Online Privacy - It's Your Choice

Posted by Kate Jurras on Wed, Aug 1, 2012

T2 resized 600For the July blog series, we asked some of Boston's greatest thought leaders to speak on a particularly complicated (but relevant) subject: tracking, targeting, and privacy. Their responses were surprising, fascinating, and applicable - and we think you'll find this series quite interesting! This post is by Tyler Sandler. Tyler a BIMA member and Senior Director of Sales for Evidon. Don’t let his New York area code fool you, Tyler is a native New Englander, graduate of the University of New Hampshire and a Sox fan. He can be reached at tsandler (at) evidon (dot) com.

The irresponsible use of consumer data is the rogue trader lurking in our industry. If unfound this trader can blow up years of hard work and investment. Online targeting options abound but, until recently, little thought has been given to consumer privacy when it comes to tracking and targeting. This is why I challenge you to do something.

Whenever the subjects of targeting, tracking, and privacy come up in the context of our industry, there is always controversy, heated debate, many sides of the story, and opinions mixed with facts. When I miss a few days of headlines I feel like the whole world has changed. The next few years will bring about some of the biggest changes that our industry has faced.  Now is not the time for complacency - it is a time for action. This is our industry’s issue to solve. Given the exponential growth of technology, my children will live in a world where access to information is beyond our wildest sci-fi dreams and, as such, digital privacy could be nonexistent. We are in the early days of setting the standard of what privacy means in our always on, networked, and connected society, and this is why I challenge you to do something.  

As a consumer, you can download Ghostery and learn more about who is tracking you as you surf the web. As a business, you need to take advantage of the new privacy frameworks at your disposal, specifically the industry’s “AdChoices” program and in the European Union the e-Privacy Directive.

If you are an advertiser or website owner/operator, you should understand your data collection practices and ensure that they match your disclosures. Read up on the EU’s e-Privacy Directive, understand your partner’s data collection practices and standards and, most importantly, start the conversation internally. Keep up with the latest news and join in the conversation.

If you work for a technology company, app developer or someone in the ad stack, make sure you understand the DAA’s principles of “Notice and Choice.” Focus on how your technology adds value to the online advertising ecosystem.  Appoint a Privacy Lead and have them study all sides of the story – this person usually comes from Product, Marketing, BD, or Legal. Have this person learn the principles of Privacy by Design and understand your company’s data collection practices.  

As an agency professional, you should understand the practices of your partners that you recommend to your client. Ensure that your client recommendations match your client’s risk tolerance. Help your client understand their data collection practices and disclosures. Make sure that red flags go up anytime a partner says that their technology isn’t subject to privacy regulations, or that their technology “gets around the cookie laws.”

I joined Evidon because I felt that this is a company that is actually doing something to address these paramount issues for our industry, and I wanted to contribute. Reach out to your friends at Evidon if you have any questions, we are always giving our POV and we are here to help. Do something so that you make sure you find that rogue trader before the whale comes smashing in.