Thought for the day: Geolocation and Targeted Advertising

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

When I was in Italy some years ago, everything Google was showing up in Dutch. Not that it really mattered as I couldn’t read either language, but I doubt many of the Italians could read Dutch either.

Frankly, the only ‘targeted advertising’ site that’s ever shown me an ad I was interested in is Facebook. And, even then, I went and bought it from a friend instead of the poeple who were advertising, so the advertiser paid to send business to someone else.

So their targeting is garbage, but it’s less garbage than the competition. And cost the advertiser money for no benefit.

Everyone else sends me ads for things I already own (‘you made a post saying you bought a car. Therefore we’re going to send you car ads, because obviously you want to buy another one!’). And even Facebook keep sending me ads for their VR headsets when they know for sure that I already own two.

No-one knows who has this data and what they’re doing with it. Even something as simple as knowing what you set your ‘smart’ thermostat to could tell crooks you’re away on vacation and it’s a good time to burgle your house.

And there’s a staggering amount that can be done with location data alone. Happen to be close to where a crime was committed? Don’t be surprised if the cops turn up on your doorstep, even though you weren’t involved.

I suspect we’ve just about reached peak ‘Cloud’ and are going to start heading back towards more secure localized systems.

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