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.”
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?
Washington, Sept. 30, 2009
The writers are co-chairmen of the Future of Privacy Forum, a think tank that focuses on consumer privacy issues.