Headline Oct 16, 2014/



MANY PEOPLE give scarcely a thought to being electronically snooped as they browse, but some object furiously.

DATA on people's online behaviour are worth paying and arguing over: Here goes:

An old saw has it that half of all advertising budgets are wasted  -the trouble is, no one knows which half.

In the Internet age, at least in theory, this fraction can be much reduced.

By watching what people search for, click on and say online, companies can aim ''behavioural'' ads at those most likely to buy.

In the last two years, three deal and quarrel has illustrated the value to advertisers (and their suppliers of software)  of such fine-grained information. The first deal came when  Oracle  said it was buying:  

Virtue,- which helps firms run their marketing on social media, for a reported $300 million. Later it added   Collective Intellect,  which analyses what people say about companies on Facebook, Twitter and so forth.

Just earlier, Salesforce-com, a cloud computing company mustard keen on social media, had said it would pay $689 million  for  Buddy Media, a competitor of Virtue's.

Buddy should fit in with Radian 6, which, like Collective Intellect, monitors social media  -and for which Salesforce had paid  $326 million.

The quarrel at the time,  was latest round in a long running argument. Should advertisers assume that people are happy to be tracked and sent behavioural ads?  Or should they have explicit information?

In December  2010,  -America's Federal Trade Commission proposed adding a ''do not track''   DNT  option to Internet Browsers, so that users could tell advertisers that they do not want to be followed.

Mozilla's Firefox, Microsoft's  Internet Explorer and Apple's Safari all offer  DNT; Google's Chrome was also planned to follow. 

In February, 2012,  the FTC and the Digital Advertising Alliance  (DAA), a consortium of trade bodies, agreed that the industry would get cracking on responding to DNT request.

In the European Union a new rule requires websites to ask before using  ''cookies'' to gather data about users behaviour.

On May 31st,  2012, Microsoft set off a row. It said that Internet Explorer 10, the version due to appear with Windows 8, a new incarnation of the software's firm's operating system, would have  DNT  as a default.

Advertisers are horrified. Human nature being what it is, most people stick with default settings. Few switch  DNT  on now, but if tracking is off it will stay off.

Also unclear at the time was why Microsoft had gone it alone. After all, it has an add business too, which it said would comply with DNT requests, though it is still working out how.

If it was trying to rile Google, which relies almost wholly on advertising, it had chosen an indirect method: there is still no guarantee that  DNT by default will become the norm.

DNT does not seem an obviously huge selling point for Windows 8  -though the firm has compared some of its other products favourably with Google's on that count before.

Brendon Lynch, Microsoft's chief privacy officer, blogged : ''We believe consumers should have more control.''

Could it really be that simple?

With respectful dedication to all the Students of the world. See Ya all on !WOW! -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' The Honour Of Privacy '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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