In an online world in which countless systems are trying to figure out what exactly you enjoy so they can serve you up advertising about it, it really fucks up their profiling mechanisms when they think you like everything. And to help you out with this approach, I recommend checking out the Chrome/Firefox extension AdNauseum. You won’t find it on the Chrome Web Store, however, as Google frowns at extensions that screw up Google’s efforts to show you advertising for some totally inexplicable reason. You’ll have to install it manually, but it’s worth it.
AdNauseum works on a different principle. As Lee McGuigan writes over at the MIT Technology Review:
“AdNauseam is like conventional ad-blocking software, but with an extra layer. Instead of just removing ads when the user browses a website, it also automatically clicks on them. By making it appear as if the user is interested in everything, AdNauseam makes it hard for observers to construct a profile of that person. It’s like jamming radar by flooding it with false signals. And it’s adjustable. Users can choose to trust privacy-respecting advertisers while jamming others. They can also choose whether to automatically click on all the ads on a given website or only some percentage of them.”
McGuigan goes on to describe the various experiments he worked on with AdNauseum founder Helen Nissenbaum, allegedly proving that the extension can make it past Google’s various checks for fraudulent or otherwise illegitimate clicks on advertising. Google, as you might expect, denies the experiments actually prove anything, and maintains that a “vast majority” of these kinds of clicks are detected and ignored.
Once you’ve installed AdNauseum, you’ll be presented with three simple options:
Feel free to enable all three, but heed AdNauseum’s warning: You probably don’t want to use the extension alongside another adblocker, as the two will conflict and you probably won’t see any added benefit.
As with most adblockers, there are plenty of options you can play with if you dig deeper into AdNauseum’s settings.
note that AdNauseum still (theoretically) generates revenue for the sites tracking you. That in itself might cause you to adopt a nuclear approach vs. an obfuscation-by-noise approach. Your call.