Digital Privacy Issues – The Internet can be a creepy place. Lets keep the creeps out.

What inspired this posting was a stat that said 16% of the people in an Adobe survey thought that internet advertising was creepy – it is a world you share with fake people, fraudsters, thieves, con men and of course you and me. To weed out this element, there is political movement in creating a standard for digital privacy, but at the same time give governments the ability weed out the criminal element. Legislation in the USA , Europe and Canada are going through the public debate process right now.

The advertising community wants as much consumer behaviour data from online activities and would favour in the privacy debate as much info as they can get down to the last website viewed. This will enable them to better target a message to the reader – the marketing utopia. The way people can be tracked online is through what is called a computer cookie. And no you cannot eat this cookie.

Joke 1-Cookie

Here is the definition of a computer cookie according to Wikipedia.

“A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is usually a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user’s web browser while a user is browsing a website. When the user browses the same website in the future, the data stored in the cookie can be retrieved by the website to notify the website of the user’s previous activity.”

Current business practices has that the cookie is automatically placed on to your computer when you visit the site. In Europe you are asked by some websites if they can put a cookie on your computer before you enter their site. The privacy issue at stake can be illustrated by this example – Say you are window shopping at a mall and somebody was following your around seeing what you are doing and when they notice that you stopped at a store they come up to and offer you a deal for that store. Wouldn’t you feel a little creepy about this and this is what happens online all the time.

joke 2- Old Lady

The importance of permission based business practices for e-mail marketing programs is now filtering down to cookies on computers, tablets and smartphones. The established rules of privacy in other forms like your bank, health and phone calls, where some are secret and others require a court order, is the road traveled in instances of privacy and I would assume we will all get there too on the internet.

But, cookies play a valuable role for magazine publishers as it enables them to authenticate a subscriber through the various subscriber wall models for websites and digital magazines. For newspapers it is how they setup the free trial period for their content. Computer readers on all devices have the ability to not accept cookies as part of the device setup, but you will then not have access to social media sites that requires cookies.

Historically, for magazine publishers once they obtained the customer name they had the right to do with it as they pleased for business purposes, but in today’s political environment stricter rules might prevail for online. Hopefully, common sense will prevail as the privacy issues get resolved with some just old fashioned good manners will reign online.

Joke 3-Magic

One Response to “Digital Privacy Issues – The Internet can be a creepy place. Lets keep the creeps out.”
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