Microsoft Exec Prods Ad Industry Over Consumer Privacy

van-der-kooiPalm Springs, CA– A Microsoft advertising executive said Monday that consumers should be given more control over data about their online activities.

“Data gets bartered, traded, corralled, bought, sold and used in a myriad of different ways without one central actor being part of the conversation – and that is the user,” said Rik van der Kooi, corporate VP, advertiser and publisher solutions group at Microsoft, during the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual leadership meeting.

“We live in an age of digital feudalism. All value is accrued to the lords of the manor,” he said, quoting another executive.

Van der Kooi said businesses stand to benefit if they empower consumers – and let them know what information is collected about their website activities and how it’s being sold or exchanged. By doing this, businesses could earn a consumer’s trust – and a consumer might decide to share even more information with a brand.

He said the IAB’s decision to adopt a code of conduct is a good step forward, but the ad industry must continue to evaluate and update the code as technologies and online consumer behaviors evolve.

Three months ago, Microsoft said its new browser, IE 9, would enable consumers to limit the ability of third parties such as advertising companies and analytics providers to track users’ online behavior.

Some federal legislators are pushing for the passage of a do-not-track law that would give consumers a way to easily opt out of receiving behavioral targeted ads.


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