demedia's blog

Datamining our "Likes" on Facebook reveals details about our personal lives--new research

Facebook and other online data collectors are able to continually gather and analyze the digital bits of behavior that make up our identities.  A new study entitled "Private traits and attributes are predictable from digital records of human behavior," via Cambridge and Microsoft Research researchers illustrate the social surveillance infrastructure Facebook and so many others have unleashed.   No one would willingly permit the FBI

Direct Marketing Association (DMA): Privacy safeguards threatens "our data–driven way of life"

The Direct Marketing Association has not played a positive role in the debate over privacy.  For example, it (absurdly) has worked to exempt all the forms of data collection marketers do from the proposed Do Not Track safeguard.   As it plans for its big Washington, DC conference, look at how it frames the problem:
 

Facebook merges its Big Data on its Users with Big Data Brokers--and buys ad tracker Atlas

As part of the comprehensive system of commercial surveillance tracking us 24/7 wherever we go and do, more companies are integrating offline and purchasing data with online information.  But when the largest commercial database of individuals around the world marries its user data with the ton of consumer records held by Acxiom, Epsilon, Bluekai and

Facebook Gets a Privacy Pass from Better Business Bureau--the attack of the invisible "icons." Using a "Grey X" on FB Exchange

The Better Business Bureau is a member of the Digital Advertising Alliance (DMA, IAB, 4As, ANA).  Yet they are responsible somehow for evaluating how companies comply with the icon-based privacy program adopted by the commercial data marketing industry.  We have raised concerns about the efficacy of the icon.  The BBB just approved Facebook's use of the icon for its far-reaching data targeting system known as the Facebook Exchange.  Already barely viewable, the tiny icons are to be used by Facebook via a

Online Ad Lobby vs kids privacy: The Digital Scrooge tries to kill COPPA at the FTC

We can tell you why the lobbyists representing Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and the other consumer data-stealing giant members of the Interactive Advertising Bureau are afraid that the FTC will update its kids privacy rules on COPPA.  Their desperate cartoon attack using Santa Claus reveals an inability for the online ad industry to take the privacy issues seriously (which is what their actions on Do Not Track also reveal).  It shows

FTC Kids Mobile Privacy Report illustrates Widespread Failure by App Industry

Statement of Jeff Chester:  The FTC's "Mobile Apps for Kids" report reveals a mobile app industry--which includes Apple, Google, ad networks, advertisers, app developers and trade associations--demonstrating contempt or indifference about protecting privacy.  Since what the FTC found was focused on children, it only compounds the problem.  The industry was given advance notice by the Commission that it would issue a follow-up to its Feb.

Kids Spending and Influencing Power: $1.2 Trillion says leading ad firm

For decades, children have been big business--the source for buying toys, games, clothes and now lots of high-tech goodies.  Marketers have tried to treat kids as young adults--unleashing an array of ad campaigns designed to get them to buy or "pester" their parents.  Media companies and marketers, for the most part, have opposed regulatory safeguards that would protect young people from such unfettered advertising (kids TV is a great example).  It comes as no surprise to anyone that one reason media and marketing companies want unfettered access to influence kids,

McDonald's Changes Controversial "Refer-A-Friend" Policy that led to our COPPA complaint

Last August,  a coalition of child health, consumer and privacy groups asked the FTC to investigate the use of so-called "Refer-A-Friend" viral branded marketing tactics designed to encourage kids to provided the email addresses of their friends--a violation we believe of the children's online privacy law--COPPA.  The idea that leading companies would work to bypass--and undermine--parental role is disturbing.  Among the companies engaging in those practices explained the complaint included McDonald's, General Mills, Subway, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.&

EU Privacy Regulators Zero-in on Google

When Google changed its privacy policy last year--integrating more than 60 separate policies into one giant `we can collect everything' statement--EU officals and many US privacy advocates argued that the company was actually weakening what little protections  users had when dealing with the online ad giant.  CDD asked the FTC to investigate Google's approach as "unfair and deceptive," since it was offered as a privacy enhancing approach--but its real goal, of course, was to enable Google to assemb

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