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Privacy Prompts Public Concern from Web Sites to White House

online privacy 150x150 Privacy Prompts Public Concern from Web Sites to White HouseMarch 1st is next week, when Google combines privacy policies together, supporting a ‘better’ user experience.  The notion of privacy has been a recent, ongoing conversation, first discussed in detail by the online marketing world, then slowly making its way around the nation’s households, even the White House.

The New York Times reports of a ‘consortium’ of companies, representing 90% of online ads agreeing to comply with online tracking standards.  Obama’s think tank established blueprints for a ‘new’ privacy code of its own: a one-click, one-touch process, allowing browsers to mediate their level of online privacy.

The notion makes sense, especially for the large percentage of the population that is not directly involved with online marketing.  As Danny Sullivan demonstrated last month, you don’t have to fear Google’s privacy changes; you can opt out, but it requires a bit of sleuthing.  Maybe Obama’s administration wants to make things clear and simple for the large majority of browsers.

The establishment of Obama’s admin privacy changes will not come to fruition as quick as a click; as another Times article reports, the privacy modifications require multiple steps.  It is likely Congress will need to orchestrate legislation (Remember SOPA/PIPA?  Is it wise for offline professionals to make online regulations?) allowing them to govern the mass collection of user data (unlikely to occur this year as reported).  Additionally, the big names (Google, Yahoo, Apple) must tweak browser functions (after agreeing to the process), allowing for the one-touch ‘opt out.’

Are these big names just going to opt to integrate Obama’s admin opt-out function?  Perhaps ‘compliance’ can be ‘encouraged’ through a new code of conduct to be developed by the Commerce Department (or with advertising industry guidelines to be ‘voluntarily’ adopted); the Federal Trade Commission (presently monitoring privacy issues) will have the ability to enforce compliance after the establishment of ‘conduct codes.’

What are these conduct codes?  Some sources describe the code as a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, placing deep emphasis on ‘transparency,’ allowing users to understand how and what is being tracked.  User ‘awareness’ is at different levels, depending on a user’s online experience and information regarding particular modifications and new regulations, such as Google’s upcoming privacy change.

The Washington Post commented on Obama’s administration’s neglect to address mobile device privacy, a subject that deserves equal attention considering the surge of present and to-be mobile usage.  As of Wednesday, Apple Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have voiced agreements to ‘clearly’ disclose privacy policies of application developers at their application stores.

The issues of privacy seems like a concern for consumers but a reason for celebration for brands that may have a lot more personal information to draw from regarding respective, coveted target markets.

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Todd Bailey is a Digital Consultant, SEO/SEM/SMO/Analytics and In-House SEO Consultant at INetU. Visit Todd's personal blog at pushStar.com. On twitter @push_star
3f65fa935ca577888a6b2361b3e1d09d 64 Privacy Prompts Public Concern from Web Sites to White House
3f65fa935ca577888a6b2361b3e1d09d 64 Privacy Prompts Public Concern from Web Sites to White House

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