Why We Need Real Privacy Protections for Online: Read this “Risk Factor” from new SEC filing

ExactTarget is an email marketing company, working with such companies as “Careerbuilder.com, Expedia.com, Florida Power and Light, Gannett Co., Inc./USA TODAY, the Indianapolis Colts, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Liberty Mutual Group, Papa John’s and Wellpoint, Inc.” They just filed for an IPO (known as S-1). Here’s a important excerpt:

The ability of our clients to solicit, collect, process and use data derived from their customers may be restricted by existing and future privacy laws and regulations. In turn, we may be restricted from providing certain services, required to implement additional procedures and security systems and be exposed to the costs and liability associated with complying with or violating those regulations, all of which could harm our business.

Existing laws regulate the solicitation, collection, processing, transfer, use and other exploitation of consumers’ personal information and other types of information. Such laws and regulations may require companies to implement privacy and security policies, permit users to access, correct and delete personal information stored or maintained by such companies, inform individuals of security breaches that affect their personal information, and, in some cases, obtain individuals’ consent to use personal information for certain purposes. Additional privacy laws and regulations are possible and they could, if enacted, prohibit the use of certain technologies that track individuals’ activities on web pages or that record when individuals click through to an Internet address contained in an email message. Such laws and regulations could restrict our clients’ ability to collect and use email addresses, page viewing data and personal information, which may reduce demand for our products and services. Some regulations may cause our clients to insist that we adopt or implement certain security and privacy policies and procedures, or to implement certain security measures. The cost to comply with such demands or regulations could be significant and would increase our operating expenses, and we may be unable to pass along those increased costs to our clients.”

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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