A Scenic Tour of the Online World

Privacy Concerns – Again (And Again …)

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Just when things quiet down on the privacy/security front, something else comes along. It seems that consumers are getting hip to the fact that they’re being watches, sometimes even after they’ve taken steps to keep from being watched.

The New York Times is reporting that a number of lawsuits have been filed by consumers who found that Flash cookies have been tracking their online activities. Different than “regular” cookies, these live in a different location on your computer, and frequently aren’t eliminated when the web surfers do the usual cache clearing.

My guess is that the lawsuits will come to naught unless there was none of the fine print we usually ignore when we sign up for various web services. (Which is quite possible.) Either way, it does put online marketers on notice that more transparency – not less – is the order of the day.

It’s a very interesting development: as one segment of the online population becomes more and more comfortable with the concept of virtually NO privacy and is willing to divulge what they’re doing, who they’re doing it with, and where they are minute by minute on services like Facebook, FourSquare and others, another segment is pushing back. Some push back because of identify theft concerns, others simply don’t want to give away what marketers see as valuable information. They want to be compensated for it.

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