File this under, please send the icon-based scheme back to rewrite! [our emphasis]
Excerpt via clickz.com:Â excerpt:Â The online ad industry’s self-regulatory program could allow some companies to continue tracking consumers even when they’ve opted out through the system…As it exists currently, the self-regulatory program overseen by the alliance allows consumers to opt out from data collection and use for behavioral advertising, explained Stu Ingis, a partner at Venable, a law firm working with the industry coalition. If data is only being collected for behavioral advertising, it will no longer be collected from those who opt out using the program. However, when companies involved with the program also use data for additional purposes such as analytics, they may continue tracking and collecting data from people who have opted out through the program – even though those who have opted-out will no longer receive behaviorally targeted ads.
There’s a “Great Digital Game” going on, where companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and leading ad agencies compete to expand the clout of online marketing around the globe.Â As I told EU and other privacy regulators last Friday, the Obama Administration is being pressed by US online marketers to forge trade deals that will allow the leading companies to conduct business in theÂ Asia-Pacific and EU region without worrying about serious privacy and consumer protection rules.Â I do think it’s ironic–and really misleading–to point to online marketing as a U.S. economic success story that requires special treatment.Â The revenues generated by Google, Facebook and the others are principally from advertising.Â Whether they are truly models of innovation that will bring the kind of sustainable long-term job and economic growth we need is questionable.
At the core of the “Great Digital Game”–where U.S. companies strive to dominate the global interactive ad marketplace–is data collection for user targeting.Â Microsoft, which has a principal online ad research facility in Beijing, was recently seeking a Senior Data Mining Analyst.Â Read this excerpt from the job description and think about privacy, civil liberties in China and other autocratic regimes, consumer protection and the ethical role of U.S. online ad companies:Â “Microsoft Ad Platform China is building world-class engineering teams in Beijing, focusing on online Ads related systems and services such as behavior targeting and advertiser analytics. The team partner closely with the Redmond Ad Platform team, enabling the discovery and inference of user profiles, intent and interaction while respecting privacy and trust, with the ultimate goal of maximizing benefits for users, advertisers and publishers…Core Job Responsibilities: Conduct and manage applied research and modeling work in the areas of user segmentation, profiling, and targeting. Research and experiment on data mining algorithms for user segmentation and dynamic segment expansion. Utilize data mining technologies and use various data sources, some of which may include MSN/Windows Live web usage, search query, demographic, subscription, and 3rd party data, to gain insight into Internet user behavior and intent that will set the foundation for Microsoft targeting offerings and data services. Provide complete solutions to business problems using data mining techniques, statistics and data analysis. Serve as subject matter expert and drive thought leadership in the areas of user profiling, ad targeting, and personalization for Microsoft online services.”
As USPIRG and CDD told the FTC last month, the growing integration of first and third party data for consumer targeting requires a uniform approach to protect privacy.Â Entangling a consumer via a host of outside third-party databases used for stealth profiling and targeting is unacceptable–especially when used for financial and health marketing, or targeting youth.Â Adobe, for example, just announced that it’s “Online Marketing Suite” now incorporates “a wide range of third-party data from providers such as Acxiom (demographics, segmentation and buying behavior), Bizo (business demographics), DataLogix (buying behavior and purchase intent), eXelate (demographics, buying behavior and purchase intent) and TARGUSinfoâ€™s AdAdvisor (demographics, brand preferences, product needs and CRM data).”Â Adobe also is “partnering with DataXu, InviteMedia, MediaMath and Turn to provide customers with the means to act on valuable audience data. Publishers can deliver larger audiences to advertisers by combining their own ad inventory with inventory acquired through the use of DSP partners.”
Both the Congress, the FTC and the European Commission have to address the growing merging of first and third party data that occurs without a users awareness or informed consent.Â Meanwhile, ad agencies such as Omnicom have created their own data tracking and targeting services.Â One executive recently noted that “Thereâ€™s been increasing momentum in the use of third-party data. It’s a critical element of our stack – to use the right third-party audience intelligence data both for targeting and sometimes more importantly for audience insights post impression delivery. I don’t know the exact percentage, but I would say there are a significant percentage of our impressions that are bought with some form of third party data.“
[First in a series based on our FTC filing from 18 Feb.Â Excerpt]:
Consumers should be accorded the same kind of user opt-in control on first-party and third-party sites alike. First-party sites, it is clear, engage in a wide range of data collection and targeting approaches unknown even to their regular visitors, and user consent for these practices should be required. In addition, as first-party publishers increasingly engage in forms of data sales and sharing for the purposes of consumer tracking and targeting, the distinctions between first and third parties are eroding. â€¦Turn, for example, operates a â€œdata-drivenâ€ ad-targeting platform that â€œcrunches 2000+ behavioral, contextual, inventory, and ad selection variables within 25 millisecondsâ€¦ all to determine the right ad, right time, right price, and right audience.â€Â â€œTurn operates one of the largest marketing platforms on the Internetâ€¦ ranked 6th in US audience reach, just behind companies like Googleâ€¦.â€ Â A recent research paper by TURN discusses how its â€œdata mining solution enables marketers to cost-effectively identify interactions and variables of thousands of data points. It also allows them to look at the entire user profile at the time of impression receipt and do a thorough analysis of the impact of all the variables on a campaign (including latent variables which go beyond the audience segmentation and are often times overlooked).â€ Â Turn explains that its â€œsecret sauceâ€ is a â€œscalable infrastructure [that] enables us to read an individual userâ€™s data profile from among hundreds of millions of profiles within a very small time frame, generally 2 or 3 milliseconds. And, we do this over 100,000 times a second (8+ billion times a day).â€ â€¦
Excerpts from AOL’s Advertising.com “Adlearn” system and its experts:
*The sheer size and scale of AOL makes us a powerful data warehouse. We have massive amounts of data and raw ad serving logs coming from the AOL Advertising organization (including Advertising.com, ADTECH, behavioral and contextual logs, etc.). Our systems are processing five billion transactions (clicks, conversions, etc.) per second.
*access to inventory, data and analytics is going to become fairly liquid in the marketplace. This will lead to automation advancements in platforms and media planning tools that advertisers leverage to place campaigns…Automation will also impact the publishing side of the equation. Content will be created based on demand by users, and advertisers will align themselves with that content as it is created…Every impression in the future will be data-driven â€“ we wonâ€™t serve run-of-network campaigns any longer. You will know something about the user before you serve an ad and every creative will be dynamically-generated.
Survey-based Targeting (MRI/Household Propensity): Target users within households that demonstrate the highest propensity to use certain products or services as indicated by MRI consumer survey panel data matched to Mosaic Household Lifestyle Clusters.
Purchase-based Targeting (IRI/Household Propensity): Target users within households that demonstrate the highest propensity to buy certain products as indicated by IRI consumer purchase panel data matched to Mosaic Household Lifestyle Clusters.
Offline Consumer Model Targeting (Experian eAddressable Audiences): Target users within households using Experianâ€™s statistical modeling based on hundreds of offline data elements that are most predictive for defining the specific audience of consumers.
Custom Database Match: Target users within households that are both the advertiserâ€™s best prospects and AOL media consumers with offline database matching.
Mosaic Household Lifestyle Cluster: Target users within households that are categorized by Experianâ€™s 60 Mosaic lifestyle consumer segments.
For Immediate Release:Â Feb. 18, 2011
Child, Health and Consumer Advocates Ask FTC for Teen Privacy Protections, including Do-Not-Track and No Behavioral Targeting
Today a Coalition of Child, Health and Consumer Advocates filed comments on the Federal Trade Commissionâ€™s proposed privacy framework asking for increased privacy protections for adolescents.Â Â The coalition includes leading advocates such as the Center for Digital Democracy, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Pediatrics, Children Now, and the Consumer Federation of America.
Privacy protections are needed as teens are increasingly subjected to privacy invasions online. Teens are using new media technologies for key social interactions and to explore their identities. This increased use of digital media subjects them to wholesale data collection and profiling of even their most intimate interactions with friends, family, and schools. Meanwhile, recent research in psychology and neuroscience reveals that teens are more prone to risky behavior when their anxieties and peer relations are exploited. Privacy protections are needed to keep the online world social and safe.
Companies should not use data to behaviorally profile teens. The framework should also provide enhanced choice for adolescents, including a Do Not Track feature. In implementing â€œprivacy by design,â€ companies should consider the needs and vulnerabilities of teens.Â They should address those vulnerabilities by, for example, minimizing the amount of data collected from teens.Â Data that is collected should be retained for only short periods and should be afforded greater security.
â€œTeens live online today,â€ said Guilherme Roschke, attorney for CDD. â€œThis time of development and maturation requires privacy protections. Teens cannot go it alone against the vast data collection and profiling infrastructure of new media technologies that not even adults can understand.â€
â€œBecause of their avid use of new media, adolescents are primary targets for digital marketing,â€ explained co-signer Kathryn C. Montgomery, Ph.D. â€œThe unprecedented ability of digital technologies to track and profile individuals across the media landscape, and to engage in sophisticated forms of targeting, puts these young people at special risk of compromising their privacy.â€
The full coalition includes:
Center for Digital Democracy, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Pediatrics, Berkeley Media Studies Group, a project of the Public Health Institute, Children Now, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Watchdog, David VB Britt, Retired CEO, Sesame Workshop, Ellen Wartella, Kathryn Montgomery, National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity, a project of Public Health Law & Policy, The Praxis Project, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Public Good, Public Health Institute, Tamara R. Piety, and World Privacy Forum
Staff Attorney / Fellow
Institute for Public Representation
First Amendment and Media Center
Georgetown University Law Center
NTIA is also getting into the privacy discussions.
Itâ€™s part of the larger Internet Policy Task Force thatâ€™s underway here at Commerce where our agency — along with other agencies — is looking at a number of Internet policy issues. Privacy is first and foremost on the list, but weâ€™re also looking at the protection of intellectual property, cybersecurity, and weâ€™ll be looking at the free flow of information. For Commerce, our theme links all these topics around the notion of innovation, preserving the job creation and business expansion aspects of the Internet and trying to protect that going forward. So in the area of privacy, the task force did issue the green paper late last year. Comments just came in on that, so people are starting to work their way through them, with the goal that weâ€™ll take the green paper and turn it into a more final pronouncement of the Department of Commerce or perhaps even the administrationâ€™s policy on privacy later this spring.
Do you think there should be a government office specifically dedicated to privacy?
We certainly believe that if weâ€™re going to move forward with these voluntary enforceable codes of conduct with the industry that the function of convening and organizing that process should sit [in the government]. Our believe is that the Department of Commerce, and in particular NTIA, is the appropriate place for that function to reside. When we start talking about offices that sounds more bureaucratic and maybe requires departmental administrative orders. But on the issue of making sure that function is done, yes, based on what we see in the comments, we think thatâ€™s an appropriate idea. We think itâ€™s a necessary idea in terms of working with industry and weâ€™ll see how this all plays out over the course of the spring.
What is NTIA doing internationally on the privacy front?
Privacy has big international implications because the Council of Europe is looking at redoing what theyâ€™ve done in privacy. The European Union is looking at this issue. OECD is looking at the issue. So weâ€™re very cognizant of the need to make sure our policy, whatever it is, is designed in a way to best harmonize with whatâ€™s happening in the rest of the world, and in particularly Europe.
The U.S.’s larger marketing, advertising and media lobbying organizations want the Obama Administration to help them continue to engage in behavioral data profiling and other digital marketing techniques without meaningful safeguards.Â Trade groups–including the Direct Marketing Association, Interactive Ad Bureau, and the 4A’s–Â told the Obama Commerce Department it wants it to negotiate a trade deal with the EU and elsewhere that would give U.S. online ad companies, in essence, a free pass on data collection and tracking.Â Can you believe they want U.S. self-regulation (ineffective and a cover to permit the expansion of consumer data collection) to be the global standard.Â File this under digital Chutzpah!Â They wrote in a [my emphasis]Â filing:
Here’s who signed the filing.Â Attention EU–watch out.Â And a question for the Obama Administration.Â Which side of the keeping the online medium a real reflection of democratic potential will you be on?
American Advertising Federation
American Association of Advertising Agencies
Association of National Advertisers
Coalition for Healthcare Communications
Direct Marketing Association
Electronic Retailing Association
Interactive Advertising Bureau
MPA — The Association of Magazine Media
National Business Coalition on E-Commerce and Privacy
Newspaper Association of America
Performance Marketing Association
From Pandora’s recent S-1 IPO filing at the SEC [our bold]:
excerpt:Â Existing privacy-related laws and regulations are evolving and subject to potentially differing interpretations, and various federal and state legislative and regulatory bodies may expand current or enact new laws regarding privacy and data security-related matters. We may find it necessary or desirable to join self-regulatory bodies or other privacy-related organizations that require compliance with their rules pertaining to privacy and data security. We also may be bound by contractual obligations that limit our ability to collect, use, disclose, and leverage listener data and to derive economic value from it. New laws, amendments to or re-interpretations of existing laws, rules of self-regulatory bodies, industry standards and contractual obligations, as well as changes in our listenersâ€™ expectations and demands regarding privacy and data security, may limit our ability to collect, use, and disclose, and to leverage and derive economic value from listener data. We may also be required to expend significant resources to adapt to these changes and to develop new ways to deliver relevant advertising or otherwise provide value to our advertisers. In particular, government regulators have proposed â€œdo not trackâ€ mechanisms, and requirements that users affirmatively â€œopt-inâ€ to certain types of data collection that, if enacted into law or adopted by self-regulatory bodies or as part of industry standards, could significantly hinder our ability to collect and use data relating to listeners. Restrictions on our ability to collect, access and harness listener data, or to use or disclose listener data or any profiles that we develop using such data, would in turn limit our ability to stream personalized music content to our listeners and offer targeted advertising opportunities to our advertising customers, each of which are critical to the success of our business...
We use DoubleClickâ€™s ad-serving platform to deliver and monitor ads for our service. There can be no assurance that our agreement with DoubleClick, which is owned by Google, will be extended or renewed upon expiration, that we will be able to extend or renew our agreement with DoubleClick on terms and conditions favorable to us or that we could identify another alternative vendor to take its place. Our agreement with DoubleClick also allows DoubleClick to terminate our relationship before the expiration of the agreement on the occurrence of certain events, including if DoubleClick determines that our use of its service could damage or cause injury to DoubleClick or reflect unfavorably on DoubleClickâ€™s reputation….In fiscal 2010 and the nine months ended October 31, 2010, advertising revenue accounted for 90.9% and 86.4%, respectively, of our total revenue, and we expect that advertising will comprise a substantial majority of revenue for the foreseeable future. In fiscal 2010 and the nine months ended October 31, 2010, Google accounted for 11.4% and 7.4%, respectively, of our total revenue. We deliver online ads provided by Google through our service, and Google sources us with advertising customers through ad exchanges.
As was done during the 1990â€™s by the online marketing industry to oppose consumer privacy rules at the FTC and eleswhere, once again digital advertising companies disingenuously claim that enacting appropriate privacy safeguards will [as Google puts it]: â€œthwart the ability of companies to develop new services and tools, and in turn make U.S. Internet companies less competitive globally and make the Internet a less robust mediumâ€¦.an anti-innovation framework would counterproductively choke off the development of new tools and services to protect personal privacy.â€Â Facebook similarly told the industry-friendly Commerce Department that “imposing burden privacy restrictions could limit Facebook’s ability to innovate, making it harder for Facebook to compete...”Â The factsâ€”as Google, Facebook and the other companies undoubtedly knowâ€”show this to not be the case. First, online marketers, including Google, did not build-in serious privacy and consumer protection safeguards into their online marketing products.Â All the innovation has and is focused on expanding the data collection, profiling and targeting of each user, across multiple platforms and applications.Â Â Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, ad agencies and digital marketing companies have significantly invested in creating new forms of digital data collection and new ways to measure it.Â That point is something that the industry doesnâ€™t volunteer and that regulators and policymakers should recognize.Â It has taken a global public uproar and governmental pressure that has forced Google, Facebook and the entire online ad industry to more seriously acknowledge and respond to concerns on privacy practices.Â (In fact, it was only due to the pressure brought by CDD, EPIC and colleagues opposing Googleâ€™s acquisition of DoubleClick that forced the FTC to issue new staff proposals for behavioral advertising and privacy.Â Pressure from NGOs has been a key factor on industry and policymakers).
PS:Â In Facebook’s privacy filing it cites President Obama’s State of the Union speech where he singled out Facebook and Google as examples of innovation in the U.S.Â We doubt the President intended Facebook to use his speech as a political tool arguing against protecting consumers online through privacy regulation.Â Everyone should read Facebook’s submission–especially Facebook users.Â It is one of the most self-serving and narrow-minded policy screeds I have read recently.Â They invoke the concept of the “social web” as if it should automatically permit Facebook to be a consumer protection free- zone.Â Note in the document how Facebook urges the FTC (which is likely investigating it as we speak) to “continue to pursue a retrained approach to enforcement.”Â How wonder it just hired another lobbyist--a former Bush White House top staffer.