New Ad Targeting Options May Fuel Privacy Worries

Both MediaPost and AdAge have stories on a session at Ad:Tech yesterday on a panel about how search engines are starting to target ads more on personal behavior and touching a bit on the privacy backlash that might bring.

John Battelle was on the panel and talked about how privacy policies on how data is used seem unclear. Gary Stein who heard the panel thought John's idea that people for a transparent system where people can view information stored on them and edit it might be too complex.

Then again, maybe not. If you could view the profile used to target you at Yahoo, Google, etc and delete or expunge it, that might be reassuring. However, that might not wipe out the underlying data (IP address, search queries and other material from logs) and not be reassuring enough to privacy advocates.

I've touched on in various places that I'd like to see some type of "Search Privacy Bill Of Rights," a topic I hope to get back to in the near future. At the very least, I'd like to see common concerns spelled out very clearly along with a common language that all search engines would use to explain where you stand on them.

How Should Search Engines Protect Privacy? in our Search Engine Watch Forums covers this more, and I'd love to hear your comments there, as well.

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Danny Sullivan was the founder and editor of Search Engine Watch from June 1997 until November 2006.

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