Matt Berlin via plug on 31 Mar 2021 10:00:11 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Yipes! Those Web Ads are KILLING Me!

Facebook and others are very good about putting 2 & 2 together.  On an Android phone (Google Services disabled, location off), while accessing Facebook through a browser (, it was able to add me to an ad category based upon the ambient music playing in a room.

Working back the logic, my best guess is that it was due to the presence of a FB friend in the room (location determined ONLY by shared WIFI access point), with all manner of apps installed/permissions granted.  The song was identified on their end, and I was tagged because I was their friend currently connected through the same access point.  (You're not the only one leaking your data)

I imagine a VPN on my end would have stopped this, but I'm not entirely sure...I might switch from TAP to TUN and test.  VPNs have a good use case, but IMO it's limited in scope.

It pays to keep your Facebook ad topics section clean to track data leakage such as this,

- Matt

On Wed, Mar 31, 2021 at 12:45 PM Rich Freeman via plug <> wrote:
On Wed, Mar 31, 2021 at 12:34 PM LeRoy Cressy via plug
<> wrote:
> I know that VPN's will not stop the ads, but the original complaint was about all of the personalized ads the original poster was receiving.  A VPN basically can hide your location from whoever.  You can be anywhere in the world.  Thus the personalized ads are basically gone.  Iptables is still good for blocking spammers and etc.

It would prevent personalization as a result of geolocation, but that
is about it.  Most of the personalization comes from correlating your
activity across sites.

Facebook still knows who you are if you have Facebook tracking cookies
on your browser, even if you use a VPN.  Amazon knows what you bought
and where you shipped it.  Google still knows what you searched for
and where your "home" address is if you use maps (and if not they
probably have a very good guess).  Hiding your IP isn't going to stop
any of that, and that is the bulk of personalization.

I do recommend VPNs, but don't think that it is going to eliminate the
bulk of personalized advertising.  The techniques behind that are
pretty robust - they already need to be able to work with partial
information in the best of circumstances.

I guess you could say that the internet recognizes privacy controls as
damage and routes around it.  After all, censorship and privacy
controls are basically the same thing - control over the spread of
information.  If you want to keep info from spreading on the internet
you have to work pretty hard at it...

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