This article strikes me as another slow drumbeat on an issue that has to be both frustrating and impossible to own for Google. The headline: “Some Web Firms Say They Track Behavior Without Explicit Consent” implies ulterior motives and wrongdoing. In fact, it’s standard operating procedure for companies who run ad networks, and has been for a very long time. However, now that the guv’mint is involved, SOP is no longer AOK. The lede:
Several Internet and broadband companies have acknowledged using targeted-advertising technology without explicitly informing customers, according to letters released yesterday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
And Google, the leading online advertiser, stated that it has begun using Internet tracking technology that enables it to more precisely follow Web-surfing behavior across affiliated sites.
Or, put another way, Google bought DoubleClick, and DoubleClick uses tracking cookies. Yawn, right? Except….the rest of the world is catching on to the Database of Intentions, and the dialog as to what it means is just getting under way. The heat is being turned up, slowly but surely, and Google has to be careful to not be seen as the water in a boiling frog syndrome.
Here are the documents from the House Committee investigating online data practices.