The recent spate of regulations that have been passed in many countries may give confidence to the public about the privacy of their data. However, unfortunately, there have been attempts by a section of those in the industry to water down the regulations. The recent privacy laws of California are an example. Destined to take effect from Jan 1, 2020, the law (AB 35) is intended to protect the privacy of citizens.
The Association of National Advertisers, however, has other plans in mind. The organization, claims to be the voice of the marketer and represents around 25000 brands of more than 2000 companies. The organization, represented by its office bearers seems to speak in voices – one in public and the other among themselves in private.
There are efforts on the sidelines that are playing out a plan to dilute the proposed privacy law. The association brought out a report for its members, titled, Know Your Audience: The Evolution of Identity in a Consumer-Centric Marketplace. The report speaks of ‘identity solutions’. Couched in jargon, and phrases that only a true blood marketer would understand, it called for the members to collectively compile and collate information about customers from every single conceivable source. The idea is to sell products to consumers with just in time marketing by understanding everything about them from all touchpoints used by the customers for transactions.
The Centre for Digital Democracy, a privacy advocacy group highlights the issues. Jeff Chester, the Executive Director of the group spoke of how the marketers are seeking to undermine the law. Chester said, “Marketers can now bring together all the data flowing from all devices, merging online and offline information to create a super profile used to track and target customers.” He elaborated that the marketers are working of powerful ways to collect, analyze and use the compiled information for marketing. Which means that the marketers have methods by which they can identify a person, regardless of the device used, which will give them pinpoint information that the person of interest is the same even if he or she is on a different device or phone. The report calls upon marketers to build ID consortiums that collate the information from various resources into a centralized pool. This is clearly an attempt to subvert the proposed law.