I JUST GOOGLED “alarm dust,” “alibi sweatshirt,” and “sleuth intelligence.” Then I shopped for industrial dehydrators, scanned a Pinterest page for concrete decks, and read something about nuclear war.
The thing is, I’m not in the market for a new dehydrator. Concrete decks aren’t really my style, and I still have no idea what “alarm dust” is. I didn’t visit any of these web sites of my own volition—a website called Internet Noise did, all to obscure my real browsing habits in a fog of fake search history.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted to let internet service providers sell your browsing data on the open market. This decision angered a lot of people, including programmer Dan Schultz. After reading about the vote on Twitter at 1 AM, he turned off Zelda and coded this ghost currently opening tabs on my machine.
Internet Noise acts like a browser extension but is really just a website that auto-opens tabs based on random Google searches. Schultz isn’t a hacker but a concerned do-gooder trying to get Americans to understand how much their online privacy is at risk. “I cannot function in civil society in 2017 without an internet connection, and I have to go through an ISP to do that,” he says.