dmarti is currently certified at Master level.

Name: Don Marti
Member since: 2000-04-21 19:59:46
Last Login: 2007-08-14 04:08:08

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When a site tries to violate users' common-sense expectation of privacy, it should be the system administrator's responsibility to protect the user unless the user requests otherwise. Web ad banners are a security hole.

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Surveillance Marketing pays

Katrina Lerman of Communispace explains how surveillance marketing pays. First of all, people don't like being tracked in general.

We found that consumers overwhelmingly prefer anonymity online: 86 percent of consumers would click a “do not track” button if it were available and 30 percent of consumers would actually pay a 5 percent surcharge if they could be guaranteed that none of their information would be captured.

What would get them over their resistance? Discounts, of course.

On the flip side, consumers may be willing to share their data if there’s a clear value exchange: 70 percent said they would voluntarily share personal data with a company in exchange for a 5 percent discount.

Got it? This is some heavy Chief-Marketing-Officer-level stuff here, so pay attention. Yes, you'll be spending a lot of money on Big Data and all the highly paid surveillance marketing consultants and IT experts who go with it. (Big Data experts are a rare breed, and feed primarily on between-sessions croissants at Big Data conferences.)

But look what you get for that increase in the marketing budget. You get to cut your price to get people to sign up for it.

Somewhere this all makes sense. Maybe Bob Hoffman can explain it.

Syndicated 2014-04-13 14:52:44 from Don Marti

Movie plot

(Entry for Bruce Schneier's Seventh Movie-Plot Threat Contest)

Ann has completed Agency training for a job as a non-official cover agent at an international oil firm. But now she's assigned to the release engineering team at Aloodo, a large Internet company where the source is open, the culture is wild and free, and release engineering, without management's knowledge, installs back doors for the Agency. A change in the company's elaborate list of security checks means the Agency needs one more inside person, fast, and Ann is the only NOC-qualified agent available.

Hijinks ensue as Ann must make it through the technical interview with a flaky radio connection to an Aloodo-employed NOC agent for support. When it fails, she aces the interview by dropping some petroleum science.

Ann struggles to keep up with both her release engineering work and her Agency responsibilities. But when an series of intricate heists has police baffled, she realizes that the gang is using information that could only come from within Aloodo. Do the back doors have back doors? Who are her new co-workers really working for? Is there anyone she can trust?

Syndicated 2014-04-05 13:54:10 from Don Marti

The underground collaboration system we (mostly) already have?

Underground publishing is nice, but what if you want to run something like an underground newspaper with an editing process? Or an underground wiki? Or an underground software or design project?

It seems to me that the tools to do it are already coming into being, and most of them have corporate uses, which means that most of the work to implement this is being done on the clock.

You can start your underground collaboration system with Git, but in order to actually organize on work you need an issue tracker, something like Bugs Everywhere. Fortunately you can use git as the backend for miscellaneous collaboration applications using databranches, so you can have just Git as the only data store. No separate database needed for the meta-info such as status, owner, deadline, comments.

The system doesn't need all of the stuff in How Git Could Grow into an Enterprise SCM System, but it would be nice to have multi-blob files, bup style, and essential to have some kind of network object store. Tahoe-LAFS? Or just run a bunch of parts of enterprise-ish software stacks that will work as DHT nodes, as Tor hidden services? Swift? You could have a variety of network object stores feeding the same projects, since they're all the same to Git.

(A first step in adding network object stores to Git would just be a tool that walks through a repository and inserts Git objects into the DHT, or gets objects from the DHT to fill in the gaps. Eventually the corporate SCM market is going to need Git repositories larger than the smallest hard drives they're willing to buy for their code monkeys, so this is likely to improve.)

Put any references you want to share long-term into Namecoin and there's your publishing. To read the publication, a user would get the reference from Namecoin and populate a local Git repository with the required objects. (Naturally most people would use an RSS-reader-like client to do this.)

For live collaboration action, a group could stand up a Git repository as a Tor hidden service (using Gitbucket would make this not such a tweaky sysadmin task) or use something like piehole, with the etcd instances as hidden services and relying on the DHT to share objects. Then periodically "archive" refs to Namecoin.

The final result is subversive as hell but all the parts are either already done or mainly useful for Enterprise IT.

Syndicated 2014-03-29 14:39:33 from Don Marti

Five more questions on ad fraud

Just saw The Five Questions That Will Eliminate Ad Fraud. I'm not sure if those will do it. How about five more?

Since adtech is based on the idea of cheating writers using computers, is anyone surprised that someone came up with the idea of cheating adtech using computers?

Can you seriously expect any site that lives by ripping off other people's content to be completely honest with its ad networks?

Since adtech intermediaries make money from fraud just as they do on other ads, can you expect them to take fraud seriously, or just give conference talks about it?

Because IAB is run by and for the Big Data intermediaries who make money from fraud, do legit advertisers and content sites need an independent organization?

How can improving privacy protections for users make online ads more valuable?

More: Adtech, privacy, fraud control: pick two?

Syndicated 2014-02-21 16:48:50 from Don Marti

Fun with Facebook ads?

I use to share blog posts and links with Facebook, through the magic of RSS. Every once in a while I go to the Facebook site to read comments on something that gatewayed there for me, but Facebook is not one of the places I check habitually (see How can I break the Facebook habit).

Most of the ads that I was getting to start with were for free-to-play NSFW games, so I changed my profile to "female". Jackpot! All of a sudden I started getting much more professional ads, including IT products and services for big companies, and training classes for online marketing skills (yes, including a Facebook ad for a class on how to advertise on Facebook). What I guess happened is that the more business-focused advertisers put in gender-neutral bids, and while I was "male" on the site, they got outbid by the game companies specifically targeting male users.

(Dudes, I highly recommend going "female" on Facebook if you haven't already, especially if you might be embarrased about people seeing too much décolletage in the ads when they walk by. So there's your personal infotainment tip for today.)

But what did I do? I had fixed a problem, so I broke it some more. I went ahead and stayed female, but increased my age to 88. Big mistake.

Now, I look at the ads, and I'm getting the bottom-feeders of the bottom-feeders. The above ad goes to a page that has nothing to do with a celebrity scandal. It's some kind of laser surgery racket. Oh well, the "dynamic corporate IT professional" ads that I had been getting as a younger woman were good while they lasted. I don't know if I'm now getting the low bidders who didn't want to pay more to reach younger users, or if some of these advertisers are targeting me.

Bob Hoffman points out that marketing ignores people over 50 but that's just legit marketing, from the kind of places that hire people like Bob Hoffman. All those ad spots that the big brands don't buy are still getting snapped up, and the result is pretty icky.

Syndicated 2014-02-13 15:33:45 from Don Marti

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