CDT Fails to `Get

At the recent Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference, I was on a panel about behavioral targeting organized by CDT. I was a last-minute panelist, placed on there by conference organizers who were uncomfortable about CDT’s plans for the event. CDT has blogged about the panel, suggesting much more needs to be known before the FTC acts. That’s hogwash. CDD and USPIRG have provided the FTC–and the public–with sufficient information for action. Clearly, CDT is playing its usual role helping the industry head-off any serious consequences for the systemic invasion of privacy which online marketing has unleashed.

Interestingly, at the event, lobbyists for several of the big data mining companies came up to me and asked what kinds of safeguards might work. They know that BT and what’s going on raises serious and disturbing issues related to privacy. That’s why privacy advocates have to really protect the public through policy safeguards asap.

PS: For CDT to suggest there was even a debate between the representative from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and myself does a disservice to readers. The IAB really could not offer any defense of the practice, except to say that without advertising most online content would no longer be “free.” As the lone privacy advocate on the panel, I provided examples–from industry documents–about how our privacy is threatened.

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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