May 5, 2011

To Track or Not To Track: When is Privacy Compromised?

I have just read an article on the Internet Privacy Legislation and how companies are incensed over it. Fact of the matter is, online advertising by search has grown since 2006. More businesses are taken by the social media hype and search engine optimization has become the norm for online businesses. The California Senate Judiciary Committee have already approved the so-called "do not track" bill. This bill promises to protect privacy rights and the reason why companies such as Google, the California Chamber of Commerce and the Motion Picture Association of America oppose this bill is because of the concern that online advertising would suffer. 

According to the legislation, people would be given a way to request a "do not track" message from their browsers. For example, a person searches for terms using their favored search engines. If this user is from California, they are given an option to not be tracked. Meaning, their searches would not be seen as websites are required to honor this request. Companies could track searches so that they could target advertisements which are relevant to the searches made. It's all about optimization. Even bloggers use keyword searches to gain more traffic to their sites. With the implementation of this bill, that can't be done anymore unless people don't request a "do not track" option. While it is great that measures are being taken to ensure the privacy of consumers, business owners are wary of this bill as it might pose a problem in internet commerce. 

With the passing of the Internet Privacy Legislation in California, there are hopes that it would help in moving the federal bill, of the same nature, forward. Privacy is very important and people are realizing it now more than ever. In my opinion, search terms of internet users may still be tracked but there should limitations (as with everything else). Personal, sensitive information should be protected at all costs but the innocent searches on search engines may still be tracked as this is part of smart marketing for online businesses.

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