Advertising and Privacy

Current PPAU policy on privacy seems to be almost entirely concerned with threats against privacy from the government. In that it seems fairly comprehensive, but there’s very little attention paid to threats to privacy from the increasingly pervasive advertising industry in the private sector.

This article goes into more depth than I can:

So, what sort of policy would be best to address this?

Arguably, outdoor advertising can be viewed as a form of pollution, and the pervasive tracking aimed at personalised advertising can be viewed as a form of stalking and harassment.


Strong agree it’s a gap.

Ties in with Unfscking Surveillance Capitalism too, probably.

I just haven’t had the bandwidth to get across it enough to write a proper policy for it.

now on my reading list: two links from the OP article.

RMS links to a more tightly written opinion piece too. Choice quote summing up my feelings on the GDPR:

The GDPR makes much of requiring users (in some cases) to give consent for the collection of their data, but that doesn’t do much good. System designers have become expert at manufacturing consent (to repurpose Noam Chomsky’s phrase). Most users consent to a site’s terms without reading them; a company that required users to trade their first-born child got consent from plenty of users. Then again, when a system is crucial for modern life, like buses and trains, users ignore the terms because refusal of consent is too painful to consider.
To restore privacy, we must stop surveillance before it even asks for consent.


Strongly agree on this. Many pirate folks in Europe fail to address a clear take on data gathering for profit.

But there’s a equal problem on the other side of the story with privacy: data control by individuals who’s personal data is public or has been public.

There should be a clear distinction of publicly posted personal data (public photos, public name, etc.) vs private-posted personal data that should be protected more.

The line is too thin for many, but we should best understand the clear distinction and not offer a weapon of censorship to folks that use the publicly-available data. Currently, GDPR in Europe sometimes offers such censorship weapon to silence criticism against certain individuals, be them holding a business/part of NGO or not.

Careful with the distinction and censorship.

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I have a personal problem that might relate to this.

I regularly get calls from telemarketers. I keep telling them I’m not interested and asking them not to call back. This works in most cases, except there is one place, something that has emerged in the last year, where it doesn’t work.

If someone sells a list, then you can tell the new owner of the list to not call, and they usually won’t. However, I am on one list that keeps getting sold over and over. Every time , someone calls me they tell me it’s the first time that this company has tried to call me. I have had hundreds of first time callers this year where they are trying to sell me some sort of financial service product.

I beleive them when they tell me that their company has never called me, but someone is making a lot of money reselling the same list to other telemarketers, who keep hearing the same story from me about having heard the same pitch hundreds of times.

Normally, when the same company calls me over and over I tell them this. “I have had a lot of people from your company call me about this product. I am not interested. You need to remove me from the list. I need you to tell youir supervisor to ensure that this happens.”

If the calls keep happening I add, “If I am not removed from youir list I will take it as an invitation to be abusive. You now have a duty of care to your colleagues to ensure that I am removed from the list.”

Now that I am getting a lot of calls from different companies I am saying, “You have a duty of care to tell the people you bought the list from that their clients will hear abuse from me.” But, this sadly has less imapct.

I’m saying all this because it is relevant to privacy. There needs to be a way to compel people to identify the source of the list, and to further compel the source to remove you from it, and share the request with everyone they sold it to. Preferably, all by just telling the person on the phone.

I regularly get calls from telemarketers. I keep telling them I’m not interested and asking them not to call back. This works in most cases, except there is one place, something that has emerged in the last year, where it doesn’t work.

Somewhat offtopic about this: This already falls under abuse

Other than that, completely agree that there should be a clause to stop these abuses from happening, and such clause can easily be implemented by requesting these telemarketers to keep your phone number but with no other personal information related to you, in a blocklist. I think this might not impact data protection, or it has a minimum toll

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This article suggests a very strong approach towards knocking survcap on its head: ban the buying and selling of personal information.

Banning the buying and selling of certain things is also a potential way to eliminate the obscenity backdoor that is often used to compromise the right to free speech. So that idea is doubly noteworthy.