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With the DMA announcing their new one million dollar PR campaign “Data-Driven Marketing Institute,” the question of privacy and rules around customer data has become a greater focus of some of the panels this morning. Jordon Cohen of Moveable Ink, brought up the headline "Target knows a teenage girl is pregnant before her own father does" and posed the question: have we finally gone too far?
For those of you who didn't read this headline in February, an irate father charged into a Target store demanding they stop targeting his teenage daughter with emails full of baby products because she wasn't pregnant. It turns out Target was right, and the father was wrong. She was pregnant and her shift in product purchase at Target made the marketers behind the brand know of her news before any of the world may have known.
Jason Scoggins of Freshpair stressed that targeting has to go through a "creep" filter and in the case of the Target example, they went too far.
For large organizations like the BBC, ignoring the recently-enacted EU cookie law probably isn't a viable option. Despite the headaches associated with implementing a solution, the threat of legal actions and fines probably outweighs the costs of compliance.
It's a different story for entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses, some of whom indicated a willingness to flout the law until given a reason to reconsider.
Antitrust regulators in Europe have Google in their sights. In November 2010, the European Commission opened an informal investigation into the search giant to determine if it is abusing its position in the market.
The investigation covers everything from the company's treatment of competitors' search results to its new social network Google+. Normally, antitrust investigations like this take years to complete, but it appears that the EU may be moving much more quickly than normal.
The European Commission has today announced plans for an open data strategy that will require all EU countries to make public data available in digital formats.
Led by digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes, this includes everything that public bodies produce, collect or pay for, such as geographical data, statistics, meteorological data or anything derived from publicly-funded research projects.
Facebook is the world's largest social networking company and widely considered to be one of the most powerful internet companies in the world.
So powerful is Facebook that many observers see it as a potential threat to entrenched players like Google.
Despite Facebook's power, size and revenue, however, it remains privately-held thanks in large part to co-founder Mark Zuckerberg's desire to keep the company free from external influences which might be distracting and harmful.
But that soon could be changing according to the Wall Street Journal, which is reporting that the Palo Alto-based company is prepping an IPO in the second quarter of 2012.
If you're a big tech company, chances are the EU isn't your friend. Why? Just ask Intel or Microsoft. Targeted by the EU for antitrust violations, combined both companies have been forced to pay billions of dollars in fines. Other companies, like Oracle and Qualcomm, have faced EU antitrust scrutiny as well, but who eventually managed to escape with only a few minor bruises.
So it's probably no surprise that the EU is now eyeing another tech giant: Google.
To appease the European Commission in its pending antitrust case over the tying of Internet Explorer and Windows, Microsoft initially planned to release a version of Windows 7 in Europe that would be browser-free. That would ensure that consumers had the ability to choose a browser freely.
But a couple of weeks ago, Microsoft reversed course and proposed an alternative solution: a "ballot screen" that would enable consumers in the EU to select their browser of choice.
I'm not one to write incendiary headlines and I'm not exactly partial to the taste of linkbait.
But after reading a few quotes attributed to Google co-founder Larry Page, I couldn't think of another headline so at the risk of going too far, I decided to stick with "Google's Larry Page is crazy".
When it comes to software, should consumers be entitled to the same protections they receive when purchasing physical products?
If two European Commission Commissioners have their way, consumers will.