November 26, 2007
Reuters reports that the EU is planning to look into targeted web advertising with increased scrutiny. They’re concerned about the increasing risk to privacy and protection of data that some of the new advertising developments bring with them. The Article 29 working party will be looking into the issues, that’s the same working party who got Google to limit the amount of time it stores web searches to 18 months.
This potentially doesn’t bode very well for companies like Facebook. Their new beacon advertising system is getting enough scrutiny from users, the last thing they need is someone official looking into it too. This also doesn’t bode too well for the Google-DoubleClick acquisition.
November 19, 2007
Apple has a reputation of being a fair and open company and has acquired a massive die hard fan base thanks to this approach. They are seen as one of the good companies compared to others such as Microsoft (and sometimes Google).
However, they’ve not been doing themselves any favours of late…
First they crippled peoples iPhones when they tried to update, hack or unlock them. I can understand the desire to do this but it’s fairly narrow minded and unnecessarily antagonises the types of customers they rely on as a tech company.
Now they’ve committed what to me is a cardinal sin. According to Techcrunch there is a feature in the iPhone which sends data back to Apple all the time. This data includes IP address, stock quote preferences and other preference data, worst of all though it sends the IMEI number for the users phone back as well.
Now an IMEI is one of those rare bits of data which can instantly be linked to a person, unlike things like IP address which are more transient and changeable. This means that Apple could be building a profile for all it’s iPhone users with more than just who they are and the fact they own an iPhone. This could contain data that would be hugely attractive to advertisers around the globe.
So could Apple be planning a Facebook? Possibly. Are they harvesting information on their users? Undoubtedly, yes they are. What they plan to do with that data is anyones guess at the moment but Apple should expect to receive some backlash from their customers for this as it seems a breach of privacy to me.
Update – 20th Nov: The latest from Techcrunch is that this isn’t 100% true, apparently the iPhone doesn’t send an IMEI back to home base.