US Government Might Legislate for an Internet 'Do Not Track'
There are a great many products and services available over the internet that are free, with well-known examples being Google for providing internet search, amongst other things and Facebook providing social networking, with both companies being number one in their fields.
However, these services are not really "free", as in no cost. The user pays in tracking information, generally achieved by using cookies, but other methods are used too. This can and sometimes has had a significant privacy cost to the user, especially when these companies collect too much personally identifiable information and then play fast and loose with it, often selling it on, while keeping quiet about it. The ensuing scandals have come to the attention of the US government which is unhappy about this and wants the industry to self-regulate with a common "do not track" policy.
This has been welcomed by privacy advocates, such as the Center for Digital Democracy, a non-profit active in policing privacy. Its executive director, Jeffrey Chester, had this to say about it, "We want to reduce the profile, the data footprint of citizens who increasingly spend a lot of time online today". However, the companies who make their money from this sort of data mining are unsurprisingly very unhappy about it and are pushing back against this hard, creating a stalemate between them and privacy groups. If this isn't resolved by year's end, then the US government is likely to create its own legislation to solve this problem for them, which may well not please either side.
Any clamp down on data collection deals a blow to their bottom lines. Targeting has almost tripled what brands pay websites to run ads, and companies like Google and Facebook rely heavily on advertising for the bulk of their revenue.
U.S. online ad revenue was just shy of $15 billion in the first half of 2011, 23 percent higher than the previous year.
Posted by | Tue, Jul 24, 2012 - 06:27 PM