It has finally happened – privacy now transcends Facebook. Potential congressional legislation spearheaded by Virginia Democrat, Representative Rick Boucher, would require ad networks to obtain user consent to track their third party activity by way of an opt-in option. Ad agencies are understandably miffed by Boucher’s proposal fearing it will stifle their ability to market brands and services in what has always been a free-flowing Internet.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is also up in arms over the proposed legislation, especially the section that calls for consumer consent when agencies collect information via cookies, IP addresses or unique user names. On the flipside, consumer groups fear the legislation does not go far enough instituting protections. In this curious game of privacy ‘He said, she said’, one must ask why this is a relevant political hot potato.
Rick Boucher uses Twitter. He is on Facebook. How can someone clearly trying to benefit from social media, so-called privacy infringing social media, be so hell bent on passing this type of bill? Welcome to campaign season. Representative Boucher is facing a serious challenge to his seat. Positioning himself as a champion of the people could serve him well in his campaign. Considering Facebook came out of its privacy battle relatively unscathed, Boucher’s fight could help him without adversely impacting the digital landscape.
Interactive should take a collective deep breath. In a world where people routinely divulge their location via mass tweet or subscribe to mobile applications trading personal info for a great deal on designer shoes, Boucher’s bill – pass or no pass – will go a long way toward eventually killing itself.