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The battle for the heart of the Internet: Advertisers vs Users

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The battle for control over the Internet has as many dimensions as “net neutrality” has meanings but most public debate focuses on what are non-issues to most users. Meanwhile those (a mix of convenience and confidence in authenticity, accuracy, reliability, resilience, security and privacy) which will make or break the survival of current on-line business models are rarely debated.

The problem is acute with regard to mobile users, who are paying for the extra time taken and therefore wanting to install blocking at a time when advertisers are wishing to use ever more intrusive and detailed bloatware to track location and usage and target their messages.

Then come the questions over the security or otherwise of the data collected by all those monitoring services and the responsibility of those collecting when, not just if, it is used to enable fraud and impersonation. Yesterday I attended an excellent briefing sessions on the current and emerging threats to on-line retail. I had not before realized how much more profitable (to criminals) it is to install ransomware than to go to the effort of stealing pass words or credit card data which may change as soon as the compromise is reported. Will the adware installers be held liable for the ransomware piggybacking on their services? Would clearer liability cause them to rethink their policies? One of my fears with regard to the Digital Economy and other measures is that they will, in practice, water down, rather than strengthen consumer protection.

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