Floodwatch, are we advertising what we see?


By now, we are all sadly accustomed to advertising. Long before the culture of marketing developed a professional sector, advertising had already learned to live and to take shape within and through all types of known media. The dense shadow of information we now leave in our wake while surfing the net gives shape to a “manual of our personal interests”, a sort of ‘profile’ dictated by the web pages we visit. And online advertising is targeted to this profile. From a team made up of artists, designers, researchers and experts of privacy such as Ashkan Soltani (winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2014 for his coverage of the Snowden case), comes Floodwatch, a free extension for Google Chrome that tries to make transparent the hidden processes driving targeted advertising on the web. Overturning the concept of the “collection of personal interests”, Floodwatch gives us a catalogue of all the advertising that has been proposed during our browser session, allowing us to review ourselves through the eyes of advertising mechanisms and giving us a tool to try to understand the importance of online privacy. Floodwatch, which aims to develop more elaborate versions in future, allows you, the user to overlay your profile with other similar profiles and compare your data with those relating to your demographic area. But is it worth watching what remains of ourselves in the merciless and continuous grind of advertising mechanisms? Benedetta Sabatini


Floodwatch – You Are Not Your Browser History