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Google Advertising Privacy Your Rights Online

Google Lets Advertisers Target By (Anonymized) Customer Data 58

An anonymous reader writes: Google's new advertising product, called Customer Match, lets advertisers upload their customer and promotional email address lists into AdWords. The new targeting capability extends beyond search to include both YouTube Trueview ads and the newly launched native ads in Gmail. Customer Match marks the first time Google has allowed advertisers to target ads against customer-owned data in Adwords. Google matches the email addresses against those of signed-in users on Google. Individual addresses are hashed and are supposedly anonymized. Advertisers will be able to set bids and create ads specifically geared to audiences built from their email lists. This new functionality seems to make de-anonymization of google's supposedly proprietary customer data just a hop, skip and jump away. If you can specify the list of addresses that get served an ad, and the criteria like what search terms will trigger that ad, you can detect if and when your target searches for specific terms. For example, create an email list that contains your target and 100 invalid email addresses that no one uses (just in case google gets wise to single-entry email lists). Repeat as necessary for as many keywords and as many email addresses that you wish to monitor.
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Google Lets Advertisers Target By (Anonymized) Customer Data

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Something about evil?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by davester666 ( 731373 )

      Sorry, now it's "Do the right thing."

      Of course, this is even more ambiguous than the previous one. I, for one, have no desire for the 'right thing' to be done to me, if an MBA is the one deciding it.

      • Sorry, now it's "Do the right thing."

        Of course, this is even more ambiguous than the previous one. I, for one, have no desire for the 'right thing' to be done to me, if an MBA is the one deciding it.

        No it isn't the last motto "don't be evil" let them be chaotic neutral. With this they are stuck in the lawful alignment or possible the good alignments, depending on the relative alignment of the person interpreting it.

        old motto
        lg ng cg
        ln tn cn
        le ne ce

        new motto
        lg ng cg
        ln tn cn
        le ne ce

  • Sanitized data (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday October 05, 2015 @03:02AM (#50659789) Journal
    I've seen some sanitized data that censored the name, but included the gender, age and address.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Might as well cut out the middle-man and go to the source.

    The submission is a cut-n-paste sans formatting from a soylent news story. [soylentnews.org] You can tell its been lifted from Soylent because the third paragraph was written by myself for the soylent submission and exists no where else on the web (yet).

  • EU Privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05, 2015 @04:22AM (#50659983)

    EU needs to get off its ass and tackle Google.

    Shops giving a HASH of the email address knowing Google can match it to a hash of the list of email addresses it collected by Android, is linkage. It's no anonymized, its simply passed as a hash.
    *Linkage* of data by hashing is data. Unnecessary linkage of data beyond needed for a transaction is even spelled out as a no-no.

    At what fucking point, are you EU lot going to protect EU Privacy rights? You handed over our fooking banking data to a foreign power, you did nothing when they tapped out networks, get off your ass and enforce the few rights EU citizens have.

    • Re:EU Privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Epsillon ( 608775 ) on Monday October 05, 2015 @06:17AM (#50660211) Journal
      Shops giving a HASH of the email address knowing Google can match it to a hash of the list of email addresses it collected by Android, is linkage. It's no anonymized, its simply passed as a hash.

      This. Anonymised would be one-way, non reversible obfuscation of the source's identity. This is just pure sophistry foisted upon us simply because the vast majority of people this affects can't tell the bloody difference.
    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      EU needs to get off its ass and tackle Google.

      How is this Google's fault? Why aren't you having the EU tackle all the companies that would be sharing their data with Google in the first place? Seems like you're attacking the side affect and not the actual problem.

  • by transporter_ii ( 986545 ) on Monday October 05, 2015 @08:04AM (#50660463) Homepage

    Alphabet got rid of "Don't Be Evil." So now they can carry on with a clear conscience.

    And funny, I have always had a hard time remembering how to spell conscience, so I had to look it up on Google. :)

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      Well, now we know what "The Right Thing" is.

      (the new motto is "Do the Right Thing".

  • Isn't it like the ads will be served to those only who will be interested?
  • From the announcement [blogspot.ca]:

    Users can control the ads they see, including Customer Match ads, by opting out of personalized ads or by muting or blocking ads from individual advertisers through Google Ads Settings.

    Opt-out rather than opt-in sucks, and it does appear that my browser settings were independent of my Android Google Settings, but the option is there.

    I'm ad blocking, so in theory my account ad settings are irrelevant, but belt and suspenders, etc.

    • Users can control the ads they see, including Customer Match ads, by opting out of personalized ads or by muting or blocking ads from individual advertisers through Google Ads Settings.

      If I could "control the ads" I see through their settings, I wouldn't see any. I'm guessing that "see no ads" isn't one of the settings.

      • by c ( 8461 )

        I'm guessing that "see no ads" isn't one of the settings.

        It is. On Android, it's the "Unknown Sources" toggle under the Security settings area. Then you install an ad blocker.

        They could have made that a little easier to get at, mind you...

  • Yippee! More advertising!

    Gosh, I can hardly wait for this new round of advertising to kick in; I just haven't seen enough ads lately and this will be a refreshing blast of pure consumeristic happiness.

    I suppose it could theoretically mean fewer ads if they're really targeted, but as we all know, that ain't gonna happen.

    All hail our targeted advertising overlords, kneel before Zod, puny consumer!

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