Law in the Internet Society

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KjLimFirstEssay 3 - 04 Dec 2017 - Main.EbenMoglen
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It is strongly recommended that you include your outline in the body of your essay by using the outline as section titles. The headings below are there to remind you how section and subsection titles are formatted.

Online Advertisement, Privacy, and Journalism

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 I have mainly discussed the problems of online advertisements that create privacy issues and threaten the Internet’s (online publishers’) integrity, without discussing solutions. Honestly, I am not sure what solutions there are, especially considering that web publishers’ need to monetize their websites/content is also important; if they can’t do so, we will have fewer and fewer web publishers that can financially survive, threatening the notion of content democratization championed by the web. Nonetheless, a better understanding of the problems should help us find solutions as we move forward.

I think the draft is rather 2012. Your way of describing the extent of data-gathering, the focus on banner advertising and "native" advertising, which is just another cycle being turned, the absence of analysis of the way the placement platforms at Google and Facebook (which are now garnering between them 99% of all the new digital advertising spending in the world outside China)---all seems ill-designed to give the reader a current view of the situation.

Why are we discussing advertising-supported media content, instead of discussing how businesses that are product and services businesses either succeed or fail depending on how the advertising platforms treat them? Why is "ad-blocking" even an issue, given that digital media are intrinsically filterable, and whatever I use to read data from webservers isn't necessarily a "browser" made by an advertising company? Serving the ads off the same address that serves me parts of the data stream I want (which is what "native advertising" now really means) defeats only primitive forms of ad-blocking, which are not how sensible people protect themselves both against the monitoring and against the attention-distortion at the same time. (The NY Times does various things to interfere with my reading of the news they publish, some of which might be considered advertising and other bits might be thought of as "content," but if I don't want them I can be filtering them out equally. Ads are really just anything I don't want, as spam is really just email I don't want to read. In both cases, computers are ideally skilled at helping me remove what I don't want to see.)

I think the best route to improvement is to broaden the discussion of advertising, from media-content decoration to the activities of the platforms themselves, and to look more closely at privacy technologies beyond in-browser ad-blocking.


Revision 3r3 - 04 Dec 2017 - 22:32:48 - EbenMoglen
Revision 2r2 - 14 Nov 2017 - 20:15:14 - KjLim
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