Google and behavioural marketing

I just love this….

An ad hoc coalition of companies with a stake in online advertising have signed on to a letter addressed to New York State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky outlining their opposition to a bill Brodsky has authored that would impose restrictions on data collection for use in online advertising. Google, Yahoo, AOL, Facebook, Comcast, eBay, EDS, Monster and Reed Elsevier are among the signees of a letter that says the proposed law “would have profound implications for the future of Internet advertising and the availability of free content on the Internet.”

And then there’s what is in this letter. The first advantage of online advertising -according to Google- is that it connects consumers with information, products and services that they seek. I would almost buy this if it wasn’t for the fact that they also use the argument that it helps bloggers and small businesses to prosper. OK, by placing those ads on their sites that you click on so they generate revenue, and this is their justification? Then they proceed by stating that “they believe that users’ trust is essential to build the best possible products”. Interesting… I don’t (and I guess I’m not alone here) trust Google in the slightest with my personal information, although I’m intrigued by the company itself, their practices are not to be trusted. They claim that their privacy practices are based upon 3 fundamentals:

1. Transparency – yes sure… transparency means you have no idea what personal information is being gathered on you

2. Choice – ok this is getting very interesting… they claim that MANY of their products do not REQUIRE users to provide any PII. In fact is it not in the nature of the services that they offer that choice is NOT provided. In fact without realising it their services are making the choice for us. Think about that.

3. Security, yes they are serious about this. Well I guess it’s not their problem that they index everything. Some of the responsibility must be laid on those responsible for making information public. I think this is fair.

Well the letter goes on…you can read for yourself.

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