21 votes

What are the arguments against letting user data be collected?

It's obviously bad when "real" data like full names and credit card info leaks, but most data companies collect is probably email address and some anonymous things like which buttons and when the user clicked.

Nevertheless, such data collection, tracking and telemetry is considered quite bad among power users. I don't support those practices either. But I'm struggling to consolidate my arguments agaist data collection. The one I'm confident about is effects on performance and battery life on mobile devices, but why else it's bad I'm not sure.

What are your arguments? Why is it bad when a company X knows what anonymous user Y did and made money on that info? What's the good response to anyone who asks why I'm doing the "privacy things"?

47 comments

  1. [24]
    Octofox Link
    All this data is collected because it allows companies to manipulate your thinking in to buying more and more useless junk as well as getting you addicted to their social media platforms using the...

    All this data is collected because it allows companies to manipulate your thinking in to buying more and more useless junk as well as getting you addicted to their social media platforms using the same psychological weapons gambling companies use.

    Advertising is a cancer on society

    46 votes
    1. [23]
      TheInvaderZim Link Parent
      Without ads the computer you used to post this wouldntcexist, yo. Marketer here - there are some decent arguments against data collection but this aint one of em.

      Without ads the computer you used to post this wouldntcexist, yo.

      Marketer here - there are some decent arguments against data collection but this aint one of em.

      11 votes
      1. Octofox Link Parent
        We certainly had computers before ads on computers. Without ads and marketing getting involved my computer would likely be built to last longer, include less spyware and be less proprietary.

        We certainly had computers before ads on computers. Without ads and marketing getting involved my computer would likely be built to last longer, include less spyware and be less proprietary.

        42 votes
      2. [18]
        PopeRigby Link Parent
        What do you mean by that?

        Without ads the computer you used to post this wouldntcexist, yo.

        What do you mean by that?

        6 votes
        1. [16]
          TheInvaderZim Link Parent
          Our society is built on the back of capitalism, which is powered by marketing. Marketing itself has not fundamentally changed in about 50-75 years. Ads are what power society.

          Our society is built on the back of capitalism, which is powered by marketing. Marketing itself has not fundamentally changed in about 50-75 years. Ads are what power society.

          4 votes
          1. [3]
            Octofox Link Parent
            Marketing has changed a lot. Old ads used to show the product, why it was good and what the price was. Modern adverts are made to create desire. Take a look at an apple advert, they don't say...

            Marketing has changed a lot. Old ads used to show the product, why it was good and what the price was. Modern adverts are made to create desire. Take a look at an apple advert, they don't say anything about what its function is or what is better about it. The latest ad on tv is just a bunch of spinning phones in the air with emotional music playing. They have converted a functional device in to a fashion product because it means they can get people to constantly buy the latest one to keep up with trends.

            33 votes
            1. TheInvaderZim Link Parent
              Interesting point! I disagree. In most cases, marketing hasnt changed, but the market hss. When it comes to marketing, youve got two angles you can throw: logical, or emotional, appeal. Which...

              Interesting point! I disagree. In most cases, marketing hasnt changed, but the market hss.

              When it comes to marketing, youve got two angles you can throw: logical, or emotional, appeal. Which approach you use depends on quite a few things, including everything from the product itself to its competition to who its being sold to. Power tools and the like are logically marketed, while luxury products are emotionally marketed.

              Previously (pre-internet) there were a few reasons why you saw the logical side more:

              1. logic based sales works better on men, and men had more buying power.

              2. companies could continually and substantially innovate at a rapid pace, making the logical sell easier.

              3. most information wasnt readily available at a glance, so even logical sales were in most causes founded in emotions (and trust).

              But despite that, emotional manipulation was still a fundamental part of marketing. It showed itself in things like brand loyalty and perceived value, both hallmarks of, to use your own example, Apple products, today.

              The only difference between mainstream marketing today and 45 years ago is how specifically it can be targeted, and how the customer now perceives it. Information is readily available now, and brand loyalty has disappeared. In the face of these two factors, companies are doing the only thing they can when the market already knows the features and price: appealing to emotion.

              8 votes
            2. NecrophiliaChocolate Link Parent
              I dont agree with your argument either. A lot of ads in the past were really about creating desire, hitting a specific emotion that you were meant to attach with a product. I think Mad Men did a...

              I dont agree with your argument either. A lot of ads in the past were really about creating desire, hitting a specific emotion that you were meant to attach with a product. I think Mad Men did a good job of pointing that out. Here are a few examples:
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpWlYZzJ9iY (Carl's Jr - Kate Upton)
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJX05mJ8tz4 (Jaguar commercial)
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bdk0A-FyoCE (Mcdonalds commercial)

              Here is an example of Mr Clean in 1995, here you can see how the advert really has not changed much. It isn't comparing it another version, but still is showing functionality.
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0YtvArizyQ
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah9JZ5wARFY

              Maybe what this tells us is that it really depends on the product and what they are trying to sell.

              1 vote
          2. [11]
            Spel Link Parent
            Why would capitalism need marketing to function?

            Why would capitalism need marketing to function?

            6 votes
            1. Whom Link Parent
              Beyond that, why do computers need capitalism to exist? This is maybe getting past the point because a product existing isn't really an argument for a certain mode of production, as we could...

              Beyond that, why do computers need capitalism to exist?

              This is maybe getting past the point because a product existing isn't really an argument for a certain mode of production, as we could organize the way we produce the same things an infinite number of different ways...but even saying "capitalism is responsible for computers" is a bit of a headscratcher. A whole lot of computing history took place in capitalist nations, yes, but not being driven by market forces or even being developed for commercial uses. I don't mean to suggest that these were "pure" or overreach with this point, but the military initiatives and university work that got electronic computers off the ground could've happened in similar forms regardless of economic system.

              21 votes
            2. [5]
              nsz Link Parent
              A perfect market is--at least in part--one where there are so many companies that they force each other into to being efficient and entirely consumer focused--the implication being that if they...

              A perfect market is--at least in part--one where there are so many companies that they force each other into to being efficient and entirely consumer focused--the implication being that if they are not, they get replaced. This perfect market is a big part of the ideal image of a capitalist market.

              Without marketing it would be much harder for a small and new--presumably more efficient--company to begin challenging the established players.

              But also it's inevitable. Let's imagine a scenario where tomorrow we abolish all advertising, and relegate all product discovery to a phone book style directory. Well almost over night you would get a rush for the desirable positions, experts on naming, and weird and wacky stuff with letter arraignment--anything to get the edge, there is simply too much money on the line to do anything else.

              My point being even if you try eliminate it; it would spring up within whatever confines you implement.

              6 votes
              1. [2]
                Spel Link Parent
                Considering how marketing works I have a very hard time believing that. There's a reason that it's the largest companies that spend the most on marketing even though everyone already knows about...

                Without marketing it would be much harder for a small and new--presumably more efficient--company to begin challenging the established players.

                Considering how marketing works I have a very hard time believing that. There's a reason that it's the largest companies that spend the most on marketing even though everyone already knows about them, which is that mere exposure has a huge effect. This helps the established players maintain their position because they can spend the most money. If you could not purchase the ability to get your product in front of more people more often, that would help the smaller actors since the playing groung would be more even.

                Sure, some form of marketing might always spring up, but I fail to see why it could not be seriously limited and, more importantly, why that would have any negatve conseuences for capitalism.

                6 votes
                1. nsz Link Parent
                  Why? how do you think a new company begins, where do they get customers/users? How do you think uber, paypal, amazon, anything founded in the last 20 years began. Sure they had a great idea, but...

                  Considering how marketing works I have a very hard time believing that.

                  Why? how do you think a new company begins, where do they get customers/users? How do you think uber, paypal, amazon, anything founded in the last 20 years began. Sure they had a great idea, but that doesn't mean squat if no one found out about it, and you can't look it up in a directory because well, no one knew they needed these things.
                  Anyway that's a bit of a tangent.

                  My argument is marketing is necessary for a capitalist market, like how oil is to an engine. But also it's just part of the phenomenon of a market, it's the language used to communicate between a company and the consumer, impossible to go without, just deciding on a colour is part of this communication.

                  I'm not arguing that marketing is awesome and lets have more of it, in fact I would love much less of it.

                  This 99% invisible podcast might be of interest. It's about São Paulo in Brazil, which removed all outdoor advertising following the clean city law (wikipedia) in 2006.

                  5 votes
              2. [2]
                Octofox Link Parent
                A perfect market simply can not exist without the customer knowing all the details beforehand. When I take a look at a device, how will I know how long it will last? How will I know how long it...

                A perfect market simply can not exist without the customer knowing all the details beforehand. When I take a look at a device, how will I know how long it will last? How will I know how long it will get updates for? How will I know to what tolerances the device was built to?

                1 vote
                1. determinism Link Parent
                  What does marketing have to do with any of this? I'm an engineer. In my work, the salespeople are usually the biggest obstacle to gaining any information about a product. Marketing and...

                  When I take a look at a device, how will I know how long it will last? How will I know how long it will get updates for? How will I know to what tolerances the device was built to?

                  What does marketing have to do with any of this?

                  I'm an engineer. In my work, the salespeople are usually the biggest obstacle to gaining any information about a product. Marketing and advertisement are literally the last place anyone would rely on to gain information about a product. Datasheets and CAD are always hidden behind some fucking contact page where I have to wait half an hour for a sales engineer to follow up. Meanwhile, websites like McMaster and Misumi are becoming powerhouses due to their approach of hiding salespeople away from the consumer. It's much more expedient to just expose the information publicly and rely on customers to seek it out.

                  I don't see ads for any of these products. When I want something, I research it. Most of my employer's vendor relationships were formed at trade shows (not in my inbox). If a market relies on an informed public, it seems incredibly inefficient to broadcast information to the public regardless of their purchasing patterns or interests.

                  One might point out that collecting information about the public allows advertisers to narrow down their audience (which is the subject of this thread). That sounds nice in theory except it relies on violating the privacy of the customers. The endpoint of this trajectory is a hellworld of targeted misinformation, more deviously crafted than any human could possibly have a chance against. It's all being carried in that direction "on the back of capitalism".

                  8 votes
            3. [4]
              TheInvaderZim Link Parent
              If nobosy knows about it, it wont get sold. Even something as simple as word of mouth is organic marketing. How could it function without it?

              If nobosy knows about it, it wont get sold. Even something as simple as word of mouth is organic marketing. How could it function without it?

              3 votes
              1. [3]
                Spel (edited ) Link Parent
                To me that seems such a broad definition of marketing as to be useless. I would say that it's only marketing if the incentive to do so is financial (or similar) gain. I very much don't believe...

                To me that seems such a broad definition of marketing as to be useless. I would say that it's only marketing if the incentive to do so is financial (or similar) gain.

                I very much don't believe that people would stop looking up information about products that they can purchase without marketing.

                6 votes
                1. [2]
                  Octofox Link Parent
                  They would however stop buying things they don't need because they would not look it up unless they needed it.

                  They would however stop buying things they don't need because they would not look it up unless they needed it.

                  3 votes
                  1. mrbig Link Parent
                    Would that be such a bad thing? :/

                    They would however stop buying things they don't need

                    Would that be such a bad thing? :/

                    10 votes
          3. mrbig Link Parent
            Are price listings marketing? Cause capitalism is conceivable without it. It is marketing that is powered by capitalism. I'm not saying marketing is not useful though, I just think you're...

            which is powered by marketing

            Are price listings marketing? Cause capitalism is conceivable without it. It is marketing that is powered by capitalism.

            I'm not saying marketing is not useful though, I just think you're statement went too far.

            3 votes
        2. no_exit Link Parent
          it means he's forgetting one of the most fundamental marketing rules: never get high on your own supply

          it means he's forgetting one of the most fundamental marketing rules: never get high on your own supply

          1 vote
      3. [4]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. [3]
          Wes Link Parent
          Computers would certainly exist - they're too useful not to. But the world wide web as it is today? Probably not. Many blogs, news sites, and services are financed by ads. The idea of paying for...

          Computers would certainly exist - they're too useful not to. But the world wide web as it is today? Probably not. Many blogs, news sites, and services are financed by ads.

          The idea of paying for things online has only recently (in the last ten years) become much easier and more universal. I remember having to send a money order to buy a Runescape premium membership.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            culturedleftfoot Link Parent
            You're right about this part: "as it is today". Does that necessarily mean we wouldn't have come up with a holistically better overall alternative?

            You're right about this part: "as it is today". Does that necessarily mean we wouldn't have come up with a holistically better overall alternative?

            7 votes
            1. Wes Link Parent
              There's really no way to say. But I will say that I don't think business could have thrived as well online if ads weren't available as a monetization model from the start.

              There's really no way to say. But I will say that I don't think business could have thrived as well online if ads weren't available as a monetization model from the start.

              1 vote
  2. mftrhu Link
    "Real data" is not just names and credit card info. Email addresses and things that seem anonymous, or that have allegedly been anonymized, can be used to create a profile, and identify the user,...

    It's obviously bad when "real" data like full names and credit card info leaks, but most data companies collect is probably email address and some anonymous things like which buttons and when the user clicked.

    "Real data" is not just names and credit card info. Email addresses and things that seem anonymous, or that have allegedly been anonymized, can be used to create a profile, and identify the user, and track them.

    And that data will eventually be sold, or leaked, and used by entities even less scrupulous than corps.

    And, in any case, I don't want companies to collect that data. Nothing more than that is needed to "justify" doing the "privacy thing".

    16 votes
  3. cfabbro (edited ) Link
    If only that were true. But even if it was, in isolation that sort of "benign" data and metadata collection may seem relatively harmless, however combined into massive datasets with all the other...

    but most data companies collect is probably email address and some anonymous things like which buttons and when the user clicked.

    If only that were true. But even if it was, in isolation that sort of "benign" data and metadata collection may seem relatively harmless, however combined into massive datasets with all the other data available out there (acquired from companies, e.g. ISPs, or publicly available sources, e.g. social media sites, or even from more illicit sources, e.g. data breaches), it suddenly becomes anything but benign, harmless or even anonymous anymore.

    Big Data companies would not be able to charge corporations, political parties, police agencies and governments the amount they do for access to their datasets and analytics suites if they didn't provide any valuable insights into behavior, predictive capabilities or allow for specific demographic targeting. Nor would intelligence agencies like the NSA, CSIS, GRU, etc. be collecting similar data in the vast quantities they are if it was valueless to them in fulfilling their missions.

    I think Maciej Ceglowski's Strata+Hadoop keynote, which was mentioned in the Tildes announcement blog post, sums up my feelings on Data collection. I would highly recommend watching the video of the presentation or reading it since I suspect it might change your perspective a bit:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAXLHM-1Psk
    https://idlewords.com/talks/haunted_by_data.htm

    Also worth watching is the other presentation mentioned in the Tildes announcement:
    https://www.ted.com/talks/zeynep_tufekci_we_re_building_a_dystopia_just_to_make_people_click_on_ads

    And another I would add to the recommended watch list is "Big data: why should you care?" from The Guardian:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji18sDbWI_k

    23 votes
  4. jamfox Link
    It isn't just "things like which buttons and when the user clicked," they're collecting everything they possibly can. Just go and request Google to send you the data they've collected on you for...

    It isn't just "things like which buttons and when the user clicked," they're collecting everything they possibly can. Just go and request Google to send you the data they've collected on you for example - you'll most likely be sent files over 150 gigs in total (ymmv). And that's bad because with enough data they can pretty much know everything about you - what you look like, who your friends are, where your home/work/gym is, how much you work out, what your hobbies are, how much do you talk to your parents etcetc. It's comparable to giving a key to your whole psychology and the manipulative potential is huge. The worst thing is that if you know a person enough, you can manipulate them without them ever knowing. Tbf, they aren't able to use the data that effectively just yet, but after a few years it's going to be hell on earth with all these meticulous targeted advertisements.

    19 votes
  5. clerical_terrors (edited ) Link
    I want to offer a different point of view and say that one of the bigger problems of unrestrained data harvesting is that it creates a vicious cycle of devaluation, which I'd describe as follows:...

    I want to offer a different point of view and say that one of the bigger problems of unrestrained data harvesting is that it creates a vicious cycle of devaluation, which I'd describe as follows:

    • Company starts collecting data for marketing/product improvement
    • Company is successful and sells said data/tech
    • Other companies start doing the same thing to stay relevant in the marketplace
    • value of data/tech plummets as everyone either has their own version or uses somebody else's leading to market saturation
    • Companies create more intrusive version of data collection to stay ahead of the competition

    Rinse and repeat until you get to the current day, where every single data point which can possibly be tracked is and still it's value is tanking continuously. Online advertising is a good indication of how bad it is getting: despite Google having some of the most sophisticated targeting and being able to deliver ads to billions the people hosting the ads can barely make a living off of it.

    12 votes
  6. [5]
    thisonemakesyouthink Link
    Just look into facebook shadow profiles. You don't need to have an account for them to know who you are, who your friends are, where you live, what you like, etc. They already do. If that isn't...

    Just look into facebook shadow profiles. You don't need to have an account for them to know who you are, who your friends are, where you live, what you like, etc. They already do. If that isn't enough of a horror story already, nothing will convince you.

    9 votes
    1. [4]
      Nitta Link Parent
      I won't ask "So what?", but many people will. What's the direct harm from Facebook having shadow profiles? This can lead to more targeted ads and then more spending from user, but in other hand,...

      I won't ask "So what?", but many people will. What's the direct harm from Facebook having shadow profiles? This can lead to more targeted ads and then more spending from user, but in other hand, the money is spent on more relevant things the user wouldn't know about if ads weren't targeted based on shadow profiles.

      I see other, bigger concerns in other comments though.

      1. [3]
        thisonemakesyouthink Link Parent
        What's the harm of facebook knowing everything about you, possibly more than your friends without you even signing up? Are you seriously asking this (while pretending you're not asking it) right...

        What's the harm of facebook knowing everything about you, possibly more than your friends without you even signing up? Are you seriously asking this (while pretending you're not asking it) right now?

        Even if there's no harm in it... it doesn't matter? I'll refer to a classic Snowden quote

        Nobody needs to justify why they "need" a right: the burden of justification falls on the one seeking to infringe upon the right. But even if they did, you can't give away the rights of others because they're not useful to you. More simply, the majority cannot vote away the natural rights of the minority. Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say.

        7 votes
        1. [2]
          Nitta Link Parent
          Facebook doesn't have those long metal tentacles to threaten and direct me even if they know many things about me, also I use adblock. But I understand, someone else without adblock can be shown...

          Facebook doesn't have those long metal tentacles to threaten and direct me even if they know many things about me, also I use adblock. But I understand, someone else without adblock can be shown political ads and manipulated to vote differently from their original will, but for whom people behind the ads or Facebook itself want them to. Thanks

  7. [3]
    firstname (edited ) Link
    I simply do not want to be manipulated by any company or government. You might think that you make your own decisions and that those are based on purely your own opinions. Often times they are...

    I simply do not want to be manipulated by any company or government. You might think that you make your own decisions and that those are based on purely your own opinions. Often times they are not, without you even knowing.
    The data may be used to manipulate votes in an election for example. Or change the opinions of the masses with targeted propaganda, just think of the possibility's of someone like Hitler would have had if this technology would have been available to him.
    There is a reason why data is more expensive then oil. It can be used for less harmful objectives like targeted ads, but it may also be a deadly tool if it ends up in the wrong hands. And we all know that that happens sooner or later. We even see it happening in places like China right now as we speak. I think its very frightening.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      Nitta Link Parent
      If candidate 1 de facto increases their votes by exploiting user data on social media, why wouldn't their opponent candidate 2 have done the same to "pull the blanket"? Is that typically because...

      The data may be used to manipulate votes in an election for example

      If candidate 1 de facto increases their votes by exploiting user data on social media, why wouldn't their opponent candidate 2 have done the same to "pull the blanket"? Is that typically because of two major candidates in most cases one is politically and morally more inclined to using such methods of influence than the other?

      1. Wolf Link Parent
        It's not about the candidates marketing against each other, as mush as the influence of the platforms themselves. Facebook could easily sway people to whichever candidate fits their company's...

        It's not about the candidates marketing against each other, as mush as the influence of the platforms themselves. Facebook could easily sway people to whichever candidate fits their company's agenda. Nudging people to vote this way makes it even easier to manipulate next time around. This doesn't really paint a picture of a democracy, since major tech companies would have a lot of power. Sure, legislation could stop them from manipulating votes, but considering the fact that legislators barely understand tech and that tech companies are very adept at finding loopholes, it could be a long and rough road in preventing these companies from manipulating votes. Now what about manipulating behavior in a larger sense. Should legislators have to specify exactly what behaviors tech companies can and cannot manipulate? It would be much easier to ban data collection all together, and slowly allow advertising that has been shown to be safe.

        4 votes
  8. [11]
    cadadr Link
    One particular thing that is often overlooked is that the pay-by-eyeballs approach is a form of payment that is involuntary---I look at something, and that something earns money because I did look...

    One particular thing that is often overlooked is that the pay-by-eyeballs approach is a form of payment that is involuntary---I look at something, and that something earns money because I did look at it, regardless of whether I find it worthy of anything it potentially receives some money. Say I skim an article and hate it, or watch a far-right video to analyse it or just see what the fuss is about; I have just involuntarily supported something that is contrary to my views. (edit to expand just a bit:) I'd rather expressly buy things. When I look at a billboard walking by it, nobody's paid nothing just because I looked at it, because nobody deserves to be paid nothing. A lot of data collection and data mining is used to design and implement this sort of economy.

    Apart from that, what I could've said has been said by others. That stuff is not hypothetical BTW, see e.g. Cambridge Analytica as a theoretical example, and the Maciej Cegłowski video that @cfabbro linked (20min) for a nice humorous theoretical pondering on the subject (he did that talk at a big data conference, which I can not appreciate enough, great move; his Website Obesity Crisis talk and other stuff is great too).

    8 votes
    1. [10]
      Nitta Link Parent
      This is a legit concern but it's a bit different from the data collection problem. Imagine some kind of DuckDuckGoTube where no data is collected and everyone sees the same feed, same ads. Still,...

      something earns money because I did look at it, regardless of whether I find it worthy

      This is a legit concern but it's a bit different from the data collection problem. Imagine some kind of DuckDuckGoTube where no data is collected and everyone sees the same feed, same ads. Still, duckducktubers would get money for those non targeted ads they enabled in their uploaded videos, whenever someone watches them.

      1 vote
      1. [3]
        cadadr Link Parent
        Not really that different in that it is one of the driving forces for excessive data collection: ads are becoming more and more invasive because ad sellers are trying hard to figure out what an...

        Not really that different in that it is one of the driving forces for excessive data collection: ads are becoming more and more invasive because ad sellers are trying hard to figure out what an impression is and discerning that from skimming, looking around, or a tab sitting at the background. They track the movement of the mouse, whether the tab is in the foreground, scrolling behaviour and other stuff to make sure that the interaction is an impression, i.e. that the ad has somehow been effective.

        Also, a lot of data collection is for figuring out what to put before eyeballs: recommendations. What you watch or read or buy or whatnot are collected and crunched, together with whatever the publishers or sellers think they figured out that you seem to be likely to buy---from viewing the details to a product to probably hovering your pointer on it or just not scrolling past for a while---to figure out what to recommend to you and what to put in ad boxes and what to spam your email inbox with.

        Most of data collection is done in the name of this sort of causes that are justifiable in an amoral context. The glowing big vulnerabilities are created by the fact that the collection of such data is not regulated, its security is not ensured, and malicious use is not effectively disallowed. It may seem that regulations and laws could help, but it is essentially impossible to securely store this data in a way that is not in conflict with purely commercial interests. Therefore, however benign the reasons to collect data might be, collection and storage of personal data may never be safe. Thus, it should be treated as a critical thing. We've had many Chernobyls in this industry, and yet nothing is done because it is not people literally falling apart.

        The point of ad business and of selling user data is to make people pay indirectly for things they'd rather not pay. And if that sort of economy perished today, lots and lots of data collection would vanish overnight. That commercial websites are trying to optimise for users is a huge lie. All data is collected either for ads or for govt opression, or a combination of the two.

        7 votes
        1. [2]
          Nitta (edited ) Link Parent
          On a grand scheme of things, many could ask, "So what?". Additional items an internet user buys purely because of targeted ads are likely to be somehow not really necessary, but the user still did...

          The point of ad business and of selling user data is to make people pay indirectly for things they'd rather not pay

          On a grand scheme of things, many could ask, "So what?". Additional items an internet user buys purely because of targeted ads are likely to be somehow not really necessary, but the user still did a conscious choice and satisfied their desire, whatever its source, genuineness and duration are. Yeah it's worse for environment when industries produce those extra items. But why else is this bad?

          Legit points of harm from data collection, like proneness to political manipulation, remain legit, but this particular point about harm by induced additional spending seems to be linked with anticonsumerism.

          1. cadadr Link Parent
            I think I already made it clear, but: if it was not for this kind of reasons, there would be way less incentives to collect data.

            I think I already made it clear, but: if it was not for this kind of reasons, there would be way less incentives to collect data.

            1 vote
      2. [6]
        2942 Link Parent
        So, tv, radio, magazines, newspapers...seems to me they all did just fine for 100 or so years until someone decided "fine" wasn't good enough and needed more.

        Imagine some kind of DuckDuckGoTube where no data is collected and everyone sees the same feed, same ads.

        So, tv, radio, magazines, newspapers...seems to me they all did just fine for 100 or so years until someone decided "fine" wasn't good enough and needed more.

        2 votes
        1. [5]
          Nitta Link Parent
          Nowadays it's probably way easier to start a business, so more people do that, so each business world get a smaller share of the market, not enough money for owners for living. Companies increase...

          Nowadays it's probably way easier to start a business, so more people do that, so each business world get a smaller share of the market, not enough money for owners for living. Companies increase size of the market by stimulating users with targeted ads to buy more than before.

          Regardless of if the market was too small, data collection became possible after all, so when someone started using it, the rest have to follow or they lose competition

          1. [4]
            cufflnx Link Parent
            If your only choice is to lower my standards so that it's possible to compete, maybe we should be talking about aggressively regulating the space. The US needs something along the lines of the...

            If your only choice is to lower my standards so that it's possible to compete, maybe we should be talking about aggressively regulating the space. The US needs something along the lines of the GDPR to severely restrict use of user data.

            "I need to lower my standards to compete" is not an ethically satisfying argument IMO.

            5 votes
            1. [3]
              Nitta Link Parent
              Lowering standards universally broadens opportunities while hurting senses of good morality of those who want to adhere to their standards. If I was morally more loose in doing the same kind of...

              Lowering standards universally broadens opportunities while hurting senses of good morality of those who want to adhere to their standards.

              If I was morally more loose in doing the same kind of business as you I'd lower my standards to outcompete you, then you'd be frustrated because losing and not wanting to lower your standards as well to stop that loss, and you'd want regulators to make me stop lowering those standards. Thanks for illuminating the problem

              1. [2]
                cadadr Link Parent
                I don't see what you are trying to do with this topic TBH. Playing the devil's advocate or something?

                I don't see what you are trying to do with this topic TBH. Playing the devil's advocate or something?

                1 vote
                1. Nitta Link Parent
                  If we consider people who run data collecting websites for profit devils, then yes. They are also people, they have some opposite goals from user, and leaving them out of the picture could...

                  If we consider people who run data collecting websites for profit devils, then yes. They are also people, they have some opposite goals from user, and leaving them out of the picture could indicate forming of a user oriented echo chamber (or maybe not). I'm convinced echo chambers are detrimental to finding out the truth, and trying to oppose the thread possibly gravitating to one.