Print 23 comment(s) - last by mindless1.. on Dec 4 at 8:44 PM

Jon Leibowitz  (Source: NYT)
Advertising industry says such a list would cause serious economic harm

The FTC has been closely listening to the privacy concerns of U.S. citizens that use the internet and is making some recommendations that will help improve privacy online.

The FTC advocated a plan this week that would allow consumers to “opt out” of whether or not they are monitored online by third parties that capture their surfing and buying habits. The FTC suggest a simple mechanism that would set up a "Do Not Track" list of users similar to the national Do Not Call registry that telemarketers are forced to follow.

New York Times reports that the FTC would probably need the help of congress to enact a Do Not Track list. The FTC will start for now with a proposal dubbed "privacy by design" that will require companies to build protections into business practices.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said, "Despite some good actors, self-regulation of privacy has not worked adequately and is not working adequately for American consumers. We’d like to see companies work a lot faster to make consumer choice easier."

He continued saying, "Our main concern is the sites and services that are connecting the dots between different times and places that a consumer is online and building a profile of what a consumer is doing."

The advertising industry supports some of the general proposals that the FTC is offering, but opposes the more strict parts of the proposal such as the Do Not Track list. Mike Zaneis from the Interactive Advertising Bureau said that such a list would cause the advertising industry "significant economic harm" if it is enacted. Zaneis said, "If your goal is to have a red flashing icon that says, ‘Click here to opt out of targeting,’ and to incentivize people to opt out, then we don’t share that goal."

Leibowitz said, "Most of us on the commission believe it is time for a ‘do not track’ mechanism."

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Unexpected consequences
By taisingera on 12/2/2010 2:51:02 PM , Rating: 3
This might sound good, but if the companies do make a bit of money from clicks and ads, and this is taken away, then the companies might raise prices on the users. More privacy but more expensive. I like how government wants to protect privacy of people from corporations, but govt wants to know and control everything about you and limit your privacy from them.

RE: Unexpected consequences
By invidious on 12/2/2010 3:00:45 PM , Rating: 3
This doesnt have anything to do with the government tracking the location and actions of its citizens.

This is about advertisers making and lists of certain geographic location, age, sex, race, esc and using that list to target ads at those people.

I don't think the advertisers are the problem here. The organizations that are selling your information to the advertisers are the problem. There will always be a demand for people's demographic information, if you want to stop the practice of unwanted targetted advertising you need to eliminate the supply. There needs to be a better business practice that establishes confidentiality between online customers and the professional websites they do business with.

RE: Unexpected consequences
By quiksilvr on 12/2/2010 3:11:17 PM , Rating: 1
But I feel companies like Google have done a good job in this respect. Yes they may "track" what you do, but they make sure that they don't know who "you" are. They just know you are a male in the early 20s that pitches a semi whenever someone says "24 inch LED monitor on sale for $149 with free shipping this weekend only" and...oh God...excuse me for a minute.

RE: Unexpected consequences
By djcameron on 12/2/2010 4:42:13 PM , Rating: 2
How do you know that Google doesn't know who you are? Lately I've been getting some snail mail ads and offers about things that I've only searched online (no, I didn't fill out anything, only searched).

RE: Unexpected consequences
By rvd2008 on 12/3/2010 1:12:51 AM , Rating: 2
Not only e-mail and searches. Google also knows your home and work ips and addresses too. They keep this info forever and you can't do anything about it.

Are they going to use this information against your interests? It depends which way they can make more money.

One scenario to capitalize would be to sell this info to your potential employer. Reading news during working areas? Shopping on CyberMonday? Or God forbid searching pron from your home pc? This could cost you a job.

RE: Unexpected consequences
By FITCamaro on 12/3/2010 2:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
Yes but without said information, advertising becomes less valuable. Thus they can't charge as much and somewhere else prices go up.

That said, all you have to do if you don't want to be tracked is be informed. There are plenty of browser addins that can block tracking cookies and the like.

RE: Unexpected consequences
By mindless1 on 12/4/2010 8:33:45 PM , Rating: 2
When advertising becomes less valuable, advertising agencies will either work harder, offering lower prices per ad, or simply generate less income.

Those paying the advertisers will then get more exposure from more ads per $, or pay less so with less operational expenses the product or service prices can go down, not up.

There is the counter argument that without targeted advertising you don't reach the right people. This I basically disagree with on the premise that online today's shoppers are savvy enough to go to a specific store or want a specific product, NOT just some random similar type of thing plastered on the page they were trying to read the content on.

RE: Unexpected consequences
By MrBlastman on 12/3/10, Rating: 0
Oh im sorry
By omnicronx on 12/2/2010 3:02:51 PM , Rating: 5
Mike Zaneis from the Interactive Advertising Bureau said that such a list would cause the advertising industry "significant economic harm" if it is enacted
I'm sorry, I didn't realize it was our jobs to keep your business afloat.. I also have doubts it would cause much harm outside of the advertising industry..(i.e economic harm is all relative, this is not the banking industry we are talking about)

If the advertising industry has been relying on essentially invading our privacy over the past x amount of years, thats nobodies problem but their own..

RE: Oh im sorry
By hr824 on 12/2/2010 3:08:41 PM , Rating: 2
Amen brother and I would like to add that the do not call list was the best thing the government has done in my lifetime not only is the quality of my life much better my blood pressure is much much lower.

RE: Oh im sorry
By MindParadox on 12/2/2010 4:37:55 PM , Rating: 2
i used to respond to telemarketers by telling them that i only conduct business at 3am in whatever timezone they are in, but that i would love to call them back :)

being an insomniac gives you wonderful options LOL

RE: Oh im sorry
By FITCamaro on 12/3/10, Rating: 0
RE: Oh im sorry
By mindless1 on 12/4/2010 8:44:26 PM , Rating: 4
It's not an assumption everything should be free, it's an assumption that you should have a reasonable expectation that information is not disclosed to 3rd parties about you unless you are clearly informed of what data is shared and with who... and not just in some follow-20-links-to-find-generic-disclosure page, I mean detailed specifics of the exact data shared and the company(s) and it's mission.

If you buy a widget from me on a street corner, in doing so did you give me permission to follow you around and tell other people where else you go, what you do, and when? I could claim I was able to sell you that widget at the price (Or free) because I sold this info, but did you automatically consent to a 3rd party having this info for whatever purpose they see fit? NO!

No, you only agreed to buy a widget. Implying that what they do is necessary is like me basing a widget company on a ulterior source of income derived from exploiting information I didn't put in detail in a purchase (or use) agreement presented at the time and place that the purchase or (even free) service was rendered.

Privacy is simple. It is whatever you choose not to reveal. It is implied that when you provide info it is only allowed to be used for the purpose upon which you provided it.

For example, when you hand your credit card to the cashier at a store, you don't give up the information to be given to anyone they want to give it to for their own profit, only for it to be used for your purchase.

Do pop-ads actually work?
By Smartless on 12/2/2010 2:40:21 PM , Rating: 2
I've always wondered what percentage of people actually buy anything from a pop-up ad. I mean, I'm sure clicks keep the ad-makers in business but do the clients actually get any real business?

RE: Do pop-ads actually work?
By smackababy on 12/2/2010 3:12:56 PM , Rating: 2
It is more of recognition I'd think. If I am going to buy some kind of product, the one most burned into my mind will be the one I buy. At least, that is the marketing mindset.

RE: Do pop-ads actually work?
By invidious on 12/2/2010 3:16:34 PM , Rating: 2
I think its more about brand recognition than it is about the actual clicks or sales resulting from the clicks. Think about commercials on TV, no one actually buys anything from the commercial, there is no link to the website. They just want to get their name out there and deliver some kind of message.

Built In Opt-Out
By DtTall on 12/2/2010 7:38:02 PM , Rating: 2
So long as advertisers are using only standard cookies, opting out is as simple as deleting your cookies or browsing "in-private" when you are online.

Better than getting the government involved would be to make it simple for people to change a setting in their browser that rejects or removes known advertising cookies. I'm sure there is an add-on for Firefox already, so just build it into the browser. One check-box and you're done.

RE: Built In Opt-Out
By dayanth on 12/2/2010 7:44:36 PM , Rating: 2
I use "No-Script" addon for Firefox. I don't let any advertisers use their ads to run anything in the browser that I don't want. So I don't get their cookie if I don't bother with their intrusion on my browsing.

RE: Built In Opt-Out
By FITCamaro on 12/3/2010 2:22:55 PM , Rating: 2
You can also use Ghostery.

Does not make sense
By Visual on 12/3/2010 3:18:56 AM , Rating: 2
This is just not defined well enough.

"Do not call" is simple and straightforward... there's no wiggle room and the person will obviously immediately know the violations.

"Do not track" is open to interpretation. Websites need to use cookies for normal operation, and that's not going to change. Anyone thinking otherwise is just delusional. That is still a form of "tracking" you, even though in more than 90% of the cases it is specific to that site only and does not link your identity to third party databases.

"Do not disclose user info to third-parties" is more like what should be mandated.

RE: Does not make sense
By Visual on 12/3/2010 3:27:31 AM , Rating: 2
Oh and yeah, I forgot to add that it could not possibly be one global list. One reason is that in order to look up some site-specific account against that list, you'll basically have to know who the account belongs to, which kinda seems to me like what we want to prevent. There are probably other reasons for it.

It has to be based on site-specific opt-in instead of a global opt-out.

By rika13 on 12/2/2010 5:57:09 PM , Rating: 2
government wants to keep up on WHO is asking to not track you

would be far easier to add a "don't track me" option to HTML5 or have a standard for NOT tracking via some checkbox option in the browser, probably defaulting to ON for noobs

By Dr of crap on 12/3/2010 10:36:05 AM , Rating: 2
You mean to say you read this and didn't bust out laughing?
This is rediculious!

Yea, check the "opt out of tracking" box, and sure the ad people will stay away from you. After all you checked the box. Is this for real? Do you really believe, first that the ad places will follow and second that it could be inforced in any way?

Maybe congress could pass a law just like the CALM act for TV ads! Ha,Ha,Ha,HA!

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