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Privacy at the New Year: Are We Coming Or Going?
January 2, 2013
Mercator Advisory Group
News in mid-December on two different fronts illustrated the deep gulf that separates privacy advocates from compulsive data gatherers. On the one hand, the Federal Trade Commission has taken a small step forward in requesting that some major United States firms answer questions about their data-collection practices. On the other hand, consumers are facing yet another unilateral data grab, in the form of a new “What’s Yours Is Ours”policy from Instagram, the popular photosharing site.
Here is what the FTC
about its upcoming study:
The nine data brokers receiving orders from the FTC are: 1) Acxiom, 2) Corelogic, 3) Datalogix, 4) eBureau, 5) ID Analytics, 6) Intelius, 7) Peekyou, 8) Rapleaf, and 9) Recorded Future. The FTC is seeking
the nature and sources of the consumer information the data brokers collect;
how they use, maintain, and disseminate the information; and
the extent to which the data brokers allow consumers to access and correct their information or to opt out of having their personal information sold.
Among the FTC’s major concerns – that these firms are not household names, and most are relatively unknown to consumers who thus do not understand what information about them is being collected or sold. Reports in a specified format are due back to the FTC in February 2013, raising hopes that the agency might take some action in 2013.
Consumers and site users have ignited a controversy over the announced change. News site C/Net
Reginald Braithwaite, an author and software developer, posted a tongue-in-cheek "translation" of the new Instagram policy today: "You are not our customers, you are the cattle we drive to market and auction off to the highest bidder. Enjoy your feed and keep producing the milk."
One Instagram user dubbed the policy change "Instagram's suicide note."
Is Facebook killing the goose that lays the photo egg? Only time will tell. There are certainly alternative solutions available to consumers, not the least of which is Yahoo’s Flickr. The real questions are – do consumers understand, and if so, do they care? How much do they value their privacy? If consumers can’t get excited about behind the scenes gathering and aggregating of data, will they get excited about photos? Will consumers care if the next ad campaign for their favorite resort or vacation destination features unauthorized photos of themselves and their children at play, courtesy of Instagram data sales?
What is your current view on the potential for invasion of your personal privacy?
Let us know which description fits you.
Contact Patricia McGinnis
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