Current State: Surveillance Advertising

by Joy Brazelle

I suspect we are going to see many more terms like surveillance advertising in the future as non-tech savvy folks have a say in what should be fair and just in terms of privacy.

“The ‘surveillance advertising’ business model is premised on the unseemly collection and hoarding of personal data to enable ad targeting,”

I am not suggesting that this definition is 100% wrong – nor am I suggesting it is factually correct. Nor am I suggesting it is right. The problem with a lot of the coverage of the current state of privacy, ‘tracking’ and analytics is that it is a blend of semi-understanding of the facts and technology and a hearty dose of opinion and posturing…

“This pernicious practice allows online platforms to chase user engagement at great cost to our society, and it fuels disinformation, discrimination, voter suppression, privacy abuses, and so many other harms.”

My point, beyond sharing my opinion and posturing, is that I foresee (if I can, and as part of my predictions for 2022) the repercussions of violations of privacy regulations are soon upon us – the problem is the interpretation of what this actually means.

Both Google and the IAB shared opinions on why this potential ban is a terrible idea.

But I guess my biggest problem with this all out ‘gloves off’ approach to throwing the first punch – introducing the bill under the premise of seemingly political platitudes…

“Disinformation, discrimination, voter suppression, privacy abuses,” were cited by California Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, the lead sponsor of the bill, as the reasoning behind the bill.

“The hoarding of people’s personal data not only abuses privacy, but also drives the spread of misinformation, domestic extremism, racial division, and violence,” Booker stated.

And the somewhat over the top defense of why this is a terrible idea, 

“The bill would lower the quality of search results and reduce the accuracy of ad targeting. In a blog post, Google said the bill, if passed, would prevent the ability to serve up directions from Google Maps in search results; provide answers to urgent questions; prohibited from highlighting information gathered about hours of operation, contact information, and reviews.

The bill would also hurt small businesses and local retailers, as well as companies using Gmail, Calendar, and Docs if not allowed to integrate or work together — and customers.”

I feel like what needs to happen is that both sides actually understand what each other is saying, the people who report on these topics need to have this understanding too. And there needs to be smart, helpful conversations about these important topics. Just sayin’

Joy Brazelle

Solutions Lead

I’ve spent over 18 years helping clients use analytics to improve the performance of their websites , SEO, paid search and other marketing programs, with a brief detour to the FinTech worlds to see how alternative payment options impact the very, very bottom of the funnel.

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