This morning while reading my feeds I had one of those moments while reading several feeds that i connected some possible dots and they where somewhat disturbing to me. One article I read was over on scobleizers blog about the Microsoft acquisition of aQuantive. And I read some other posts concerning google and dell whether they would be using some sort of spyware. Though this is disturbing, my take is that openDNS of course has some reasons to come forward with this, and I haven’t seen it confirmed yet on other sides. But if true Google and Dell should make sure that this is mended.
But this made me thinking, Google is already heavily in the advertising business and with the recent additions is entrenching even more heavily. But the nice thing of using a search engine is that you can easily use another one. If google is starting to use to much of my data, I’ll just search for another comparable engine and I’m off. These companies have a vested interest in obtaining as much user data of me as is possible, because they might be able to find patterns and provide me with targeted advertising.
As I never had heard of aQuantive i had a look at their website because i was curious about the company. As it seems to be build out of some other companies i had a glance and saw their Atlas company. And maybe this triggered me, I wasn’t sure yet, but it actually doesn’t matter really what triggered me. I saw the opportunity and it disturbed me. These companies live of gathering data about users. (just as google does) But what I found disturbing is that after the acquisition it could be possible that they would slowly push for some stuff in the Windows Operating System to start gathering user data (they already do this with your consent for instance with regards to msn to enhance the user experience..).
But what if they just start doing it. The OS can call home numerous times because for instance the WGA check, windows update and error reporting. It would be relatively easy to just sneak some user data in there which could be used to target users. They control the browser as well, so they could sneak stuff in there as well without the large mass of users knowing it, and you would definitely get some nice user data which you could then use to convince advertisers that they have the best data and hence it would make sense to advertise using their system….
The disturbing thought of course is that most users won’t be able to move away from this as is possible when moving away from the search engine. Only future will tell us whether they’ll do it. But I think it’s important to start keeping a sharp eye on both of them as competition increases.
Just a small post about politics, currently the new Dutch government is beiing created which consists of CDA, PVDA and CU. It’s regarded as a left – Christian coalition with CU needed to obtain the majority. Where CDA is moderate christian, consisting of all signatures, CU is somewhat more hard core Christian (though i doubt they will actually see it that manner). As you can understand I wasn’t really very happy about this coalition, left – christian and I could already see Creationists making happy dances around the curriculum for the average school.
But then the sun still started to shine. Ronald Plasterk was put in charge of the education department and lo behold he’s an atheist and has some very strong feelings about the story telling from the creationist. Just like Johan Cruyff said “every disadvantage has it’s advantage”.
Today i watched these two video’s as they showed up on my Google Reader:
For those who missed it, it’s about Atheism etc. nothing very special as we could anticipate that in those parts of the world where they are very religious, beiing an atheist is not the most popular. And this is regardless of the religion mind you!! I haven’t been aware of any religion that does not oppress religious minorities. Its something that comes along with the package I think. As there is no atheist country I know of I cannot comment whether a country full of atheists would do the same, but my gut feeling says it will be so as well. (primarily if the population is large enough its amount of people which tend to be narrow minded will increase as well)
Generally I tend to watch these kind of discussion as on CNN with a smile on my face, because in most cases these discussions always go along the same route with both sides having their arguments etc. etc. especially because these arguments surround around belief. Discussion can be fun to wathc, but I’ve never seen somebdy get converted to the other side unless force is used.
But this time i got somewhat upset, not because there where only believers having a discussion, but I got upset because of what Debbie Schlussel said. She was using the following reasoning “Because there are so many atheists in Europe, it’s becoming islamistic” and the same reasoning she uses on her blog post pointing out two occurences of atheists turning into muslim extremists.
What debbie seems to miss is that a true atheist would hardly fall for any of the God constructs whether they are jewish, christian or islamistic. Just like there are christians turning to other religions (and in most cases these converts are fanatics) so have some of the atheists turned into religious people. The underlying problem is the fanatics, whether they are christian, islamic, jewish, atheist or any other belief.
I’m glad I live in Europe where we tend to be a lot more moderate about religion, though we have a lot of trouble keeping the fanatics in pandorra’s box…… The item that was shown on CNN including the discussion was imho only polarizing and will only increase the stance of the fanatics and the people that will get hurt in the end will be the moderate people who just want to be a constructive part of society.
They’re finished, the Dutch elections. This will free us for some time of politicians in game shows, entertainment programs etc. And I’m glad of that. It seems that politics has moved on from substance to persons. People vote someone because he’s genuine and/or honest. And to be honest I totally resend that. It shouldn’t be about the person, but about the programan and reforms they’re proposing for some reason that’s gotten totally out of the picture.
I read a piece on Dave Winers blog about how the SP (Jan Marijnissen) won the elections because of his blog. To put it in perspective if you actually read parts of the blog he states on the blog that one day before the elections a whopping 24.000 visitors where there. I hope you get my sarcasm, though the internet played an interesting part in the elections, attributing it to Jan’s weblog is somewhat strange and far off from the mark. I once read an article about the manner the SP is organized and believe me, their organization structure and the enthousiasm of their members attributes a lot more to their success than the weblog. Mr. Marijnissen is seen by a lot of people as trusting and he had a lot of female voters…. Because he was perceived as a nice guy nobody actually attacked him very hard instead attacking Wouter Bos who lost a lot of credibility and of course votes…
I’ve only got one problem with current voting, I can never have it the way I like it, currently I’m voting for a party and I get the whole package, whether I like it or not…. And to be honest that really stinks. I would rather spend half an hour entering a questionaire on the internet with all relevant subjects and decide what I feel about a certain issue and how I feel this should be tackled in the coming period. An example I like is 21 minutes which is a questionaire about issues people think really count and how they respond to that. Then after the agenda has been set, I’m willing to vote for persons who should tackle this problem. Unfortunately this will never happen because the political parties wouldn’t really like it, it would be the end of their relevancy (which I personally don’t feel bad about at all). People would be chosen into parliament with the sole mandate of checking whether the people tackling the problems where doing their work according to the mandate of the people.
Now that would be a neat democracy…..