Last week the Internet was buzzing about “Girls Around Me” a mobile app that allowed the user to see profiles of girls that were geographically nearby - as in at the bar next door. Using publicly visible Facebook profiles and Foursquare, the app enables the user to see where someone is, where they have been, their full Facebook profile, including birthdate, school attended, favorites, family members, photo albums, depending on the person’s privacy settings on Facebook.
After many years of delays and hand-wringing the era of federal privacy legislation is finally upon us. Two years ago the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) caused quite a stir when it released its preliminary consumer privacy framework.
The public’s focus on consumer privacy in the past few years has also brought with it a heightened awareness by marketers of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). In addition, with the FTC’s increasing scrutiny and corresponding enforcement actions, as well as their recent proposed updates to the regulations, the issue of marketing to children in the digital world has gotten substantial publicity. As the world becomes more digital, the lines between marketing and advertising are blurring.
The social networking behemoth Facebook has encountered its share of privacy run-ins with federal regulators in the US and abroad, but even smaller social networking sites are under scrutiny for their data collection practices as a recent case from Georgia demonstrates.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 2000 was passed in response to a 1998 Federal Trade FTC report that highlighted the growing concern for children’s privacy on the internet. In particular, the FTC was concerned about the collection of data from children via websites, message boards and other online venues.
As marketers, we want good data about consumers so that we can craft meaningful and personalized messages. Consumers want marketers to help them filter out irrelevant information. Despite these well-matched objectives, marketers and consumers often hold different opinions on the role of privacy rights.