Some marketers argue that Big Data and the ability to build audience segments that allow brands to target ads on social and search platforms, along with publisher sites, across desktop and mobile devices has little or nothing to do with Edward Snowden's release of 58,000 classified U.S. government documents outlining the National Security Agency's massive information-collection system. As we now know, Prism, a top-secret program, gave the NSA direct access to back-end systems of Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and other U.S. Internet companies.
A presidential working group announced Thursday by the White House will examine how broad data collection and analysis, both private and public, affects privacy. John Podesta, a counselor to President Obama and former chief of staff to President Clinton, will lead the effort. The working group aims to identify areas where industry and government need to implement new policies that rein in technology and the business of collecting lots of data.
"We are undergoing a revolution in the way that information about our purchases, our conversations, our social networks, our movements, and even our physical identities are collected, stored, analyzed and used," Podesta writes. "The immense volume, diversity and potential value of data will have profound implications for privacy, the economy, and public policy. The working group will consider all those issues, and specifically how the present and future state of these technologies might motivate changes in our policies across a range of sectors."
In the next 90 days, Podesta and the working group, which involves The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), will issue a report anticipating future technology trends and frames key questions that the collection, availability, and use of data raises for government and private sectors.
The data Snowden leaked to the world really didn't have much to do with ad targeting, but it made consumers aware of the need to protect data online. Nothing but thoughts kept to yourself, remain private, and those who can read people well have a sense of even that through intent signals, gestures, body language and facial expressions.