SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

March 7, 2014

Privacy – Rid calls/ads

Consumer complaints

Robocalls, online ads might be preventable

By Alina Tugend THE NEW YORK TIMES

With so much attention to digital overload — too much email, too many photos on Facebook, too many mindless tweets — some of life’s biggest annoyances are still analog, especially when people want to sell you things.

Unwanted telemarketing calls and too many ads chasing you online.

So, how to block the endless unwanted advertising that sneaks into homes through the telephone and computer? Here are some free options:

Automated calls: Nomorobo, a service that became available in October, seems to be succeeding where the Do Not Call Registry has not. It blocks sales robocalls, which are, for the most part, illegal whether your name is on the registry or not.

A few caveats: Nomorobo works with most phone-company carriers but not all, and it must use a Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, phone system. So, for example, it works with Verizon FiOS but not with regular Verizon service.

It is only for landlines, not cellphones. And an anti-virus system or corporate firewall might block it.

There is a backup in case a genuine call accidentally gets rerouted to Nomorobo. A recording says, “You have been identified as a robocaller” and asks the caller to type in a two-digit number. If done correctly, the caller is put through.

Online ads: What to do about targeted online ads or, as they are called in the industry, interest-based advertising? You know — when you buy boots from Zappos, and then Zappos ads for other boots or related items keep showing up online?

Some people like this kind of specific marketing, but others find it creepy or just irritating. The good news is, there’s a way to stop some of them.

  • Look for a small sideways turquoise triangle, usually in the upper right corner of the advertisement. Click on it. It will lead to a page explaining the tracking and how you can opt out.

The AdChoices icon was adopted by the Digital Advertising Alliance, a group of digital advertising trade organizations, in 2010 as a form of voluntary self-regulation in response to concerns about online privacy.

(My comment:  

Have recently been plagued by this incessant intrusion as I am online with everything and it’s frankly driving me crazy. . . thought I was losing it somehow.  Or that people I trusted and deal with are selling my information to all these people. . . .argh !. . .  So, I for one am glad I found this solution and I truly hope it works.  Check it out!    Jan)

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