A leading technology executive and father of two young daughters, offers his advice and opinion regarding the controversial, privacy-related issues surrounding the use of the "Do Not Track" buttons on your Internet browser.
Monster Offers (OTCBB: MONT) CEO Paul Gain, an enthusiast and advocate for the use of Daily Deals to save Americans money and help consumers make their disposable income dollars go farther, shares his perspective and position on the nationwide concern over the "Do Not Track" situation involving Internet browsing via Chrome, Mozilla, Internet Explorer and others.
On December 2, 2010, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) testified before Congress on Do Not Track legislation, proposing the concept of "Browser Setting So Consumers Can Make Choices About Online Tracking," which, among other things, called for adoption of a consumer privacy protection initiative with respect to tracking, collection, and information sharing of data relating to Internet usage and viewing habits. More recently, in February of 2011, the FTC published a proposed framework for protecting online privacy, which many commentators believe could have a major impact on the online advertising market, as the report suggests implementation of a "Do Not Track" mechanism that some view to be similar in concept to the "Do Not Call" list; under this approach, consumers could block the collection of online browsing data through their selection of the "Do Not Track" option, seemingly in much the same way that they can prevent those bothersome telemarketing calls by electing to be on the Do Not Call list. Today, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, this issue gains even more attention and visibility with Google joining other Internet firms in the privacy initiative by agreeing to embed a "Do Not Track" button in its browser, thereby allowing users to restrict the amount of data collected on them. A copy of this WSJ article can be found at:
Commented Paul Gain, CEO and founder of Monster Offers, "Is this a simple and easy way to control perceived infringements on user anonymity and privacy on the Internet, much like the way we keep our phones quiet? Obviously, while this is well intended and "well-intentioned", and while I certainly applaud the FTC and companies like Google in their efforts to protect our privacy rights, this blanket idea that the Internet can be turned on and off via a single button only serves to dumb down the importance and significance of a more tailored Internet experience; ultimately, I feel that the consumer may not fully realize the impact that an On/Off switch may have on our collective Internet experience. We should realize that a negative consequence of turning off the tracking mechanism may be that in the vacuum of information, or should we call it, the information void, advertisers and content providers may have no alternative but to treat all Internet users the same, with the potential harmful and inappropriate result that Internet noise gets heard by all ears/all users. For example, I personally like the fact that my daughters are not getting advertisements for Viagra, Nuvaring, Modern Bloodbath, and the latest R-rated horror film (there are some doozies nowadays), which might otherwise be sent their way if content providers/advertisers cannot track my children's Internet browsing usage and do not know who they are. Quite simply, more information may be better when it comes to ensuring that age and sex-appropriate advertisements and messages are transmitted over this medium."
Mr. Gain went on to observe, "Also, I fear that this may open the door to a litany of further tweaks and so-called "enhancements" of the Internet platform by our new 'big-brothers' at behemoths like Google, Microsoft, and the leading advertising networks to manipulate our usage of the Internet in ways that serve their own economic interests, but not necessarily those of the users themselves. Every day this prospect becomes more likely, given the undeniable fact that advertising dollars are being spent more and more based on Internet user clicks.
Ultimately, my personal feeling and belief is that this is a more complex issue than we have perhaps been led to believe, and that is a mistake, and small minded, to compare the "Do Not Track" option to the Do Not Call Registry (see http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2010/12/dnttestimony.shtm)."
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