When you allow yourself to be a "product," expect to be used | radioinfo

When you allow yourself to be a "product," expect to be used

Tuesday 23 February, 2021

Comment from Peter Saxon
My old mate, Mark Collier, a newsreader then GM of 2UE and 2GB in the halcyon days, who also did a stint as Head of the Radio School at AFTRS, knows a rort when he sees one.
The other day, an ad for the new model Skoda came up on his Facebook page. Like me, Mark has a passing interest in the latest trends in the automotive sector, so he clicked on the ad to kick a virtual tyre or two, with no intention of buying. After all, he’d only recently taken possession of a sparkling blue Merc, albeit with a tiny blemish on the front bumper.
Next day, when he answered his mobile, to Mark’s surprise it was a sales rep from a Skoda dealership, trying to sell him a new car based on his click-thru to the ad the day before.
When Mark asked the sales guy how he got hold of his mobile number, the guy said that Mark had provided it. 

Technically, of course, this is our own stupid faults. How many of us read the fine print in the agreement? In fact, we're the ones telling lies when we click the box that says, "Yes, I have read and understood user agreement and the privacy terms." when we've done no such thing. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the agreement itself is fair and reasonable. Or that FB has exercised an acceptable duty of care in selling your private details to a third party.

A few months ago, I purchased an Apple watch, primarily to keep an eye on my exersise and to pay with apple pay without having to pull out my phone and some other nifty things that it does. It also tells the time. But it has an unwanted feature.

Pauline and I are having dinner and chatting between us about where we were taking our granddaughter for her birthday, when out of nowhere Siri pipes up and says, something like, "Tickets for Frozen, the musical are availble through ticketek." Who asked you!? This kind of thing, where Siri interupts a provate conversation, happens every couple of days. And somtimes its almost impossible to shut her up. It is proof-positive that Siri doesn't just respond to a wake-up command, it is listening all the time.

There's plenty of evidence of people talking about, say, taking a holiday somewhere and then getting ads for that destination all over their browser.

When individually targetted online advertising first came about, purely based on your past search patterns, it seemed reasonable to at least get ads that you were interested in, like wine rather than pimple cream. But do we, as consumers, really want a third party in our home listening to our private conversations? Or sales people calling our private number every time we click on an ad out of curiousity?

I'll have more to say about Facebook and the tech giants over the next few days.

Peter Saxon



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Anthony The Koala
23 February 2021 - 6:14am
A remark on online ads and voice recognition software.

On online ads, there are several methods of what to do when presented with ads. These are (a) not responding to ads, (b) installing ad-blocking add-ons to your particular browser, (c) regularly clearing the cookies on your browser. There may well be more methods to attacking the online ads problem.

For (b), you may be visiting a particular site which detects that you have an ad-blocker. You could either (i) disable the ad-blocker or (ii) refresh the page and click on the X button before the page completely refreshes.

For (c), regularly clearing the cookies, can be achieved by accessing the browser's history cache and deleting the cookies, or by installing on your browser a cookie manager add-on.

Second, in regards to voice recognition programs connected to the internet I offer two remarks.

One, voice recognition software are embedded not only on smart speakers and mobile phones, but on smart appliances as such as smart TVs. Samsung's terms of service include a paragraph that voice recognition commands as well as device information are sent online to a third party, source https://news.samsung.com/global/samsung-smart-tvs-do-not-monitor-living-room-conversations. On your TV you have to agree with this.

If you are concerned that your smart tv is using 'listening' to your software.
Solutions (a) don't connect your smart tv to the internet, but you can use the voice recognition software privately, (b) if you do use online services such as Stan, Kayo or other VOD or SVOD services, don't use the remote's inbuilt microphone by ensuring that voice recognition is switched off.

Two, when it comes to mobile phone users which have have Alexa or Siri installed, some users may well be inconsiderate when disregarding notices requesting users to switch off the mobile phone at the entrances of lecture theatres, public halls and houses of worship.

A way to discourage inconsiderate users is for the performer, lecturer or celebrant to say the following over the public address ('PA') system:
"Hey Siri, call my mother"
"Hey Alexa, call my girlfriend"
"Hey Siri, call the massage parlour"
"Hey Alexa, I want two pizzas please"

Thank you,
Anthony of analytical Belfield
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