A look at how companies try to reach potential customers.
Data, data, data. Who’s got it? Tech giants like Google and Facebook, who provide a service directly to their users, and then use that data for ad targeting. It’s why they are dominating online advertising today. Who doesn’t? A traditional media giant like Time Warner, which owns brands like HBO and CNN, but which doesn’t have a direct connection with viewers because it sells its channels through a cable provider. That, in essence, is why Time Warner has agreed to sell itself to AT&T — a company that has a direct link with consumers — Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said.
[Commentary] The BROWSER Act would establish affirmative consent (“opt in”) requirements for the collection and use of certain data, such as location and web browsing histories. In addition, the bill would restrict companies from conditioning access to their services on whether users choose to share their data. If adopted, these policies would be a disaster for Internet users and companies. First, obtaining consent is expensive. Second, requiring companies to obtain affirmative consent would make digital services less user-friendly without increasing privacy. Third, the bill requires providers to allow users to remove their data whenever they wish. Finally, the bill prohibits service providers from refusing to provide service as a “direct or indirect consequence of the refusal of a user to waive any such privacy rights.” Congress should reject this legislation, or any similar proposal that attempts to impose opt-in requirements on the digital economy.