Advertising and Red Flags

TLDR: Give your data away!

An image of Pol Pot. If you’re wondering, read about the Khmer Rouge, although it is frightning.
Don’t wear any glasses.

Yeah, no.

But let’s start with a bit of context.

I once had a discussion where the question was to whether there was a need to collect personal data of people who use the internet. What would happen if we prevented companies from doing so? To me, the answer was obvious. Every page you visited would be a paid expense. Lemme explain.

We’ve kinda got used to the internet being free, or atleast a majority of the internet not having any paid barriers to access their content. However, it isn’t really free for the website. Billions of people using google requires huge amount of servers, which require huge amounts of storage space, electricity, etc. Those costs add up. If you ever complain that youtube has too many ads, remember that they’re the top video processing platform on the internet. They process huge (like unimaginably huge) amounts of data everyday.

And nobody’s paying. Atleast not directly. I don’t remember paying to use google or youtube (anti-youtube premium gang), and that applies to a lot more stuff.

So the only way that these companies can pay for stuff is to utilise whatever information they do have i.e whatever you give them. Google search information, youtube watch history, ye facebook information. All go into the blender.

If you stopped them from doing so, there is no economic model that allows for sustainability (if you’re thinking of crowdfunding, we’re getting there), given the amount of money involved in infrastructure.

Now let’s take a look at crowdfunding. If you crowdfunded a company like google/facebook/whatever, relying on that source of income is a very……questionable model, given the problems involved with crowdfunding in general. It’s also very unsustainable for many businesses.

But let’s have a small thought experiment. What would happen if the crowdfunding were say, done by the population every year? By the State? To sustain projects considered to be public good? Like google? Any red flags being raised in your mind (the Marxist kind)?

Anyway, even in this thought experiment, there is a question of whether or not you can trust the government to handle stuff like this. I’ll trust the Europeans to a certain extent and the Chinese never (Cuz of the whole spying on everyone thing that they seem to have a penchant for). At the same time though, privacy at the government level is probably easier to enforce (Whether or not it’s done isn’t the point).

So State funded search engines and social media sites. Interesting theoretically, no idea how it’ll be done in reality (China doesn’t really count as an example, since Baidu + others are privately owned entities, although I’m pretty sure that distinction is lost when the CCP basically controls everything). I wonder if Europe would be interested in setting these up.

Ground reality is, the whole Internet runs on advertising. Can’t live without it, otherwise you’d have to pay for every page you visit (or atleast every 100 pages). Since advertising requires your data, you’ll need to suffer the consequences of having your data absorbed by big tech + governments all around the world.

The only question remaining is whether is how much data do you wanna give to someone. For the Americans, with google, facebook, apple and microsoft supplying so much intel to the NSA, I presume the answer is every scrap that can be given. Chinese too, though they’re about as subtle as a bull in a china shop.

I got no idea. This whole topic is like staring at lovecraftian monsters. I wish I didn’t know, cuz it’s driving me mad.

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Aditya Sujith Gudimetla

I do stuff. Like stuff about policy. And book stuff. And gaming stuff. And stuff about life. And stuff about stuff.