Privacy - opt in or opt out altogether

According to Freed, who spoke at Internet World 2000 last week, the actions of companies who use personal site visitation data to then send unsolicited email to visitors may come back to haunt those companies by repelling consumers, en masse, from the internet.

Freed's remarks at Internet World were preceded by a keynote address from DoubleClick founding CEO Kevin O'Connor.

O'Connor admitted that DoubleClick supplies web advertisers with demographic information based on cookies sent to site visitors' PCs. Personal data such as user names and addresses could be supplied to online advertisers without a user's active consent or payment, he said.

However, as O'Connor pointed out, DoubleClick offers an "opt-out" approach to privacy, whereby web users are able to request that their personal information not be used for data-gathering marketing exercises -- an approach deplored by Freed, who supports the less commercially attractive "opt-in" approach.

Of data-gathering companies such as DoubleClick, Freed said: "The risk here is that if we continue with this abuse of rights, there could be -- and probably will be -- a strong backlash against the internet and against e-commerce. Mailboxes belong to the recipient, not the person sending the mail.

"When people go to a website, that website does not have the right to extract information about them from their browser and then proceed to send them unsolicited mail."

Freed said there are currently no laws in place to sufficiently deter internet companies from abusing visitor data in this way.

"The internet is pretty laissez-faire. Whoever is the biggest and baddest and carries the most weight seems to be able to get away with what they want," he said.

Nevertheless, he said it would be unreasonable to expect governments to regulate the web, due to its non-geographic, non-jurisdictional nature.

Ultimately, he said, the web must become self-regulated.

A global awareness of newfangled online marketing tactics would generate a greater respect for user privacy issues, which would, in turn, ensure effective self-regulation, Freed explained.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Byron Kaye

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?