For the last decade, Web companies have insisted that behavioral targeting, or tracking consumers online and serving them ads based on their presumed interests, will benefit both consumers and marketers. Yet a new study released today by professors at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication and the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law debunks the notion that consumers don't object to online ad targeting. On the contrary, the researchers found that two out of three Web users don't want customized ads.
Consider this scenario: A bank employee mistakenly leaves a message with confidential information about customers on the wrong person's voicemail. The next day the bank realizes its mistake and leaves a second message asking the customer to delete the first. If the bank didn't get a response, could it drag the phone company into court and get an order disconnecting the user's phone service? It's hard to imagine that the answer would be yes. Yet federal district court judge James Ware in California had no problem ordering that Google deactivate a user's Gmail account in a similar situation.
Earlier this decade, when The New York Times tried to take some content behind a paid wall for its Times Select initiative, the paper started with its own columnists like Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich.
Many people are scratching their heads at a federal judge's order telling Google to deactivate the account of a user who was mistakenly sent an email with confidential financial information.
Whenever people debate whether newspapers should charge for online content, one of the first points raised is that any individual newspaper that does so will likely place itself at a disadvantage to all the other papers that continue to offer material for free. Some commenters have suggested that the solution to this problem is for all newspapers to start charging for content. But even if every paper in the country was so inclined, there's still a problem: Newspaper executives would likely violate antitrust laws by collectively agreeing to put content behind a paid wall. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) raised this …
The Federal Communications Commission has asked an appellate court to rule that the agency had the authority to sanction Comcast for violating neutrality principles by blocking peer-to-peer traffic.
In the annals of misdirected emails, this one's particularly embarrassing. On Aug. 12, the Rocky Mountain Bank in Wilson, Wyo. attempted to send information about a customer's loan to his/her representative via email. Instead, the bank sent a message to the wrong Gmail address. Worse, the message included an attachment with the names, addresses, social security numbers and loan information of 1,325 other customers.
Before Julius Genachowski took the helm of the Federal Communications Commission, he frequently touted the importance of net neutrality. Today, he made good on his statements by proposing the agency formally create neutrality rules.
New lawsuits against Second Life and Twitter are calling attention to one of the biggest unanswered questions involving digital media: How far must Web companies go to police their sites for trademark infringement?
The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said today that he has signed on as a co-sponsor of a pending net neutrality bill.