Disney’s Bob Iger, Kids and Behavioral Tracking/Targeting: He Claims “Kids don’t care” about their Privacy

My friend the children’s TV activist Peggy Charren, back during the 1970’s and 1980’s, had a favorite expression when it came to dealing with self-serving media moguls who trampled on concerns about kids:  “I’d like to wash your mouth out with soap,” she would exclaim (given her tenacity, they knew she meant business).  Robert Iger, the head of Disney, is quoted in Reuters saying that: “If we could sell your behavior to an advertiser — I am actually pretty bullish about what technology is going to allow in terms of behavioral tracking. I think we are going to have information to sell to marketers.”

Unbelievably, Mr. Iger, when citing concerns over privacy, says that: “Kids don’t care,”…adding that when he talked to his adult children about their online privacy concerns “they can’t figure out what I’m talking about.”

Mr. Iger has just dramatically tarnished the Disney brand, by suggesting that it’s okay to engage in digital marketing and data collection to children and adolescents.  Not only is he thumbing his nose at the bipartisan Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, but the growing concern health, parenting and children’s groups have regarding youth privacy and consumer protection.  Instead of Disney being a youth industry leader when it comes to digital marketing, it appears the company is shirking what its role should be.  Peggy–I hope you still have one of those bars of soap!

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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