, Sunday, the Washington Post, at first. It is by Farhad Manjoo, "How PRISM could destroy the tech giants", link on Slate here (curiously, I can't get this to turn up on the Washington Post site).   Manjoo warns that if consumers are too angry at the tech giants and too concerned about privacy, Internet communications will tend to become balkanized and expensive (rather like financial processing today, with Medallion stamps and the like) and the easy self-promotion of the past fifteen years could come to an end.   It's very difficult to judge how it will go.  

At least "GOOG" has a healthly stock price (in the 800's) and is up a little Tuesday, 

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