Tuesday, October 25, 2011
E-Privacy: The Way the Cookie Crumbles
Photo Provided by: Pete Taylor on Flickr
Internet users have expressed an interest in protecting their personal information. Google Inc.’s Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, said some pretty scary stuff in a 2010 interview with The Wall Street Journal concerning the lack of privacy on the Internet. “[W]e [at Google] know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are." “It will be very hard for people to watch or consume something that has not in some sense been tailored for them.” The EU has responded to these concerns with multiple Directives that are representative of value Europe places in protecting individual privacy.
Companies with websites are not yet sure how to comply with the new regulations. There are worries about how to actually implement the directive. If a website is forced to comply with the directive, operators will have to spend a lot of time and resources to make the changes.
If websites can no longer track user behavior, web operators will have to make uninformed, wild guesses about the best user experience. Being prevented from tracking user interests will prevent tailoring the experience and will result in less relevant and individually interesting user experience. The directive is overly broad. It should be limited to tracking individuals, but not include tracking users as a whole.
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