How Browser Extension AdNauseam Thwarts Google Ads

As tech firms proceed to seek out methods to study each private element of your life — no, Amazon does not want to build you a custom t-shirt out of the goodness of their hearts — some websites and plug-ins are looking for methods to confuse your knowledge overlords.

Over at MIT Technology Review, Lee McGuigan — an assistant professor within the Hussman Faculty of Journalism and Media on the College of North Carolina — highlights one strategy to struggle again with a browser extension known as AdNauseam.

Because the publication notes:

AdNauseam is like typical ad-blocking software program, however with an additional layer. As a substitute of simply eradicating advertisements when the person browses a web site, it additionally mechanically clicks on them. By making it seem as if the person is eager about all the things, AdNauseam makes it onerous for observers to assemble a profile of that particular person. It’s like jamming radar by flooding it with false indicators.

As nicely, AdNauseam is adjustable. You’ll be able to “select” to belief privacy-respecting advertisers and jam others, or select to mechanically click on on some or all the advertisements on a website.

By obfuscating collected knowledge, all of the person monitoring, focusing on and surveillance turn out to be futile, because the staff behind the extension suggests.

An experiment carried out by AdNauseam co-creator Helen Nissenbaum and McGuigan “established that AdNauseam does certainly work, more often than not.” And a larger-scale experiment involving use of Google’s AdSense gross sales service additionally proved that Google’s defenses “weren’t delicate to the kind of clicking conduct typical of AdNauseam use.”

In different phrases, for now, AdNauseam works … though the writer notes that Google doesn’t enable extensions of this kind of their Chrome Internet Retailer and the corporate is bound to seek out methods to dam or overcome any challenges put up by a small, free extension that undermines their enterprise.

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