Monday Signal: Is That A Storm Gathering, Or Much Needed Rain? A Bevy of Privacy Links.

The issue of the day, after taking time off from Signal, is privacy. It’s the talk of the IAB conference hallways (where I’ve been for the past two days), and it dominated the headlines over the past week, which I’ve (mostly) taken off due to a long planned vacation. But Signal is back, with an extended play version, and so is the “privacy issue.”

Last week the White House used its bully pulpit to announce a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights,” Google got its hand caught in a cookie jar that many others also use (the jar was Apple’s Safari browser). Combine that with the Path/Apple (and other apps) debacle the week before, and we’ve got a privacy perfect storm brewing. Or…is it that we’re finally, as a society, dealing with an issue that we need to deal with?

Expect a lot more on the subject in the coming months, it seems our society has finally leaned in. It’s and far from going away, despite our industry’s greatest hopes that it might. I think we need to address it head on – define it, debate it, and get our house in order. I’ll be writing a lot more in the days ahead. To the links (which include some choice stories *not* about privacy as well):

Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights in a Networked World (White House) Text of the White House announcement from last week.

Opt-Out Provision Would Halt Some, but Not All, Web Tracking (NYT) An overview of the new Do Not Track program also announced last week. I actually believe that once people realize the value of their own data, they’ll want to opt in. But our industry is afraid of testing that thesis, though this is a step in that direction.

Obama’s Framework for “Consumer Data Privacy” And My “Data Bill of Rights” (Searchblog) My comparison of the Administration’s announcement, which is mostly theatre for now (though useful theatre), with my post about data from four years ago.

The Online User Manifesto (Forbes) Another writer’s take on a “data bill of rights.”

A Sad State of Internet Affairs: The Journal on Google, Apple, and “Privacy” (Searchblog) My initial take, which was refuted by Gruber here: Cookies and Privacy. I plan to write a response, but given how nuanced this issue is, and how much there is to learn, it won’t be soon.

The Do Not Track Era (DD) The industry has responded to all this by beginning to back a “Do Not Track” button on browsers. It will help with perception, but the reality of privacy is far more complicated. And most of us don’t want to think about it. We just want it to work. I fear this approach will not work, not because folks will (or will not) “opt out,” but because once they do, they’ll realize they want back in – but only for some things. We need better instrumentation, and to do that, we need better platforms…and on and around it goes…

Stanford’s Jonathan Mayer On Fixing Privacy (PC) The fellow who discovered many of the security issues with apps and the web offers his own opinions.

Opinion: How to save online privacy (CNN) The author is an European commissioner who I’ve been told is hoping to make hay on all this. Then again, I was told that by someone deeply involved in the advertising business.

White House Privacy Bill of Rights Brought to You by Years of Online Debacles (Wired) Wired’s coverage of the White House announcement is a bit gloating.

Apple cuts iAd minimums, raises developer profits Sounds like the ad business hasn’t exactly been a big success for Apple, at least, not on Apple’s terms. Then again, Apple seems utterly uninterested in the ad industry overall, refusing to engage with industry associations, policy debates, etc. More on this later.

Article: US Consumers Hold Businesses Accountable for Online Privacy (EM) As well they should. Then again, we have to do our part and actually engage and educate ourselves.

NYT Magazine – How Companies Learn Your Secrets (NYT) Hey, looky here: It’s not just big bad Google doing this shit. It’s been done forever.

The Free Internet Act (AVC) Fred’s POV on a burgeoning movement out of Reddit (unrelated, directly, to all the privacy stuff happening above). Having read Lessig’s “Republic Lost” and currently reading Sifry’s “Wikileaks and the Age of Transparency,” I find this stuff increasingly important.

Confessions of Publisher Ad Ops (DD) I love this series, giving us unvarnished views from folks in the trenches.

Ad Sellers’ Beef with Buyers: We Don’t Hear Back from You (DD) Another in the series.

How Much Is Enough? We’ve Passed 15 ‘Anti-Piracy’ Laws In The Last 30 Years (TD) The guy has a point.

Microsoft to Introduce Social Display Ad Unit (AdWeek) Nope, doesn’t have Facebook in it.

Why Pinterest Is Playing Dumb About Making Money (Atlantic) The writer runs the numbers on the affiliate biz Pinterest is currently using and figures there are big bucks to be had there. I am more skeptical, though I think a modified version of this business model may well turn out to be golden. After all, AdWords is essentially the same model, when seen from 50,000 feet.

Tech giants have power to be political masters as well as our web ones (Guardian) In which the author recognizes the power of corporations to limit – or enable – all our speech.

Facebook to roll out bigger adverts this month (Telegraph) Just in time for its IPO.

A Sneak Peek Inside Four Silicon Valley Tech Labs (PM) Fun to see what’s up in some of the R&D labs out here.

Pinwheel!  In Private Beta (Caterina) The next big thing from Caterina Fake. Hoping she’ll be at Signal SF….

Twitter Opens Up Self-Serve Ad Platform to 10,000 Small Businesses (AdAge) Smart deal with Amex – older news, but I was off for a week, remember….

Apple and the New York Times not meshing (WaPo) Apple is very, very good at managing press. Always has been. It’s in the company DNA.

NHTSA distracted driving guidelines recommend limits on operating in-car electronics (Verge) This is one reasons I think voice will be huge.

San Francisco In The Spring: Come To Signal (FM) The lineup is really strong.

Amazon’s Approach to Advertising Might Work, But It’s Not for Every Retailer (AdAge) This is just the beginning – mark my words, Amazon is about to be a major player in this business.


FM’s program of the day is our first ever Signal conference in San Francisco. We are nearing sell out, which is great news, unless you were planning on buying your ticket at the door….

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