Data collecting “Cookies are like bar codes…the blood of the system”

That headline comes from a news report on the “Agency Demand Platforms: Art vs. Science in a Real-Time World” event held this week in New York.  The report was critical of the call to protect user privacy by requiring consumer control over cookies and other stealth data collection practices.  It appears many online marketers view consumers as walking targets with digital barcodes embedded on their person.   Just because data collection on individuals is the “blood” for ad revenues, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t protect consumer privacy.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece quoting an unnamed ad executive:

Cookies are integral to advertisers and ad networks generating maximum value for publishers and guessed earnings would go down by 50 percent. Cookies are the blood of the system. Cookies are like bar codes, without them you would have to do everything manually and that doesn’t scale.

It’s also worth looking at the video interview and comments that accompany the Adotas story.  We know the IAB and others (including the Ad Council!) are lobbying lawmakers to head off any online privacy and consumer safeguards.  Instead of wasting resources, responsible leaders from the ad and marketing industries should embrace new policies that protect the public.

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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