BREAKING NEWS & VIEWS
Poll: Consumers Concerned Over Online Tracking
Friday, June 11, 2010
Drilling further into the Zogby results, it is clear that online users are a bit more moderate on the issue of advertising technologies. When asked about their level of concern over companies that record online habits and use the data to generate profit through advertising, 44% said they were “very concerned” and 37% were “somewhat concerned.”
The poll was commissioned by Scott Cleland of Precursor, LLC. Cleland has been critical in the past of online data collection practices. At his blog announcing the poll, he said that online privacy is a rare bi-partisan issue. “In sum, this Zogby poll is interesting and important because it exposes how unpopular many common Internet online privacy-related practices are with American consumers and how popular many proposed privacy-related protections would be with the American public,” Cleland says.
The issue of online privacy should be of continued interest to publishers because almost all major media are partnering with ad networks and ad-serving technologies that involve some sort of user tracking. Many publishers are themselves unaware of how many ad tags are being adjoined to their pages and how the anonymous user data is being shared among partner upon partner. Ultimately, the publisher is most likely to be held responsible for their users’ privacy, but very few content providers raise the issue explicitly with users. The issue will likely come to a head in coming months as Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) introduced draft legislation in Congres last month that would regulate online data collection and ensure easy opt-out mechanisms for consumers.
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