A note on the transparent society

Yesterday I bought a Timex wristwatch at a local JC Penney store.

Today I clicked on a link on my own web log and an ad for Timex wristwatches at JC Penney popped up.

Coincidence?  I think not.

It is chilling to think that I am being tracked by data miners who can figure everything about my life—including things I don’t know myself.

It is even more chilling to think that these data miners aren’t human—just computer algorithms programmed to mimic human surveillance.


The Hypocrisy of the Internet Journalist by Quinn Norton for The Message.  [Hat tip to Mike the Mad Biologist]

Why Google Is a political matter: A conversation with Julian Assange by John Keane for Australia’s The Monthly.  [Hat tip to naked capitalism]

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3 Responses to “A note on the transparent society”

  1. Mark Says:

    That you got an advertisement for something you already bought is “bad advertising”. You should get an advertisement for something related at JC Penney, not one for another watch!

    Of course, if you searched JC Penney for watches prior to the purchase, they did not tie your search to the purchase, so they still are trying to “make the sale”. Amazon on the other hand does have enough information to tie the search to the purchase, so they generally do not to make this mistake.

    I’ve had similar situations searching for gloves (I have XXXL hands), hotels, and other products & services. Since I searched for it, I must want advertisements for what I searched for several more months…. Sigh.


    • philebersole Says:

      You’re right. I forgot I checked out JC Penney Timex watches on-line before I bought one. Not so mysterious after all. I’m embarrassed.

      The two linked articles are well worth reading, though.


  2. williambearcat Says:

    When I used the internet to find a new sauce pan, I got lots of ads for sauce pans, likewise when I visited an ink site, even when I visited my sons business site I got and continue to get ads.I understand that’s part of the internet, but why wouldn’t any purchase any time lead to ads. In time our regrigerator will tell us when food is expiring and in the bathroom the toilet paper dispenser will tell us to buy more t.p. and recommend the brand. I’m glad I’m 75.


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