Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Internet Creepiness

I can't believe just how... creepy the Internet is becoming. I didn't bat an eyelid when I had heard that a great deal of the content on the Internet was porn (more than 50% for the time - not sure if this still holds true). But it's getting even more .... intrusive. Take the following email:

I don't want to block them just because the people entering my details into whatever service (and that's one of the creepy things about this email) are actually people I'd like to keep in touch with.

But let's analyse that content for a second:

  • To find out what "service" this is sent from, you have to look at the header information.
  • X wants to follow you. If you're going to stalk me, put a little effort into it. Hide in the bushes or up a tree. Don't get a service doing it for you.
  • Is X your friend? - Well... yes. But this doesn't mean that I want to join up to some undisclosed service.
  • Look at the size of those buttons. A big bright orange "Yes" and a small "No". 
  • Once you've had a look at the header information, you can see that the email is sent from "". Going to that address in a browser results in a "Temporarily out of Service" notice (I checked it yesterday when I received the first of these emails - I've since received 3 more).
There are pages that are accessible and from those you can glean that the service is actually called "Flipora" - accessible via "". The email has no links that I can ascertain. So why the secrecy? Why not just say in the email that the email is about a service called Flipora? Why not use Flipora links rather than, which has no front facing page?

The service apparently keeps track of your "web memory". That is, it tracks you and stores that data. That information can then be used to recommend websites that you might be interested in. That sounds like targetted advertising to me. So why would anyone sign up to this? It's a bad idea dressed up as candy.

As for my own browsing habits: I generally have 20 or so tabs open at any one time. That in itself is enough to cause a bit of data overload. I go through each tab daily, decide if I'm ever going to get back to it or if I'm finished with it and close them. I don't use bookmarks because that list soon gets unwieldy and really, I never actually get back to bookmarks. They just kind of fester there.

I also sometimes just follow my curiosity - in which case, I can have tab after tab after tab opening all in a few short minutes. It's enough information that I can't keep track of it all. So, X person following me (that really sounds stalker'ish to me) is never going to be able to take it all in.

Google at least puts on a clean shirt before stalking you. This site... it just smells bad.

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