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The NY Times [nytimes.com] reports that at a two day conference held to discuss the state of advertising and consumer privacy, FTC commissioners expressed their intention of increasing oversight and rules over online advertising. Points of concern include online privacy, current opt-out policies, and behavioral targeting.
People should have dominion over their computers,” he said. “The current ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ in online tracking and profiling has to end.”
Commissioner Jon Leibowitz also stated that,
...rules about the privacy policies of Web sites may need to be established.
Elsewhere the NY Times reports [nytimes.com]:
It has been eight years since the F.T.C. has held a public workshop on the use of consumer data in online ads, and a lot of the hypothetical situations described then are now a widespread reality.
High on the agenda of privacy advocates at the conference is a do-no-track rule that also gives consumers the ability to view and edit their online advertising profile.
I'm an affiliate marketer so my concern is how they propose to deal with cookies which are very essential to properly crediting commissions and sales.
How about anything that relies on cookies for that matter?
Millions would blindly check the box without a care in the world.
Obviously that is an extreme and probably silly possibility but large companies and popular websites that provide a useful service/content that make money through advertising have a good bit of leverage themselves.
If you have the content or service people like, the majority of people could care less about the ads being shown, privacy policies, etc.
A vocal minority will strongly disagree but a minority it is.
There is nothing wrong with cookies. It is the consolidation of lot and lots of cookie data to form individual user trends that is the issue. It is the putting together of data (and the same with credit card transactions as I see) to yield a personal profile that is the problem.
My main concern is how legislators will almost assuredly misunderstand ad serving technologies and botch the regulations. There are so many reasons to 'track' a visitor's actions that are completely legitimate and in no way intrude on privacy. This whole deal has the potential to be the biggest setback that legitimate Internet businesses have ever faced. Well, in the US anyway.