Online Privacy Showdown Looms

Nov 10, 2010 - Krux Digital - 0
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As the Krux crew catches its breath after a whirlwind couple of days, we also began catching up on our reading. This excellent NYT piece hit yesterday. While we have spent the last day or so talking about the publishers’ challenges highlighted in our 2010 Cross-Industry Study, it’s important that we not overlook the other important player at the data leakage table – the consumer. They – and their data – are the real crux of the matter (please, please pardon the phrasing).

The NYT illustrates the debate that’s raging and the showdown that’s looming:

“You simply can’t just turn off tracking,” said Mike Zaneis, a vice president at the Interactive Advertising Bureau. “That’s the way interconnected systems talk to each other.” Such a mechanism, he added, would be “troubling and difficult to implement at a technology level.”

Consumer advocates worry that the Commerce Department will look more after businesses than after consumers, perhaps undermining the ability of the trade commission to enforce the rules, whatever they turn out to be. The Commerce Department announced its intention to conduct its own privacy study in April, roughly six months after the trade commission began its project, leaving consumer advocates thinking that the two bureaucracies didn’t see eye to eye.

“The Commerce Department has never been a consumer advocacy agency,” said Edmund Mierzwinski, consumer program director for the United States Public Interest Research Group. “They generally take the view of protecting special interests.”

There is no shortage of opinion across the industry, nor any shortage of intellect. Let’s continue the healthy debate and come together for further data-driven explorations of industry challenges and, collectively, drive meaningful change. As stated in an earlier post, and as highlighted in the NYT piece, if we don’t fix these problems, someone else will surely fix them for us.

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