Can Technology Solve The Privacy Questions Around Behavioral Advertising?

from the beats-regulations dept

Jim Harper makes a really good point as there’s a growing clamor for regulators to step in and legislate around online privacy concerning things like behavioral targeting of advertisements. Before we rush into new laws, let’s see if technology can solve the problems, such as Chris Soghoian’s new tool to let users add a browser extension that let’s them block out all targeted advertising cookies. That doesn’t necessarily solve the issue with ISPs selling clickstream tracking, but it does suggest that technology may do a decent job protecting against some of these issues.

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Comments on “Can Technology Solve The Privacy Questions Around Behavioral Advertising?”

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Weird Harold (user link) says:

One of the issues is that your IP address can’t easily be surpressed, and certain information can be collected in various ways that can make you semi-uniquely indentifiable. Things like your version of flash, the browser you are using, and other settings which can be detected through java and flash can identify what would be lost with cookies. Effectively, the advertisers would just have to track what would be cookie data themselves.

It’s amazing what data can be gleaned, and attempting to block it all might end up making your web surfing experience rather lame (say by disabling java, flash, and so on).

CantThinkOfACleverName says:

Re: Re:

“One of the issues is that your IP address can’t easily be surpressed”

– You meant suppressed ?

… and if a site requires the use of javascript (notjava), flash or other such nonsense then maybe I do not need what they are providing. I hate that crap – and it is not needed in order to provide a good layout. It is needed in order to track your actions.

SteveD says:

On the fence

Someone convince me ‘behavioural advertising’ is a bad thing.

Is facebook showing me ads relevant to my interests really that much different from Google showing me ads relevant to what I just searched for?

Isn’t it just that Google has been doing its thing for a while in the background so we take it for granted, while this sort of advertising has come along in a world paranoid about privacy?

I keep hearing rumours about the advertising bubble thats coming. We all know how useless banner ads are. Why does no one want to admit that online marketing needs to become more efficient if its going to support what we already enjoy for free along with future growth?

CantThinkOfACleverName says:

Re: On the fence

“Someone convince me ‘behavioural advertising’ is a bad thing.

Dont have to. In time, it will do the work for its self and you will be convinced. Not unsimilar to the early days of telemarketing – What’s wrong with someone calling me every now and then?

Why do you need to be convinced anyway? Like you are going to do anything about it. It will happen and you will not like it.

There are two parts to this beast, the tracking and the spamming. There is not much that you can do about the tracking part (isn’t stalking illegal? certainly wiretapping is, right?). The spamming part can be stopped and there is more than one benefit from doing so. Not only do you not have to see their stupid flashy crap, but you also reduce your BW. BW caps are coming and it will be like overdraft fees at the bank, they will find ways to trip you up because there is money to be made. Your cell phone is also going to become a tool they will use.

That’s not so bad you say … I may like ads for stuff I want. Ok, but what if the ad is from Nigeria? These vectors into your life/pocket/credit will be abused, not by all but all it takes is one. It could become so bad that your cell phone is no longer useful – sort of like your email and landline are today, almost useless.

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