Andrew Pollack's Blog

Technology, Family, Entertainment, Politics, and Random Noise

Personal Technology Defence - Not what you think

By Andrew Pollack on 08/05/2004 at 10:04 AM EDT

Personal Technology Defense - no, I'm not talking about defense technology, I'm talking about all the things you have to do to protect your own technology from the ways other people -- primarily advertisers -- want to use it to get to you.

It was just virus and trojan horse programs for a while, then annoying banner ads and flaming logos, tracking cookies followed and not long after spy software that installs itself on your computer and pops up ads right over other websites. I wrote about LL Bean filing suit against companies who paid to have their ads placed over the top of LL Bean's website by spyware programs in this earlier blog entry. Spam mail gets bigger and bigger, some say its approaching 80% of total electronic mail volume. Worms and trojan horse programs that take advantage of weaknesses in our software make day to day computing less and less productive. Even the software we buy advertises to us now. Barely a single screen in my Quickbooks software -- something I paid dearly for -- misses an opportunity to try to sell me an add-on service of one kind or another. Real Audio may as well be a virus, with Quicktime not far from that. On and on it goes.

But its not just your computer anymore either. On television, hardly 2 minutes ever go by that doesn't have an obvious and prominent product placement. We have tv style commercials in the movie theater -- when we've paid to be there. My kids video tapes and dvds have around 10 minutes of advertising stuck to the front of them. Watching sports on TV now, they superimpose logos and ads on the white spaces around the stadium and even onto the field. Athletes are being paid to get tattoos of logos so even that close up shot has a logo of some kind in it.

Now we're seeing the first stirrings of localized text messaging so that when you walk by an item it can bug you on your cell phone or blackberry. Add RFID tags to the mix, and every shelf in the grocery store will know what items you already purchased and be able to respond with related offers. Imagine your shopping cart suggesting alternative brands when you pick your cold medicine. Take that example into the personal care section of the drug store and start to imagine the annoyance.

With this ever-increasing advertising blitz, an entire new industry will be born. I call it "Personal Technology Defense" -- its already got its roots in the anti-spam, anti-spybot, anti-advertising software we use to protect our PC's but as an industry its only just beginning. My own first contribution is due shortly. I'm working on a whitepaper called "Take back your PC" for the end user community we all know. I'm using as a model target the guys on the fire department who bring me their spyware and virus infected computers to clean.

You can't just say "stop using IE and Outlook Express" to an end user. These programs are ubiquitous. I hope I can produce a how-to manual for getting there.

If you have contributions, please, email me or type them here.

There are  - loading -  comments....

It's the "Tragedy of the Commons"By Tiassa on 08/05/2004 at 10:55 AM EDT
All of the spam, spybot, addware crap are the computing world's version of the
Tragedy of the Commons (ie If I graze my cow on the commons my cow gets free
food -- if everybody grazes all their cows on the common no one gets anything
because the common is overgrazed). I think that spammers at least are going to
kill "generic" e-mail as we know it and you will see more people going to
private systems (or a system where public e-mail is relegated to a 2nd class
Sign me up for that manual, AndrewBy Rob McDonagh on 08/05/2004 at 11:57 AM EDT
Seriously, my Mom's PC gets trashed every month or so, and I can't seem to
explain the necessary paranoia well enough. I also need to get more agressive,
technically, and I will do that Real Soon Now, but I'd love to see a guide to
computing defense written for the average Joe or Jane.

As for contributions, are you aware of this blog about spyware:

If not, check it out - there's some good information there.
great ideaBy Bruce Perry on 08/05/2004 at 11:31 PM EDT
I look forward to see your suggestions.


Other Recent Stories...

  1. 01/26/2023Better Running VirtualBox or VMWARE Virtual Machines on Windows 10+ Forgive me, Reader, for I have sinned. I has been nearly 3 years since my last blog entry. The truth is, I haven't had much to say that was worthy of more than a basic social media post -- until today. For my current work, I was assigned a new laptop. It's a real powerhouse machine with 14 processor cores and 64 gigs of ram. It should be perfect for running my development environment in a virtual machine, but it wasn't. VirtualBox was barely starting, and no matter how many features I turned off, it could ...... 
  2. 04/04/2020How many Ventilators for the price of those tanks the Pentagon didn't even want?This goes WAY beyond Trump or Obama. This is decades of poor planning and poor use of funds. Certainly it should have been addressed in the Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Reagan administrations -- all of which were well aware of the implications of a pandemic. I want a military prepared to help us, not just hurt other people. As an American I expect that with the ridiculous funding of our military might, we are prepared for damn near everything. Not just killing people and breaking things, but ...... 
  3. 01/28/2020Copyright Troll WarningThere's a copyright troll firm that has automated reverse-image searches and goes around looking for any posted images that they can make a quick copyright claim on. This is not quite a scam because it's technically legal, but it's run very much like a scam. This company works with a few "clients" that have vast repositories of copyrighted images. The trolls do a reverse web search on those images looking for hits. When they find one on a site that looks like someone they can scare, they work it like ...... 
  4. 03/26/2019Undestanding how OAUTH scopes will bring the concept of APPS to your Domino server 
  5. 02/05/2019Toro Yard Equipment - Not really a premium brand as far as I am concerned 
  6. 10/08/2018Will you be at the NYC Launch Event for HCL Domino v10 -- Find me! 
  7. 09/04/2018With two big projects on hold, I suddenly find myself very available for new short and long term projects.  
  8. 07/13/2018Who is HCL and why is it a good thing that they are now the ones behind Notes and Domino? 
  9. 03/21/2018Domino Apps on IOS is a Game Changer. Quit holding back. 
  10. 02/15/2018Andrew’s Proposed Gun Laws 
Click here for more articles.....

pen icon Comment Entry
Your Name
*Your Email
* Your email address is required, but not displayed.
Your thoughts....
Remember Me  

Please wait while your document is saved.