Online Marketers Want To Spy On Your Private Moments

Let's imagine that you are the friendly consumer, and the internet, where you do your shopping, is a series of stores. Then imagine that all the people who want to sell you ads are spies, following you from store to store and noting what you like to look at, so they can advertise that thing to you. Then think about what kind of internet "store" you've been going to. That's right, the porn store! This is the real reason people are mad about online ad targeting. Stop looking at us look at porn just so you can learn to sell us more porn!

A company called NebuAd (free advice to them: think of a less sinister name) is under fire right now because its software tracks you everywhere you go on the internet, then records that info and puts it all together and to sell to advertisers. And-surprise-the people who run NebuAd used to be in the honorable business of crafting adware, that launches deceptive pop-up ads on your screen. Useful members of humanity! Lots of marketers would really love to use this stuff, but they're not sure if the public will go for it. So how is NebuAd assuaging privacy concerns?

In an interview, NebuAd Chief Executive Bob Dykes said Internet-service providers using NebuAd will be able to periodically notify customers online that their Web surfing is being tracked. In addition, the providers also will be able to offer their customers new ways to opt out of NebuAd.

"NOTICE: We are watching you. To opt out, follow this needlessly intricate procedure." Seems fair, as long as we're allowed to follow around NebuAd executives everywhere they go all day and try to steal their wallet. They can opt out if they guess what number we're thinking of.

[WSJ]