Use of Cookies for Data Collection & Tracking on Rise

Former FTC Commissioner Christine Varney (now with Hogan & Hartson) and Alan Chapell (President, Chapell & Associates) were interviewed for this Marketing Sherpa piece on privacy and data collection. The headline, we believe, from the piece is that “merchants are collecting anonymous cookie data at an increasing rate in five out of seven retail categories this year compared to 2006, according to recent MarketingSherpa data.” [my bold]

Vaney’s perspectives in the piece are worth running here: “The biggest difference today is marketers’ ability to deliver targeted behavioral ads to consumers without collecting personally identifiable information, says Christine Varney, who served as a Federal Trade Commission in the Clinton administration and is now a Partner with Hogan & Hartson, where she counsels brands, such as eBay, MySpace, Zango, DoubleClick and AOL.

“You need to deliver targeted ads in a privacy-friendly matter,” says Varney. “The good news is that marketers are getting smarter about their tactics. The bad news is that people are still screwing up and not being as straightforward as they need to be about what information they are collecting.”

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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