stories about: "nebuad"
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Apr 17th 2008 11:48pm
With growing concerns over companies like Phorm and NebuAd enabling ISPs to insert their own ads into your web surfing, some researchers decided to see if this is already happening -- and were surprised to find it more prevalent than they expected. It's still not a huge number, but in tests, they found that there definitely are some ISPs already using such technology to inject ads, though they tend to be smaller "no name" ISPs. The one big exception was XO Communications -- though XO claims that any ad injections must be done by downstream resellers of its wholesale service. Either way, this ought to raise some questions about what rights ISPs have to get in the middle and alter the data that you requested and which was served by a third party.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Dec 11th 2007 9:38am
from the privacy?-schmivacy dept
Earlier this year, we wrote about the fact that many ISPs were making good money selling your clickstream data to various companies for tracking purposes. Now there's a new advertising company that's come along to take advantage of this. The Associated Press has an article about NebuAd, a company that works with ISPs to use your clickstream data to better target advertisements to you. These aren't tracking cookies, which can easily be blocked, and depend on which websites you go to. This is your ISP, who has access to where you're surfing, using that data to insert more targeted ads. To its credit, the company has tried to be quite careful about keeping data private and setting it up in a way that it believes is impossible to trace the data back to an individual user. However, we've all heard stories about "anonymous" datasets that turn out to not be particularly anonymous. The company does also offer an "opt-out" solution, but how many people are even going to realize that their ISPs are a part of this program at all? It's also not entirely clear from the article where these ads are inserted, since most users spend little (if any) time on an ISPs own sites (however, some folks who have seen the ads suggest they appear... well... everywhere). While it's an extreme idea, just imagine an ISP combining this idea with something like what Rogers was caught doing in Canada (adding content to Google's page) and you could see how a greedy ISP might start putting its own, highly targeted, ads everywhere it wants, including places like Google's homepage. Hopefully, most ISPs recognize that this would lead to consumer outrage (and a lawsuit from Google), but would it be that much more complicated to be a bit more subtle and simply "replace" banner ads on certain sites without anyone really noticing? Yet another reason to encrypt all your traffic using a VPN or something to keep your ISP's prying eyes away from what you do.
by Dennis Yang
Wed, Sep 26th 2007 1:05pm
from the it's-just-your-privacy-don't-you-want-to-buy-some-stuff dept
In the past, when ISPs have attempted to make money off their users' clickstream data, they have met with fierce objections. Now, a new company, NebuAd is asking ISPs to provide not only clickstream data, but also your personal information such as physical location -- and they then want to use this data to target ads to you. But not to worry, your embarrassing halitosis problem won't outed by a traveling salesman selling mouthwash, since according to the company's CEO, "We only look at consumer sites - not ones that are sensitive. So if you go to a sex site, we don't track that. If you look up something for HIV positive, we don't look at that. But if you are planning travel to the South of France or are researching a Lexus SUV, we do track that." Uh yah, right. Ad companies always have the users' best interests in mind, don't they?