(Horning 2012) Advertising and the health of the Internet

Horning, Rob. Advertising and the health of the Internet [Internet]. New Inquiry. 2012 Mar 1. Available from: http://thenewinquiry.com/blogs/marginal-utility/advertising-and-the-health-of-the-internet/. Accessed 2012 Mar 3. Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/65uCPGWTX.

Horning responds to Alexis Madrigal’s “I’m being followed” article, criticizing Madrigal’s beliefs that advertising is essential to the health of the Internet and that the online advertising and tracking industry is entitled to an assumption of good faith:

There’s nothing necessarily sinister about the companies surveilling our behavior and concealing the extent of it except pretty much everything. There’s nothing not sinister about that, including the alibi generated through its association with our access to “free” content. That we think it’s free is indicative of our delusion: We are paying for it with personal information that may be used against us in perpetuity. The price is not free and not negotiable. The data-tracking system that has evolved as the internet has entrenched itself in society serves an involuntary system of micropayments. Madrigal’s exposure of it is a great service. It’s just unnerving that it’s linked to these apologies for it. “I wish there were more obvious villains in this story,” he laments. I may be naive, but the villains seem very obvious to me.


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