It is a bit creepy, Joanne. But I think consumers need to be aware and wary of companies like these. If companies don't have to ethical because they won't be caught red-handed, they won't be. I think there are very few companies out there that truly value their customers' privacy.
In reading Kim's post, I got to thinking of what stealth cookies and other "data collection" techniques used by comScore and others would be like in the "real" world. Let's see: They come into your home unannounced, while you're home, and collect data about you and your home, forever. You can ask them to leave, even escort them out the door, but like a guest who won't leave, they stay, forever. They don't physically steal anything, just take pictures, note your likes and preferences and record your habits as you come and go. A bit creepy, if you ask me.
The key to me, is full disclosure. If people are aware of comScore's presence, they should have the right to opt out. Better yet, like Nielson ratings, data collection companies should have to contact you and ask if they can record your every Web move in an Opt In process. Otherwise, it's breaking and entering.
Sometimes I think companies are getting as much data on folk as they possibly can before legislation puts an end to it. What they plan to do with that data, I'm not sure. Kind of like something being held for ransom. But in the event that tracking would be declared illegal, what would this info be worth?
Perhaps comScore really has some bad practices to answer for? I haven't read the full pleadings, but it might be interesting to try and find them. Just this morning, I received a news release promoting a company selling technology to pluck information from every visitor to your Website. Like it's obviously a good thing to be able to do.
Really, what respectable Internet company isn't involved in a big lawsuit these days?
Agreed, Kim, that not all tracking can be classed as really an invasion of privacy or "bad." If my data isn't associated with my name or other personally identifying information, but is used to beef up demographics, what do I care? And if ads can't be sold on the Internet, we're bound to see a lot of services and sites disappearing -- along with some key sources of revenue. All in the midst of an economy that's struggling for growth!
Final thought: comScore is a huge target for a class action suit. One wonders why no Adwords instead?
Kim, thank you, first of all, for taking this vblog seriously enough to go and record it on the scene at the trial. That's dedication!
This story is a great example of how little consumers are aware of, how much of their data is being tracked and shared with other companies. It should give people pause before they sign up for every free service... but it probably won't!
In the final episode of this series about the death of Internet anonymity, Saunders describes how the Internet of the future will start to attain a level of intelligence that requires no human intervention. Scary.
What can users today do to protect their online privacy? The simplest and most obvious option is to not use the Internet – at all. However, once all digital information is consolidated over the Internet, trying to protect digital identity by simply unplugging from the Internet becomes impossible – a fact that has manifest implications for civil liberties, Saunders says.
By 2011 the number of Internet-connected sensors will exceed 1 trillion, making your chances of doing anything or going anywhere unnoticed pretty much zero. Saunders talks about how the 'sensortization' of the Internet is eliminating the traditional divide between online and offline populations.
The 20th Century Internet was characterized by the ability to interact with other people and information on the Internet largely without anyone knowing who you were. The Internet of this century, conversely, will be defined by identity. Saunders explains how Internet users are unwittingly contributing to the demise of the anonymous Internet.
Edmunds separates customers into segments based on the info it collects on its site and from partners, and uses that to push out custom content, said Brian Baron, director of business analytics for Edmunds.com, at Predictive Analytics Innovation Summit.
The automotive website uses propensity modeling to target ads and customer registration forms, said Brian Baron, director of business analytics for Edmunds.com, at Predictive Analytics Innovation Summit.
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