Google CEO Eric Schmidt gave the keynote address at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s “Ecosystem 2.0” conference.Â As reported, he explained that [our emphasis]:
“The smartphone is the iconic device of our time,” Schmidt told the record IAB audience of 750 in Palm Springs, California. A year ago, he added, he predicted that mobile use would surpass PCs within two years. “It happened two weeks ago. And the PC is not going to catch up,” Schmidt said, as he labeled the new era, “Mobile First.”…The hyperlocal potential of mobile, Schmidt continued, means that smartphones and tablets bring a practical application to marketing that no other medium can match: A connection that will lead you to the store, open the door, and direct you to a product you need. “A RadioShack ad can tell you where you are and how to get to the nearest store.” And equipped with Near Field Communication chip (NFC), the newest generation of smartphones not only can tell you what to buy, it can enable a tap-and-pay transaction…Think of the offers mechanisms for advertisers,” Schmidt offered. “We’ve spent 20 years trying to get here. And now there’s an explosion in commerce. Particularly for the consumer who says, “I want to buy something and want to buy it right now,” he added, “We can do it.”
And, in large part, that capability means that mobile media consumption “is happening faster than all our internal predictions.”
Some 78% of smartphone internet users already use their smartphones as they shop. And, as consumer comfort with – and acceptance of – new mobile technology continues, Schmidt envisions “a world, in the very near future, where computers remember things and you never need to worry about forgetting anything. You want it to remember something and it will. And you’re never lost. No one is ever lost. You never turn off the [mobile device] and you’ll always know where you are. And where you want to goâ€¦.”
Just as the FTC and (we assume) the Commerce Department’s Internet Policy Task Force are examining what the new safeguards should be for sensitive data involving online health marketing, there is an important new research study in the Journal of the American Medical Infomatics Association.Â As Information Week reports, the study “examined 10 diabetes-focused social networking sites [and]Â found that the quality of clinical information, as well as privacy policies, significantly varied across these sites.Â The study, “Social but safe? Quality and safety of diabetes-related online social networks,” was conducted by researchers in the Children’s Hospital Boston informatics program…and found that only 50% presented content consistent with diabetes science and clinical practice.Â The research…also revealed that sites lacked scientific accuracy and other safeguards such as personal health information privacy protection, effective internal and external review processes, and appropriate advertising.”
The study underscores the issues raised by CDD and its colleague privacy and consumer protections groups last November in a complaint filed at the FTC.
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.
Online marketing of prescription drugs, including behavioral targeting, tracking, profiling and retargeting, require federal safeguards–asap.Â Here’s one online marketer admitting his client actually engaged in pharma behavioral retargeting.Â They write [excerpt]:Â “One of our clients is a manufacturer of cancer related drugs.Â They were using retargeting aggressively…”
The column goes on to say that consumer complaints led the drug company to stop using behavioral targeting, but we should not permit a digital data collection “wild west” for the medical marketing business online.Â Marketers of such drugs, especially for life-threatening illnesses–should not be using behavioral marketing at all (unless the consumer/patient affirmatively consents).
BeWell.com is a “new social network founded by America’s top doctors,” including NBC News Chief Medical Editor Dr. Nancy Synderman and others.Â The site is organized around “communities” that address issues involving important health concerns, including breast cancer, reproductive health, aging, etc.Â BeWell is owned by “by LLuminari, Inc, an innovative health media company…”Â LLuminari says on its website that “Our programs are made possible by leading companies who support providing consumers and employees access to the knowledge of the best and brightest experts. Our sponsors have included:
Johnson & Johnson GlaxoSmithKline General Mills PepsiCo Stonyfield Farm Newmanâ€™s Own Smith Barney Eileen Fisher PacifiCare Health System United Healthcare Genomic Health PriceWaterhouseCoopers