Targeted advertising

I have an ad-blocker extension on my browser, another one specifically for YouTube ads, and run my own DNS server in The Cloud with a denylist of ad company IP addresses. I do not want to see ads online, ever, and have a special hatred for targeted ads, where a cabal of companies have conspired to strip me of my privacy to show me ads for things I do not want.

In Iceland, companies can buy access to the national registry, where they can look up names and addresses given a persons’ national ID number, which everyone here has. The information of car ownership is also public, so anyone can look up what national ID number is registered for a given license plate.

Any car in Iceland has to be inspected once a year to make sure it’s safe on the roads. The scheme for determining when a car must be inspected by is simple: it’s the month given by the last number in the car’s license plate (1 = January, 2 = February, …, 0 = October), or May if there is no last number. The inspections are done by private companies, of which there are a handful.

One enterprising such company has apparently put two and two together and started mailing special offers to people who own cars that are coming up for inspection. At least that’s my conclusion for why I received such an offer yesterday, personally addressed to me, in the beginning of the month in which my car is up for inspection.

And unlike online ads I’m somehow fine with this, because this is a service I needed anyway, and because I guess this was all done with publicly available information.

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