The 700 MHz Auction: It’s about Online Advertising, Mobile Targeting, Commercialism and Threats to Privacy

We are glad Google is pushing a more open system for wireless. Cable and the phone monopoly want to run a closed shop. But we also believe that Google ultimately has the same business model in mind for wireless. Google wants access to more mobile spectrum so it can advance online advertising via data collection, profiling and one-to-one targeting. Missing in most of the debate about wireless is how can we ensure the U.S. public has access to non-commercial and community-oriented (and privacy-respectful) applications and services. There should be well-developed plans simultaneously advanced with the auction that will ensure the spectrum really serves the public interest (we see some have made such proposals). Such spectrum should be community-run and help stimulate a new generation of broadband public interest content and network services. But we fear that all that will happen is that Google and others will further transform what should be public property into a crazy maze of interactive [pdf] advertising-based content. This will further fuel a culture where personal consumption takes further precedence over the needs of civil society.

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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