So delivering products in the industry that I do, privacy is always on the agenda. So I thought I’d dive into what Google knows about me today.
Firstly, 50% of the world’s top 1,000,000 sites by traffic have Google analytics tags on them. So every second page I see on average, Google sees me seeing.
I’ve previously written about about my fundamental believe that most people don’t care about privacy – unless we remind them they should care. I’ve also agreed that doesn’t equate to having a free ride with people’s privacy. I’d be the first to object. But every so often, I get a another piece of evidence that tips the scales in favor of my theory…
Alex Kelleher, citizen #5948263917322
The US government is pitching that consumers online will benefit from having secure IDs, to “conduct business safely online”.
Cunningly calling it the “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace”, the government is at pains to point out that it is a public-private partnership. Oh great, so that means it will be outsourced to Google…
When IE Version 2 launched in 1995, they introduced support for cookies. From that day onwards, people worried about privacy.
Originally, Tim Berners-Lee had intended a “stateless” internet - one request, one outcome. Of course, that meant no commerce, no tracking and no personalization. Shortly afterwards, and for these very reasons, Netscape released cookies into their browser in 1994, closely followed by IE. It still took a while for the mainstream press to catch (sparked by an article in the Financial Times in February 1996).
Fast forward 15 years (during which every year was the year that they were about to ban the cookie), and the latest attempt to prevent over-zealous tracking: Internet Explorer (which still has over 55% of the browser market share) will introduce “Tracking Protection” to its V9 browser.
It seems that the death of privacy is greatly exaggerated. The latest stat to come out of the Digital Advertising Alliance (though an accredited partner) is that 1 in 700,000 “users” actually choose to opt-out – equating to an opt-out rate of 0.00014%. Now, there are lots of reasons why the number of people who are concerned might not be reflected by that, including:
- Lack of knowledge about how to opt out
- Not being aware of being targeted in the first place
- General lack of time/inertia