Teen Privacy, Personally Identifiable and Online Predatory Marketing

Posted in privacy, Social networking sites, web 2.0 by coda on October 2, 2009

I want to be begin a series of posts as a way of brainstorming a possible article on Teen Privacy in the age of Web 2.0.

There is now growing evidence of the way social networking sites are being used by third parties to mine for information. Online tracking and behavioral targeting is not new. Inflection Point Media has some useful material on how companies mine data on the Internet.
Online behavioral advertising raises critical trust issues:
“Consumers are now more aware than ever that their browsing behavior is tracked for marketing purposes–and they’re not comfortable with it. The choice is clear: you can increase transparency about your behavioral targeting practices, or you can risk consumer doubt or suspicion if you don’t address the issue head-on.”

Truste conducted a 2009 study: Consumer Attitudes about Behavioral Targeting and its concludes that many consumers are taking steps to protect their online privacy. The Canadian Marketing Association did a similar study early this year and produced the following findings:

  • Seven in 10 Canadians (69%) are aware their browsing information may be collected for advertising purposes when they are online.
  • With the exception of cases where there is an existing relationship, most Canadian consumers feel online advertising is irrelevant to their needs — half (53%) indicate that fewer than one in 10 ads are relevant.
  • Canadians who consider online privacy to be a very important issue (58%) are not being driven by an underlying opposition to online advertising; indeed, they like seeing ads for coupons or promotions from companies they have dealt with before.
  • Most Canadians (79%) do not see the Internet as a well-regulated and safe place and many would like to have the means to ensure that they have choice and control over ads presented to them as a result of their web-browsing activity.

The subject of behavioral tracking has recently received the attention of the Internet Advertising Bureau. The IAB has taken the lead in collaborating with some of the major online behavioral advertising and marketing organisations. It has developed Good Practice Principles, a set of self-regulatory guidelines for companies that collect, record and use data for online behavioral profiling, marketing and advertising.

Further Reading

1. Summary: FTC Final Report on Behavioral Advertising
2. Firefox has a plugin for targeted advertising cookies:
3. FTC  Online Behavioral Advertising Principles
4. Meglena Kuneva, European Consumer Commissioner. Keynote Speech Roundtable on Online Data Collection, Targeting and Profiling Brussels, 31 March 2009
5. The IAB UK’s Good Practice Principles for Online Behavioural Advertising
6. A UK Guide to Online Behavioural Advertising and Online Privacy
7. CDT’s Guide to Behavioral Advertising
8. TRUSTe/TNS 2009 Study: Consumer Attitudes about Behavioral Targeting
9. A blog maintained by Andrew McStay
10. Information Commissioner’s Office, Review of the European Data Protection Directive (May 12, 2009)
10. Google’s Resource Page
11. Yahoo Advertising Page
12. Microsoft Privacy Resources
13. Audience Science Page
14. AOL Privacy Page
15. Randall C Picker, Online Advertising, Identity and Privacy on SSRN
16. B Szoka and A Thierer, A  Targeted Online Advertising: What’s the Harm & Where are We Heading? on SSRN