Future of Privacy Forum Letter to the Editor of the NYTimes: “Tracking Consumers Online: Make It Transparent”

Future of Privacy Forum Letter to the Editor of the NYTimes: “Tracking Consumers Online: Make It Transparent”

The following piece was published on the New York Times website on October 8, 2009

Tracking Consumers Online: Make It Transparent

To the Editor:

Re “Tracked for Ads? Many Americans Say No Thanks” (Business Day, Sept. 30):

As your article suggests, there’s little doubt that consumers will object to behavioral advertising when they feel it is being done to them instead of for them.

So what can responsible companies do online? For starters, they can take the advice of Prof. Joseph Turow, the lead author of the study of attitudes toward online tracking, and help consumers “feel they have control over the data that marketers collect about them.”

This means clearly letting consumers know what is going on at a Web site, not hiding the information in a privacy policy that isn’t usually read. It means giving consumers real choices about the collection and use of their data. It also means showing consumers the profiles that are created and then deleting the old data on a regular basis.

The only way to turn around the online advertising debate is to provide users with real transparency and control. Why wait for Congress or regulators to mandate a solution?

Jules Polonetsky
Christopher Wolf
Washington, Sept. 30, 2009

The writers are co-chairmen of the Future of Privacy Forum, a think tank that focuses on consumer privacy issues.

Leave a Reply

Privacy Calendar

8:30 am Privacy as a Profit Center: Leve... @ Old Slip by Convene
Privacy as a Profit Center: Leve... @ Old Slip by Convene
Jan 26 @ 8:30 am – Jan 27 @ 4:15 pm
Learn how those on the leading edge of privacy governance and digital innovation from companies including Cigna, Cisco Systems, eBay Inc. Public Policy Lab, FocusMotion,Ghostery, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Google, HP Enterprise Security Products, JPMorgan[...]
all-day Data Privacy Day
Data Privacy Day
Jan 28 – Jan 29 all-day
“Data Privacy Day began in the United States and Canada in January 2008, as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. The Day commemorates the 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first[...]
all-day Global Privacy Summit 2015
Global Privacy Summit 2015
Mar 4 – Mar 6 all-day
For more information, click here.
6:00 pm CDT Annual Dinner “TechProm” 2015
CDT Annual Dinner “TechProm” 2015
Mar 10 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Featuring the most influential minds of the tech policy world, CDT’s annual dinner, TechProm, highlights the issues your organization will be facing in the future and provides the networking opportunities that can help you tackle[...]
all-day BCLT Privacy Law Forum
BCLT Privacy Law Forum
Mar 13 all-day
This program will feature leading academics and practitioners discussing the latest developments in privacy law. UC Berkeley Law faculty and conference panelists will discuss cutting-edge scholarship and explore ‘real world’ privacy law problems. Click here[...]
all-day PL&B’s Asia-Pacific Roundtable (...
PL&B’s Asia-Pacific Roundtable (...
May 27 all-day
PROFESSOR GRAHAM GREENLEAF, Asia-Pacific Editor, Privacy Laws & Business International Report, will lead a roundtable on the countries of most interest to business in the Asia-Pacific region. Click here for more information.
all-day PL&B’s 28th Annual International...
PL&B’s 28th Annual International...
Jul 6 – Jul 8 all-day
The Privacy Laws & Business 27th Annual International Conference featured more than 40 speakers and chairs from many countries over 3 intensive days. At the world’s longest running independent international privacy event participants gained professionally by[...]

View Calendar