We are being tracked on the internet. That much we know. What we look at, what we buy, what we read… what we like on facebook, who we talk to, what pictures we post… This data is apparently then used to sell you things, personalise and target adds to your “lifestyle” and “Google and company” earn a lot of money from this scheme. If you were still not aware, despite all the information out there, get a grip: Yes, you are the product being sold…
Instead of being angry about it, I have tried to be imaginative and I came up with some low key, childish, but very satisfying ways to modestly try to mess up this harvesting of our personal information. I am relying on my friends who know something more about these technologies to let me know if these could work, but I had a lot of fun coming up with them, so enjoy:
- Browse random items on Amazon, that you would never buy but that look suspicious if viewed together – rope, plastic overalls and mask, big plastic garbage bags, a chainsaw (can you buy one on Amazon, I wonder?) or at least an electric knife, a few “perfect murder” books or books on forensic investigation methods… create the perfect wishlist.
- On Facebook, systematically like all of your friends’ pictures for a week, comment on everything and then next week – unlike everything, erase everything on your wall except a picture of your left toe and hunt down and erase all your comments (could take some time) – this will not only mess up entire conversations but will also possibly discourage people with annoying you with their cute baby photos and generally just make sure you don’t have any more FB friends (yes, you finally have time to get out of the house and make some real ones!).
- To confuse the face recognition softwares: You can try to post pictures of peaceful countryside or somebody else’s 1970s school album (you can find those pics online) or a bunch of cartoon characters while tagging your contacts in them. Upgrade by posting pics of celebrities and tagging your friends as Brad Pitt, Woody Allen, Sandra Bullock etc…
- On Youtube, search for Baby songs and leave on mute playing for hours in the background. Then go and search for all the songs by Ace of Base (yes, I am that generation). Finally, look at gardening and crochetting videos. Your You Tube Home page and suggestions page will be very creative next time you open it.
- Change the location on your Facebook account, then change it again after 1 hour, to a place where you couldn’t possibly get in 60 minutes, like Paris – Beijing – Dunkerque – Lima – Auckland-Addis Ababa… Do this several times a day.
- Where possible and where it does not serve a legitimate purpose for the website/service to ask you your date of birth, put a date of birth in the last 2 years or on the contrary 90-100 years back… (still possible but highly improbable).
Can you come up with more tips ? There is a comments section below, I am happy to learn :-).