Is privacy a recent fiction or a neglected human right?

Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist, Vint Cerf, recently spoke at the FTC’s Internet of Things Workshop where he suggested that privacy is a recent construct our society created when technology made it possible. Is privacy an anomaly, as he suggests, or is it an important right which technology has enabled and which we are neglecting to the point where we are negating it so we can share more stuff with each other?

PPC Lead Generation’s Privacy Risks

PPC lead generation is a search-based lead generation technique which leverages search terms to surface (preferably) relevant ads in search results. When you click on those ads you are often taken to landing pages where you have the option of submitting your details to a company so it can get in touch with you about its products and services. It’s a pretty smart marketing option because it begins with the premise that you are searching for what the company offers. It is also a potentially risky proposition for brands that fail to implement adequate privacy protections.

You are a soldier in Google’s Cold War with Facebook for social dominance

The underlying dynamic that likely drives Facebook’s and Google’s amendments to their policy and terms frameworks is that we users tend to place more value on recommendations from our friends and family. Facebook and Google’s advertising and promotional models (as well as a number of other services that personalise ads) are increasingly designed to manufacture these recommendations using our activities on the various services without the need for us to actively apply our minds to what we are recommending and what we choose not to. At the moment, the dominant model is one in which we choose to signify our approval of a brand, product or service by Liking or +1’ing it. These changes start to make those actions less important as a recommendation signal and are made possible through contractual models which include privacy policy frameworks and terms and conditions.

Consent for Direct Marketing Under POPI

The Protection of Personal Information Act has particular interest for direct marketers because of the likely substantial impact the legislation will have on consumer-facing initiatives when it goes into effect. POPI has a section that deals specifically with and introduces a consent model designed for direct marketing. It is an interesting model and I’ll explain why in this post.

Facebook Graph Search won’t change your privacy settings

Facebook is launching its Graph Search product shortly and one of the questions a number of people have asked is how this new feature affects their privacy on Facebook? The main concern many people have is that Graph Search will enable other users who are not necessarily their friends to locate them and discover previously restricted information about them. Fortunately this is not likely to be the case. Facebook, as with other major services, has become far more sensitive to users’ concerns and has taken a few steps to reassure users.

LinkedIn’s expanded and more intelligible privacy policy

LinkedIn recently announced an update to its privacy policy and user agreement in a blog post titled Updating LinkedIn’s Privacy Policy. Although LinkedIn updated the user agreement too, the emphasis was more on updates to its privacy policy. The new policy expands on a number of issues and reinforces the extent to which users needs to take responsibility for their actions when using the service.

The Path to the spam Dark Side is paved with lawyers’ wishful thinking

Planning for the Protection of Personal Information Act is not a small endeavour and taking shortcuts to preserve current business models may turn out to be disastrously short-sighted in the year or two ahead. My colleagues may be correct in their approach and their clients may be able to adopt a relatively liberal interpretation of the Protection of Personal Information Act and its implementation. I have a different take on how the Act will apply, especially given its broader role as substance for the Constitutional right to privacy. Going beyond the Act’s interpretation and application by the proposed Regulator and Courts, the risk of being too careless with consumers’ personal information could have even more dire consequences for brands than legal non-compliance. 

Introducing POPI’s processing conditions

There is a lot more to the anticipated Protection of Personal Information Act and, in this post, I’d like to introduce you to what are known as “Conditions for lawful processing of personal information”. These conditions effectively operate as processing parameters and will have a relatively subtle but substantial impact on direct marketing because they limit the scope of what personal information can be processed and for how long.

Processing, personal information and direct marketing under POPI

Consent, while critical, just scratches the surface of the Protection of Personal Information Bill. There is a lot more to the anticipated Protection of Personal Information Act and, in this post, I’d like to give you an overview of two further important terms used in the Protection of Personal Information Bill, namely “personal information” and “processing”.