Don Marti

Mon 03 Sep 2012 08:51:29 AM PDT

Adtech, big data and privacy links

Paul Ohm: Don't Build a Database of Ruin (via Richard Stallman's Political Notes). In the absence of intervention, soon companies will know things about us that we do not even know about ourselves. This is the exciting possibility of Big Data, but for privacy, it is a recipe for disaster. (IMHO, PII is like hazardous materials: keep only as much as you absolutely need, because when it spills, it'll cost more than it was worth.)

Andrew Nibley: The Future of Ad Tech? Look at What's Happened to Financial Markets. That's a comforting thought.

Ted Rooke asks, Do consumers really mistrust big data? That's a good question. A related question is: Are a user's beliefs about the extent of ad targeting correlated with the likelihood that the user will run an ad blocker? (My humble opinion is that the more a user learns about adtech, the creepier he or she will find it, and the more likely he or she will be to employ countermeasures. But maybe I'm just looking at greybeards, and the rest of you don't get the same creepy feeling.)

Related, from Alistair Croll: Followup on Big Data and Civil Rights (via O'Reilly Radar)

Richard Stacy: The great thing about advertising is that no-one takes it personally. The very greatest advertising, like any performance or show, creates a sense of audience participation: the viewers experience a sense of collective engagement with the ad and (usually but not always) the brand that lies behind it. Critically, they also receive assurance that the brand is popular and successful and that, as a consumer, they are not alone.

Seth Godin: Advertising's bumpy transition (and why it matters to you). The short version is that magazine ads were expensive because they were scarce, they worked (maybe) and they were sold, hard. (But print also has extra inherent value: it's less trackable, so sends a stronger signal.

Important work, started by Dan Witte at, on managing the third-party cookie problem: Key cookies on setting domain * toplevel load domain and Thirdparty. Improve user awareness of what they're consenting to, be it informed, implicit or unintended.

Another privacy milestone: Freedombox Kickstarter software released. (via Bits from the Basement)