back to article Unearthed emails could be smoking gun in epic GDPR battle: Google, adtech giants 'know they break Euro privacy law'

Privacy warriors have filed fresh evidence in their ongoing battle against real-time web ad exchange systems, which campaigners claim trample over Europe's data protection laws. The new filings – submitted today to regulators in the UK, Ireland, and Poland – allege that Google and industry body the Interactive Advertising …

  1. Shadow Systems Silver badge
    Alien

    Death to advertisers!

    It should be an instant death sentance for advertisers, advertising executives, "adtech" purveyers, & everyone in sales/marketing. No slap on the wrist, no life imprisonment, just fling the bodies into space & use the giant ocean of corpses as an anti meteor shield. They would finally become useful to Humanity that way.

    /Sarcasm?

    1. Ole Juul

      Re: Death to advertisers!

      If that question mark is because you're asking. I'd say no, it's not sarcasm.

    2. Oengus

      Re: Death to advertisers!

      Death to them, No, that is too fast and painless. Whatever punishment they get should be painful and drawn out without the promise of death to end their suffering. Make them suffer forever.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Death to advertisers!

        Death's too good for them.

    3. Twanky
      Pirate

      Re: Death to advertisers!

      Get yer angry mob supplies here!

      Buy two pitchforks and get a third absolutely free! (Offer subject to status. Terms and conditions apply. Participating outlets only).

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Death to advertisers!

        Wait. How do you know I was looking for a pitchfork...? What do you know about me and who did you learn it from!?!?"

      2. Someone Else Silver badge

        @Twanky -- Re: Death to advertisers!

        I don't recall opting-in to get that advertisement....

    4. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Death to advertisers!

      I'm no fan of adverts, but they do pay the bills for many, many websites including this one. So either we the readers pay a subscription, or elReg find some kind of sponsor, or the vulture will have to fly off into the sunset.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Death to advertisers!

        How about showing the same ads to everyone, like what happened in paper-based publications, with the ads targeted based on the content of the site. That actually made more money and delivered more relevant ads than the current system.

        It may be hard to believe, but 20+ years ago, people actually bought newspapers to read the ads.

        1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

          Re: Death to advertisers!

          The whole idea of personally targeted ads is beyond Congress critter levels of stupidity. What is the context of the information that selects the supposedly appropriate ad? The fundamental flaw is only the user actually knows, the rest of us are just navel gazing. If you went back to ads based on the site content you might get more clicks, less blocking, and more effective ads. All sites like their print ancestors have an audience with a certain demographic which has certain general collective interests. I can assume a regular on El Reg is someone interested in technology, so technology oriented ads would be appropriate. I would expect the emphasis of the ads be more towards professional than hobbyist interests given the site content.

          A good chunk of the ad budget is 'wasted' in the sense it does provoke and immediate sale but often it generates awareness that could lead to a sale later. If potential customers do not know of you how are they going become aware of you. That is one of the fundamental purposes of advertising, raising customer awareness.

        2. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Re: Death to advertisers!

          "20+ years ago, people actually bought newspapers to read the ads."

          Oi!! I never bought a newspaper to read the ads!

          Come to that, I never bought a newspaper - used to get them free from the tube station.

          Ah well.

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: Death to advertisers!

            In the days before Rightmove and E-Bay were invented, people bought newspapers to do those things.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Death to advertisers!

        I'm no fan of adverts, but they do pay the bills for many, many websites including this one

        Which is not a valid reason for invading everyones privacy and breaking GDPR. It's been known for quite a while that the ad-funded model is broken and in need of replacement.

        The trouble is, no-one seems to know what to do about it - subscription-based models are not popular (or easy to implement) and there doesn't seem to be a quick and easy replacement.

        It's worth noting that John Gruber's Daring Fireball (one of the few I've whitelisted) does do advertising but the advertisers are carefully selected and curated and he doesn't participate in the whole RTB debacle. But his way takes more work than most sites are prepared to put into the process - especially as RTB is pretty easy to implement with some advertiser-supplied scripting.

        Of course, the website generally has no visibility of what those scripts are actually doing but hey, out of sight and out of mind eh? As long as the money keeps flowing in..

      3. jglathe

        Re: Death to advertisers!

        I'm willing to pay a subscription.

        1. Phil Endecott Silver badge

          Re: Death to advertisers!

          > I'm willing to pay a subscription

          I’m more a fan of micropayments, per page viewed, like Prestel had decades ago. But somehow no-one has worked out how to do that on the web.

    5. mptBrain

      Re: Death to advertisers!

      Death? They need to be locked in a cell surrounded by screens and screens of ads selling advertisement 24/7 which include loud screaming audio inquiring if they want to make more money. When they click to mute an ad, two new windows will pop ¡under! Both which play different deafening crappy music in different keys. These ads will circumvent any adblock systems.

      1. stephajn

        Re: Death to advertisers!

        Black Mirror did that in an episode called Fifteen Million merits.

        If the advertisers look away, close their eyes, or try to plug their ears, the walls should turn an awful angry shade of hot pink and lime green alternating back and forth and an ear piercing squeal should be played at top volume just to prove the point.

        Either that or Vogon poetry?

    6. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Death to advertisers!

      yeah as fun as it is to point a finger and demand DEATH TO ADVERTISERS I think it's just the *EVIL* advertisers who deserve it... trackers in particular.

      (simple non-moving no-audio ads without tracking, scripting, web bugs, or other nefarious practices, are just fine with me. the rest need to be KILLED to DEATH by BURNING with FIRE)

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Death to advertisers!

      Before I got totally hacked off and started blocking ads (I think it was an autoplaying IBM ad on El Reg that was the last straw) I was always bemused by so called "targeted" ads. They were always for something I had already looked at. Showing an alternative product to one I had looked at would make sense, or a different store, but not the exact same product and store I had already looked at.

      "You looked for X on Kogan yesterday. Here is an ad for X at Kogan."

  2. Nattrash
    WTF?

    Sorry, can't do that...

    The email reveals Feehan lobbying commission staffers against proposals for a new ePrivacy Regulation – which was meant to come into force with GDPR but has been stuck in negotiations – saying it could “mean the end of the online advertising model.”

    The mind boggles... Their opinion seems to translate to:

    "Ma'am, get out of the vehicle and place your hands on the roof".

    "Sorry officer, can't do that."

    "..."

    "I know this might be difficult for you, but let me take you through it slowly, maybe you then understand. You know officer, the fact of the matter is, this is a high performance car. And on top of that, I just like driving fast. So for me it's technically, and might I add, genetically impossible to drive slower.. Hence, your law just can't, and doesn't apply to me. So sorry officer, no hands on the roof for you today."

    "..."

    "Maybe you can adapt your law so it will be more convenient for us both? Oh, and while you do that, removing those distracting speed limit signs might be a good idea? It's not that I'm not trying to work with you".

    "..."

    "Make it a win-win situation..?"

    1. David Nash Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Sorry, can't do that...

      Exactly.

      There seems to be an increasing tendency for users/inventors of new techniques to employ reasoning like "If we do X, it will be illegal, so the law must be changed" rather than "we can't do X because it's illegal".

      See also Uber vs. taxi registration and employment laws; AirB&B vs hotel regulations, etc. etc.

  3. chivo243 Silver badge

    Ads?

    Nip'em in the bud.... block'em at the gate, block'em at the browser, anywhere possible.

    I know where to find what I'm looking for, I don't need a roadmap. I don't want my bandwidth taken up by blathering ads, and I surely don't want some crap dropped on my computer because nobody knows how to secure ads or want to or so it would seem...

    1. Detective Emil
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Ads?

      Well, I let the ads on El Reg through. They often turn out to be for low-priced women's clothing. This is either because my other measures prevent the exchanges from knowing anything useful about me. Or because they know even more about me than I've yet realised myself.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Ads?

      in THIS case, the applications had 'infected' code within them that downloaded ads without the end user's knowledge in order to (apparently) prop up ad revenue. So ad blockers would not stop it.

      As for ads in general, just block script and 3rd party cookies, and let the non-scripty non-video non-audio ones just display as-is and you can just ignore them.

  4. m0rt Silver badge

    I understand advertising is necessary. We get free stuff from advertising - and that should be very clear.

    This linking of who/what I am, when it goes beyond a simple demographic, into very detailed information - now we are in a different land. So - my proposal is this:

    Create a portal that allows people to sign up to. This portal is the 'approved' portal that has nothing other than an ID. This ID can be linked to an account on a different system for payments.

    On this portal, lets call it M0rtal, (because ego), people can put as much detail on there as they wish. And then they can state what level of payment they require for access to said data, if at all (or the data just simply isn't given).

    Automated online advertising bodies then, if they want to offer targetted advertising based on the ID, can use it as long as they pay the target a fee that allows the data to be read.

    So - advertiser pays Automated advertising body, who also pays the target for seeing the advert.

    Complete control is always with the target. Payments also go to target.

    This is a rough draft, but it seems a sensible one. Advertising is here to stay. Sensible targetting advertising is fine. This 'we own you' attitude - that is not fine and is a little pyschopathic, if you ask me. This would be one solution that offers a way forward.

    M0rtal should be a nfp - but paid for by the ad giants with complete transparancy.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      "We get free stuff from advertising - and that should be very clear"

      True... BUT

      a) it is NOT clear exactly what we are giving away in exchange for the free stuff we get. Or rather, we are not (consciously / voluntarily) giving away anything, the information is being taken without our knowledge / consent

      b) there is no choice and no alternative offered. There are some (very limited) sites that are financed by subscriptions and pay-per-access instead of ads, but is anyone under the illusion that these sites do not also still harvest every bit of data they can? And can we be sure, whatever their assurances, that the data isn't being sold on, or, to use the industry euphemism "only shared with trusted partners"

      As to the 'm0rtal' concept... all well and good, but that also requires legislative framework that only allows ad networks to server ads based on informed opt-in, and makes absolutely illegal the current indiscriminate tracking of every movement happening on the web. Also the mechanism to pay users back for being advertised to is laudable, but introduces a link between actual person who's account needs to be credited with the 'advertising ID', a 'single failure' point that can be hacked and/or abused.

      1. m0rt Silver badge

        "As to the 'm0rtal' concept... all well and good, but that also requires legislative framework that only allows ad networks to server ads based on informed opt-in, and makes absolutely illegal the current indiscriminate tracking of every movement happening on the web. "

        Actually it doesn't require that - tracking will happen regardless of what the law states, rogue elements and all that, but the ad giants who *want* to use this will and any that are seen to not use something, assuming it took off, would do so to be seen to treating targets fairly.

        "Also the mechanism to pay users back for being advertised to is laudable, but introduces a link between actual person who's account needs to be credited with the 'advertising ID', a 'single failure' point that can be hacked and/or abused."

        Yep - this was why the ID was so important which was seperately linked to an account somehow. A single failure point could be mitigated if the ID itself was paid in a similar way to crypto currency - so only the holder of the ID could then create a one time payment reference to another account.

        The idea here being that there is something of a way forward. You can say 'all tracking is now illegal' and I hate advertising as much as anyone. BUt it isnt' going away. So why not work with it? Google get their income from advertising. A shit load of income. Their way of showing transparancy is also crap and GDPR is a direct result out of their attitude, as well as all the other players, both legit and rogue.

        So this way gives a path and allows targets to gain something from this also. Want to advertise to me? Then pay me to see the ads.

        It would be interesting to have a mechanism that tells you just how many advertisers have paid to send you adverts during a typical day online. If I earned, say a quid or two a day whilst on the web - then, why not?

        It also means that higher value targets also get a proportion of the more expensive adword amounts etc.

        It hits advertisers, and companies like google, where it hurts. Yes they offer a search facility, and made their name with it, but they also show me adverts in return for that. That is fine and their wont. But if they want to target me they can fooking well pay me some of their revenue. I would agree to that, if I could also just say - don't pay me anything, and you can't access my data as a result

        This is a concept - I think it is possible. Companies pay money for access to suiutably profiled targets. As well as being able to opt out, potential targets should also get some of that money. I mean, why not? Just because it hasn't happened yet in this field, doesn't mean to say it shouldn't.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      "people can put as much detail on there as they wish"

      There are already marketing-related web sites that offer discounts for stuff if you participate according to their rules, and so it's not a new idea. A lot of people would complete marketing surveys and allow their purchases to be tracked in order to get the discounts. But it should ALWAYS be voluntary, above board, and in compliance with laws SUCH AS the GDPR.

      And if they're being sneaky about it, they have something to hide.

    3. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: Informed Consent

      This m0rtal concept is all very well, but, as any caring advertising executive kno, ordinary people simply don't understand how important advertising is to their very lives, and will therefore be inclined to opt out. I mean, what if someone opts out and regrets it later when everyone else is talking about some fabulous advertising campaign, possibly involving fluffy kittens?

      Who are these "regulators", to deny the life fulfilling joys of wall to wall adverts to people just because they don't understand their need for them?

      I mean, back in the bad old days of non targeted TV advertising, some evil mastermind came up with a video recorder that could sense the ad start and close countdowns and actually PAUSE the recording during the delivery of these life saving messages. We soon nipped THAT one in the bud, I can tell you.

  5. LDS Silver badge
    Devil

    I'm very sorry for them...

    ... but if the law outlawed their business model, they have to change their business model. I'm sure that when slavery was outlawed, those in the business were badly impacted, and had to find a new revenue source. With time, they invented marketing, a new way to exploit people....

    1. RyokuMas Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: I'm very sorry for them...

      "With time, they invented marketing, a new way to exploit people...."

      I thought they just renamed it crunch time...

    2. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: I'm very sorry for them...

      very sorrry for them?

      1. seven of five

        Re: I'm very sorry for them...

        Yes, verrrry, verrry sorry. Almost as sad as being not allowed to ram glowing pokers up their collective arses until they see the light.

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: I'm very sorry for them...

      when slavery was outlawed, those in the business were badly impacted

      Which is why, when the British Parliament banned slavery, it voted a *lot* of money (for the time) to compensate former slave owners.

      Of course, the slave-owner population was from the same social and economic class as the parliamentarians so they had disproportionate influcence..

  6. jmch Silver badge

    Solution is clear

    "“As it is technically impossible for the user to have prior information about every data controller involved in a real-time bidding (RTB) scenario, programmatic trading, the area of fastest growth in digital advertising spend, would seem, at least prima facie, to be incompatible with consent under GDPR,” the IAB said."

    So the IAB are themselves in agreement that real-time bidding is incompatible with GDPR. The solution is simple - no more real-time bidding. And if IAB and it's members lose business as a result... well, where did I leave my violin? I often mislay it, it's really small, possibly the world's smallest

    1. Wade Burchette

      Re: Solution is clear

      How did websites make a profit before there was ad tracking and real-time bidding? They should static non-obtrusive ads that didn't annoy people. If it worked once, why can it not work again?

      1. ds6 Bronze badge

        Re: Solution is clear

        Or, hey, and this is a little crazy, a little daft—but what if websites were less about the clickbait and served actual content?

        Want to make money? Make good content that keeps people coming back, sell good services that people want. Let's see a return to the free market the Internet used to be, and every corporation not filled with scumbags will benefit. (Or so I hope.)

        Of course, if you live under the FCC, you still have to pay a monthly $3.99 subscription to visit that cool new site you just found, since you have a per-site Internet plan, and all you had on it was Twitter and a bunch of low-cost/free clickbait sites to stay up on the news...

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Solution is clear

        "static non-obtrusive ads that didn't annoy people"

        exactly!

  7. Milton Silver badge

    "Online advertising model"

    Not for the hundredth time, I really wonder whether the "online advertising model" is not a very big, fat emperor with very few clothes. The organisations grasping for a money will of course tell any and every lie to try to persuade marketurds to advertise: but how much of this is money hurled against a wall like so much shit (which, of course, it is), hoping some will stick?

    Maybe there are credulous children out there, believing the shabby advertising drivel, but does anyone else even notice this garbage any more?

    I really wonder if even a cent of every $100 and dollars was worth spending.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: "Online advertising model"

      "how much of this is money hurled against a wall like so much shit (which, of course, it is), hoping some will stick?

      Maybe there are credulous children out there, believing the shabby advertising drivel, but does anyone else even notice this garbage any more?"

      quite true... and yet... say you're a small business starting up and want to advertise your product or service, how do you get customers? People blank out ads in newspapers and magazines as much as the online ones... and let's face it, El Reg readership is much more likely to be blocking ads than the general population. Given how expensive print / TV ads are anyway, online per-click ads are still probably a good option.

      Sure, maybe you pay for 1000 clicks, 800 of them are fake and from the remaining 200, you get 1 or 2 people who are paying customers. That's still probably worth it from business point of view. Or as I once heard (paraphrasing here) "we know X% of marketing dollars are wasted, but we don't know which ones". In other words, business owners are prepared to pay for online ads even when they know that the vast majority of them are a waste.

      Personally I think it's better to go back to a model of targeted advertising based on site-specific content rather than individual targeting. eg advertise sportswear on a sports site, fashion accessories on fashion site, electronics on tech site etc. That provides a minimum of targeting without invasive tracking and privacy issues. And from the consumer side, what is needed is a combination of legal safeguards a la GDPR and technical solutions like 100% of browsers having inbuilt VPN / gateway system that exposes only the absolutely necessary information to the server and/or for anything else keeps changing externally visible identifiers and severely limits cookies so the server can't track users across sites / sessions etc

      1. Tromos

        Re: "Online advertising model"

        Advertising used to work extremely well in the pre-web days when people spent good money buying magazines such as 'Amateur Photographer' or 'Computer Shopper' or even 'Exchange & Mart'. These consisted of at least 75% advertising (100% in the case of E&M), yet many people keenly purchased every issue and lugged home the heavy tomes - Computer Shopper in particular often weighed more than a fully-specced gaming laptop. All this took place with absolutely no profiling, snooping, tracking, etc. In the case of TV advertising, once again, the targeting is broad and largely determined by the time of day the ad is to be shown.

        If advertisers would put their efforts towards making their adverts more interesting and less effort into trying to extract phone numbers, postcodes, email addresses and shoe size it would be a step in the right direction.

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: "Online advertising model"

      Attributed to John Wannamaker is the adage that half the advertising budget is wasted but no one can tell which half.

  8. DJV Silver badge

    "assuming the advert isn't blocked"

    Around here they are every time!

  9. JimmyPage Silver badge
    FAIL

    RE: I understand advertising is necessary.

    Actually it's the reverse. Advertising - by it's own definition - is unnecessary. It's all about stuff you don't need. In fact the higher the spend on advertising, the less you need it.

    1. trenchfoot

      Re: RE: I understand advertising is necessary.

      Generally with luxury goods, designer perfumes and so on at one end of the scale and things like commodity food and clothing at the other, that probably holds true. But I think a significant ad-spend occurs in lots of "essential-for-the-consumer" markets where the competition is just fierce and there is long term benefit in customer acquisition for the vendor.

      Look at mobile phones and telecom/ISP advertising (most of us would say those are pretty essential in this day and age) where the marketing spend is phenomenal. Insurance is probably another example.

      Doesn't mean I want to see those ads any more than other people's of course, and I block them all democratically.

      1. ds6 Bronze badge
        Coat

        Re: RE: I understand advertising is necessary.

        Democratic ad blocking?

        Does that make Google and the other big corps ad fascists?

    2. jmch Silver badge

      Re: RE: I understand advertising is necessary.

      "Advertising - by it's own definition - is unnecessary"

      It's unnecessary for the consumer in the sense that if consumer wants something they go get it and if they don't want something they won't. If a consumer wants more specific information or wants to find out options etc, that's what trade magazines/websites and comparison sites are for.

      On the other hand, advertising is absolutely necessary for businesses... not only giant businesses with multimillion-dollar ad budgets, but also for small businesses, tradesmen, startups etc. You can't always get by with word of mouth.

  10. trenchfoot

    https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock

    https://www.eff.org/privacybadger

    job done.

    1. ds6 Bronze badge

      I don't understand Privacy Badger when uMatrix exists. Block everything except first party images. If the site is worth it, enable things until it kinda works. Lists already block the majority of nasties to prevent enabling them accidentally.

      What is the benefit to throwing a badger in the bag? It'll probably just rip it up.

      1. ds6 Bronze badge

        Don't just vote me down, tell me why I'm wrong. I've never used Privacy Badger because I already block all third party content by default—meaning, Privacy Badger has no trackers to detect and is therefore mostly useless. I already have extensions and userscripts that remove link tracking too, which is a feature available for for some first party sites when using Privacy Badger. So I really don't see the benefit, and am legitimately curious why someone would prefer Privacy Badger over a more complete solution.

        I only enable what is needed for website functionality if I trust the source, and I never enable third party cookies. I have WebGL disabled, have heavily restricted my fingerprinting sources (which is of course in and of itself a fingerprintable metric but I'm no state level actor so I think I'll be fine), use a VPN most of the time and all the time for untrusted sources, and have good browsing habits.

        Allow me to reiterate in a way more obviously asking for advice: What else could Privacy Badger do for me that I don't already have?

  11. Alex Brett

    "and target ads at you for stuff you're previously shown an interest in" - not sure if this is just me, but I only ever seem to see ads for things I've just purchased, normally high value items where I'm not going to want another for some years, so they seem rather pointless...

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Absolutely!

      Last year I bought a new car and they required an email address. Now I get emails sent to me about further new cars I'm extremely unlikely to buy!

      1. imanidiot Silver badge
        Joke

        But you might be the sort of person that buys a new car every single year! How are they supposed to know you're poor?

  12. imanidiot Silver badge

    I don't mind advertising

    What I mind is 20 Mb blocks of code that I didn't request, that do things I don't want, share lots of unknown data with people I don't know and in general make page loading excruciatingly slow when it shouldn't be. There is no reason whatsoever for ANY webpage to be over a few Mb in size, yet I've encountered websites that try to shove over 50 Mb into my browser, only a quarter of which is actual content.

    When the amount of data traffic required for advertisements outstrips the actual information on the website something has gone wrong.

    Here's the advertisement model I propose:

    Website A has slots for advertising in it's design and would like some income. They go to ad broker B and tell it, they want X amount of ads of size Y and their target/normal audience Z. Ad broker B auctions X ads of size Y for audience Z to the highest bidder. Website A displays the winning ads for a set amount of time until the slots are auctioned again (change however often is required/desired).

    More than some very basic target audience information is not needed and more than some basic code to fetch whatever ad is required from broker B server is not required. Just simple, straightforward, fast loading images.

    Oh and for the love of god can we please just outright BAN any animated advertising? (And a death penalty for anyone that dares put an autoplay video or audio clip on their website!)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Knowing that I loathe ads & block them should in itself be valuable data to a company who makes something I may wish to buy. Leave me alone and I might buy your stuff - I certainly won't if you ram it down my Pi-Hole*

    *Best tenner I've ever spent. Ad free DNS server. Lovely.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to clean up

    This transaction, dubbed real-time bidding or RTB, happens automatically and immediately when an ad is required, and it can be fairly convoluted: ad slots may be passed through a tangle of publishers and exchanges before they arrive in a browser.

    There's an old adage in accountancy: where there's complexity there's fraud.

  15. w00dyj0hns0n

    I hate ads with a vengeance...

    On my PC's at home, I use Chrome with Adblock and I don't see ads when I'm browsing, thankfully. But, even when I do see ads, like on my phone (because the Android version of Adblock doesn't work as well?) the ads they show me still don't relate to anything that I'm interested in 90% of the time. It's like their algorithms to find my interests just don't work. But, it's still all for naught anyway because even when they do show something I might be interested in, like PC gaming, I've trained my mind to ignore them and simply not care. It's been at least 5 years since I've clicked on an ad banner, I'm not kidding. In my mind, every ad is garbage, full of poisonous lies, and/or infected with a virus. I just don't pay attention to them, at all.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: I hate ads with a vengeance...

      I don't click on ad-banners either, but some of them load malware on your computer even without you clicking on them. As some AC posted a bit above, I have a Pi-Hole, money very well spent. On top of that (the Pi had some unused resources), I have a recursive DNS server running as well, so no fear of poisoned DNS servers either any more.

  16. katrinab Silver badge

    One thing to remember

    You may think that we are the product that you sell to your advertiser customers, but the advertisers get the money from selling stuff to us, so actually, we are your customers, and your business model is selling all the bitcoin scams, fake illegal Sky streaming boxes and so on that are advertised here; and trying to sell subscriptions to heterosexual dating sites and baby/pregnancy related stuff to a lesbian.

    If you actually exercised some editorial control over the ads appearing here to ensure they were relevant products for a tech site, and they were products from trustworthy companies that actually work and get delivered, people would trust that being advertised on here actually means something and they would be much more likely to buy it. Right now, even if I see an ad from a company I’ve heard of and know is legitimate, I don’t know if it is actually that company who placed the ad, because I just don’t trust any ads I see on here alongside all the obvious scams. And anyone looking for a datefriend isn’t going to start their search here. Leave that market to more relevant publications.

  17. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Targetted ads

    So, just some context... I always block ads by default. I do however allow ads from sites that I use regularly such as El Reg.

    Just putting aside the insidious data issues behind them for a moment; the myth that targeted ads systems actually work as intended anyway is complete bollocks. As far as I can see, targeted ads only seem to be able to tell me what I have bought in the past, or are completely irrelevant. I think I've yet to see an ad that has been related to something that I have been actually browsing for, or has had the prescience to know what I want whilst I am browsing for it. Amazon seem particularly shit at this.

    I remember being on a scuba diving site once looking to book a holiday, and seeing ads being presented for kitchen white goods.

    Shit. Just shit.

    1. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Targetted ads

      "I remember being on a scuba diving site once looking to book a holiday, and seeing ads being presented for kitchen white goods."

      Well, (1) the site you are on is no longer of relevance to the ads that you see. The whole point of this discussion is that the ads are determined by information they have about you, rather than which site they are shown on; and (2) perhaps you are blocking tracking as far as possible, therefore they don't actually have much accurate information about you.

      You didn't actually say that you weren't interested in kitchen white goods by the way.

  18. Fading Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Fake profiles for advertisers......

    So how about a browser plug-in that allows you to create fake profiles/cookies/history for advertiser bots to scrape so that the adds served always net the site you are reading with the greatest income? Site wins by maximising income, we put one over the advertisers as all adverts will be irrelevant to us and anything tracked and profiled will be of no value?

    Volunteers?

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Fake profiles for advertisers......

      Would be even better if the ads were hidden from view but reported back as viewed for a sufficiently long period to count. Bonus points for fake clicks.

  19. M.V. Lipvig

    "And elsewhere in the 2017 document, the IAB said that, since third parties in adtech have “no link to the end-user [they] will be unable to collect consent.”

    That should be their problem as the ones who want access to my data, not my problem as the sole owner of my data. Anyone who thinks my data isn't mine, I invite you to show me any form or document I signed that gives anyone else ownership of my data.

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