Latest Casualty Of NSA Spying Revelations: Web Advertising Based On Tracking Users
from the collateral-benefits dept
As we've noted before, Edward Snowden's revelations about the globe-spanning spying being conducted by the NSA are have all sorts of interesting knock-on consequences. Here's another: people are starting to worry about being tracked by online advertisers, and taking action to avoid it, as this story in Adweek explains:
Now that consumers know that NSA spooks are reviewing their every click, online privacy has become a much bigger concern.
Some might think that a pro-active approach to privacy protection is a good thing, but it's deeply problematic for the online advertising industry that has largely built its business model around tracking people's online habits. Further evidence of the growing unease about privacy issues is provided by this advertisement from the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) [pdf], which was run in Advertising Age recently:
After seven weeks of steady media coverage, the percentage of Internet users worried about their online privacy jumped 19 percent, from 48 percent in June (when the story first appeared in The Guardian and Washington Post) to 57 percent in July, according to Annalect, Omnicom Media Group's data and analytics company.
The findings have huge implications for the targeted advertising because the more concerned Internet users are about privacy, the more likely they are to change settings and block tracking.
Rather bizarrely, this accuses the Mozilla open source project of "hijacking the Internet" because the former wants to give users greater control over tracking by advertisers. I've discussed elsewhere why such a claim is particularly ridiculous -- Mozilla has probably done more than most to free the Internet, rather than hijack it. And as the Adweek story indicates, it's Mozilla rather than the DAA that is in tune with the general public's concerns at the moment, so attacking the open source project for trying to help users to block unwanted tracking and have more control over their own information is hardly going to win the online advertising industry many friends at a time when it needs them.Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and on Google+