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The Internet is decreasing in privacy and increasing in utility. Under some conditions, this tradeoff makes sense. We publicize our profile photo so that people know what we look like. Under other conditions, this tradeoff does not make sense. We do not want a television that costs less to purchase because it is silently recording all of the conversations that take place in the room and selling them to the highest bidder.
The example of the TV that records everything you say (which is a real thing) illustrates a tradeoff of the Internet. The advertising industry pushes us towards lower marginal costs for products and services in exchange for less privacy.
Someday we will live in a world where it will be easy for consumers to control the dial on the tradeoff between privacy and the price of their services. Until then, we have almost zero control over what information the advertising surveillance industrial complex knows about us.
Bill Budington is a security engineer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In today’s episode, Bill describes some of the current techniques used by the advertising industry to track your activity through the web. Bill works on encryption tools as well as Panopticlick, a project that allows users to see what trackers they are vulnerable to.
Software Engineering Daily is having our third Meetup, Wednesday May 3rd at Galvanize in San Francisco. The theme of this Meetup is Fraud and Risk in Software. We will have great food, engaging speakers, and a friendly, intellectual atmosphere. To find out more, go to softwareengineeringdaily.com/meetup.