International Privacy Day: Privacy Policy Also Means Protecting Consumers [Think Financial Products/Mortgages, Health Products, the Marketing of Obesity-linked Foods, etc]

My group the Center for Digital Democracy joins with our colleagues throughout the world to acknowledge International Privacy Day.  The day is to help mark what is a growing debate about the role that data collection on citizens and consumers plays in our lives.  Both governments and many corporations are harvesting a tremendous amount of information on us, to monitor our activities and influence our behavior.

But protecting our privacy is more than just data protection and the Big Brother/Sister-like surveillance system now available.  It’s also about linking the use of data collection to the vast interactive marketing apparatus which is designed to help direct our thinking about products, brands, and ideas (including political leaders).  Protecting privacy is just one part of the problem; the other half relates to ensuring protection for consumers.  Interactive marketing has created a range of unfair, deceptive and potentially harmful practices across a broad range of product categories.  These practices are fueled by the data collection, analysis and targeting system which has been put in place.  So here’s to those who care about privacy; to those who also care about the public welfare; and to the public whose future will be affected by the outcomes of these debates and policies.

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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