Writing for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Alan Toner describes the current state of advertising on the web and criticizes Google for not just allowing but almost encouraging advertisers to surveil users on the web:
Ad quality needs to improve and advertisers must abandon any attempt to hijack our attention with disruptive audio, flashing animation, or screen takeovers. But this alone will not win back the trust of users alienated by an ad system run amok. Users should be given more control over the ads they are shown, and their Do Not Track demands must be honored. The web should be about opening up new possibilities both individually and collectively, but the feeling of being monitored can create unease that information about us could be misused or revealed without our permission. Since the Web has become central to human thought and communication, surveilling it without an opt-out is a fundamental intrusion into human cognition and conversation. Any plan to make ads “better” that lacks a core privacy component is fundamentally broken.