Happy new year 2017, Adindustry

The world we’re living could be explained as some sort of derivative of democracy, mixed with a high dose of capitalism, sometimes called consumerism. In general, the democracy that we have is most often to choose between different brands, not so much actual liberty in form of actual choice. Most ironically, this is the typical joke that capitalists I know make about communism; you can have whatever you like, as long as you want what you’re allowed to have. The extremer capitalism we experience all the time, the one that posts as democracy, is more or less becoming exactly that.

Your choices are limited to a few brands, all working together in what is called a market place. This “market” is where companies wants to be number one but at the same time recognizing it’s better to keep their competition close (it’s better to fight the known than the unknown); thus making it easier to cooperate. Better a few winners, than lots of them. Winner does no longer take it all, long time winning is sharing as little as possible with someone with the same mindset and ideology.

The typical companies that masks themselves as democracy carriers while being extremely capitalistic are Google, Facebook and the likes. As long time readers of my blog know, I’m not very fond of them for obvious reasons. Earlier today (5th of january 2017) I got to hear that one of the more interesting digital art projects, AdNauseam, got banned from the Google Web Store. AdNauseam is essentially an adblocker that works in the opposite way of normal adblockers. Just as a firewall can decide to default be open but block certain things, it can also (in the spirit of china) do it the other way around; block all but allow certain things. AdNauseam is using this approach, instead of blocking the ads, it clicks them. All of then. But at the same time hiding the ads from being displayed for the end user.

The effects of such an approach is obvious. Companies trying to populate peoples minds with unwanted crap are instead ending up paying without reaching those people. A win for the end user who never asked for the ads to begin with, and a small fine for the company trying to breach that persons privacy. In book keeping terms, we could start account for this as actual cost for karma.

The company google, who for years had the slogan “don’t be evil” (but removed it after it became more and more obvious to everyone that they were in fact quite evil, so rather not bring evilness up), make most of their income from advertising. They are also great at capitalising from the idea of an open web, very often talking nicely about open software – and being the makers behind the web browser Chrome. Problem is though, when the ideal of openess, democracy, transparency and privacy clashes with the bottom line. Google is no stranger to this, as they’ve multiple times decided to rather be evil than to lose money, such as in the case of their efforts of becoming big in China.

That AdNauseam got blocked from Google means in effect that google is acting as a censor for what the end users of Chrome may be able to do. Just as in their operating system Android, which uses open standard and software to sync contacts, calenders etc, they’ve decided to not include any options for servers that are not google. This might be an “open” system, where you in theory could add this feature yourself – but it would be a huge effort for 99.999% of the users, it’s a sign of what capitalism thinks of open source and openess: it’s a sales pitch that is nice, but you don’t have to abide to the spirit of it.

That google choses the bottom line over individual liberties and should-have-rights is nothing new. It will happen again and again, and again. My pain is that 2017 is becoming a worse year than 2016 in terms of individual liberties, personal choice, freedoms and our ability to stop becoming affected by consumerist propaganda.