are more concerned about online privacy now than before the recent revelations about National Security Agency's extensive surveillance efforts, according to a new study by Omnicom's data marketing
Last month, 57% of Web users surveyed by Annalect said they were “concerned” or “very concerned” about online privacy. But in June, only 48% of
surveyed Web users said the same, according to Annalect. The company attributes that increase to news that broke in June about the NSA capturing metadata associated with telephone calls, as well as
the substance of emails (and other content) sent by some Web users.
Almost one in three Web users -- 31% -- specifically said the NSA revelations had prompted them to take steps to protect
their privacy, such as by editing social media profiles, using different search engines or blocking cookies.
Those activities won't necessarily affect the NSA's data collection. But they
indicate that consumers are trying to assert control over their data, says Omnicom senior counsel Stephen Kline. “Consumers take whatever actions they think they can,” Kline says.
Annalect says in its report that if consumers continue to block cookies -- or if Mozilla follows through with its plan to disable third-party cookies automatically -- advertisers might need to
“develop other means to quantify digital business practices.”
Adam Gitlin, global managing director for digital analytics at Annalect's data group, adds that cookies are only
one approach to measurement. “As has been the case with the industry for decades, we'll continue to evolve how we measure and triangulate consumer consumption patterns and campaign
performance,” he tells Online Media Daily
. “I would never expect there to be a single bullet for how we measure success, no matter what the medium.”
that Annalect is “looking at all possibilities” for tracking people without cookies.
Other digital marketing executives have floated the idea of turning to “device
fingerprinting” -- which relies on tracking people by the characteristics associated with people's computers, including their operating systems, time zones, screen size, and installed
Annalect surveys 700 Web users every month for its reports on privacy.