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Data Sales and Do Not Track

Data Sales and Do Not Track

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Published by Stefan Georgi
Consumer Data Sales and Do Not Track

By Stefan Georgi All Rights Reserved

The Federal Trade Commission recently called on Congress to enact legislation that would regulate the companies that compile and sell consumer data. The agency argued that consumers have a right to privacy, and as such they should be able to access the information that is collected about them. Additionally, the FTC called for online companies to embrace “Do Not Track,” (also referred to as “do not collect”) a mechanism t
Consumer Data Sales and Do Not Track

By Stefan Georgi All Rights Reserved

The Federal Trade Commission recently called on Congress to enact legislation that would regulate the companies that compile and sell consumer data. The agency argued that consumers have a right to privacy, and as such they should be able to access the information that is collected about them. Additionally, the FTC called for online companies to embrace “Do Not Track,” (also referred to as “do not collect”) a mechanism t

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Published by: Stefan Georgi on May 19, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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Consumer Data Sales and Do Not Track
By Stefan GeorgiAll Rights ReservedThe Federal Trade Commission recently called on Congress to enact legislation that would regulate thecompanies that compile and sell consumer data. The agency argued that consumers have a right to privacy,and as such they should be able to access the information that is collected about them. Additionally, theFTC called for online companies to embrace “Do Not Track,” (also referred to as “do not collect”) amechanism that allows consumers to opt out of having their digital activities monitored.While advocacy groups have lauded the FTC’s call for greater protection of consumer privacy, someparties are not so pleased. The credit rating giant Experian, which deals in the collection and selling of consumer data, see the FTC’s involvement as a risk to their business model. Online advertisers are alsoconcerned, because they feel “Do Not Track” will severely hurt their ability to connect with consumers. Asone online executive, quoted in The New York Times, said: “{
do not collect} 
is basically death for onlineadvertising.” While this statement is certainly a bit of an overreaction, it does raise an interesting point.How can online advertisers function if there’s no one to communicate to?
How Data Collection Companies Should Handle “DoNot Track”
The truth of the matter is that those who have a vested interest in data collection need not give up just yet.Even though a “Do Not Track” feature is likely to become a common option for consumers, it’s not clearthat most people will even choose this option. Undoubtedly, some will, but this is a necessary casualty inthe greater war of consumer privacy. Consumers need to be protected.Rather than fight the “Do Not Track” initiative, companies that rely on data collection should focus oncommunicating to consumers what the benefits of tracking are. For Experian, for example, their datacollection helps to generate consumer credit scores, an essential tool for most American citizens. Thisbenefit should be relayed to consumers so that they can understand why the organization needs their data.

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