Don't Track Me, Bro

There’s a bit of a to-do, in the nerdy world, about the Do Not Track setting in browsers and whether it should be on or off by default and what it should even mean if it’s on. Various privacy experts are fighting to keep us safe from marketers who want to track our every move and purchase. The danger, of course, is that once those marketers have all that information about us, they will be able to construct ads that are so specifically targeted at us each individually that we will be powerless against them and compelled to buy new products. I think this is, in the abstract, an important issue. Slippery slopes and privacy and all that. But the reason I don’t get too worked up about it is this. Merlin Mann’s bank, who knows every single dollar he spends, can’t figure out how to market to him. Gmail is always showing me completely ridiculous ads based on jokes my friends and I are sharing via email. If it ever looks like these guys are at all competent, I’ll start to get really worried. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy some Chinese real estate that, for some reason, I suddenly feel it’s necessary for me to invest in.