HFT For Your privacy (and Snowden/NSA update)

How much is your privacy worth? If you live in the US, the fact that you visited your website is worth an average of $0.00069 — if you live in Europe, that value drops to $0.00036. At least, to commercial buyers.

The advent of high-frequency-trading-like systems for serving up advertising to users has turned the Internet into both a government- and commercial-level panopticon. Only instead of wanting to know whether you’re A Threat To The System, the free market wants to know how it can best be A Threat To Your Wallet.

For this they’ve deployed the inevitable evil of Big Data and all the algorithms one can conjur to determine that e.g your visit to Fox News is worth spending more money on than your visit to tnawrestling.com. (Overall, visits to sports sites are worth less, shopping sites are worth the most.)

“But wait, there’s more!”

Start browsing now and you won’t just have your every move tracked and traced by anonymous supercomputers. They’ll also throw in the revoluntionary new Cookie Matching(Tm) system, absolutely FREE!

With this technology you won’t have to worry about advertisers needing to put their tracking tentacles on every web property you visit.

Now they can seamlessly exchange data about you, so everyone gets the largest and most accurate possible profile of your movements across the series of tubes.

And the funny thing about all this? It’s perfectly inaccessible to the little guy.

SNOWDEN/NSA updates…

Well this changes everything: PayPal is almost certainly in bed with the NSA — quoth JYA, “Nothing is more important to governments than where the money is, especially money for taxation required to avoid death-stake in the heart of governments” — and the Omidyar deal may be keeping those documents under wraps.

I may have been wrong in my analysis.

Perhaps I should have listened to the nagging feeling of ‘oh fuck’ that appeared when I first heard of the deal. And perhaps this is why the “anonymous currency” that actually succeeded (Bitcoin) is one that is not anonymous at all! http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2013/12/11/bfp-breaking-news-omidyars-paypal-corporation-said-to-be-implicated-in-withheld-nsa-documents/

Greenwald: “for reasons that warrant sustained study by several academic fields of discipline – very few people generate intense contempt among the British commentariat like Assange does.”

WRT Assange’s fearing Sweden, Greenwald cits their “pre-trial detention powers,” my personal guess is Assange’s as much concerned about Swedish prison-brainwashing — why’d you think they kept a HACKER in solitary for so long? — as he is about US extradition. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/oct/01/wikileaks-sweden-pirate-bay

Snowden interview with Time magazine, even if they didn’t give him POY. http://cryptome.org/2013/12/snowden-dark-prophet.htm

He also has a sense of humor. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/12/11/edward_snowdens_statement_to_fp_on_his_selection_as_a_global_thinker#sthash.ygRpbku2.ESkNkX1j.dpbs

Attendance at privacy meetings and tweeting about it may invite border trouble. Chilling effects what? http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11171475

More info on how the NSA tracks cell phones. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/12/10/new-documents-show-how-the-nsa-infers-relationships-based-on-mobile-location-data/

PDF: http://freesnowden.is/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/cotraveler-tracking-redacted.pdf


” How much are we worth? While browsing the Web, you are being evaluated in real time by complex analysis systems. The advertisers decide on your value and then bid for your private data accordingly and display advertisements on the sites you visit. In this work we show how this is possible and who is doint it. We also show how much are we worth in eyes of advertisers. Even if you think that your browsing history is priceless or worth $10,000, this is not the case.

Sophisticated systems are deployed to track and monitor Web users and complex profiling methods are in place. RTB is a novel medium of ultra-fast (in the orders of tens of milliseconds) selling of advertising spaces. RTB is similar to High Frequency Trading where the acquired goods are advertising space and users’ private data. […]

Since we all live in a market economy, we reasoned that users’ private data are worth as much as someone is willing to pay for them . Using the cleartext price notification leak, we studied the price of private data (Web Browsing History) from the advertisers’ perspectives. During the analysis we detected that prices paid by advertisers depend not only on the users’ profiles (sites they visited previously) but also on other factors. User’s physical location, accessed site and its content, time of day — all this contributes to the price derivation.

Past-visited sites influence the prices: certain sites are more valuable than others and significantly affect the users’ profiles in advertisers’ systems. The most dramatic difference is made by the so-called retargeting ads. Retargeting ads can be often seen after browsing for a specific product on certain sites (such as, for example, Amazon). In several cases the prices for retargeted ads were significantly (2-3x) greater than the generic ones.

Sites we visit also affect prices. For example news sites such as Fox News yield greater prices than, say, tnawrestling.com. In fact, the sites content is very important in pricing the user’s visiting the Web. If the user browses sites related to Sports, chances are the prices are far lower than for example in the case of Shopping sites.

We detected that the user’s physical location plays an important role: the users in USA are priced higher than ($0.00069), for example, the ones located in Europe ($0.00036).”

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