The Great Data Race

Report: The Norwegian Data Protection Office has released an interesting report, The Great Data Race, on big data commercial use vs personal data challenges. It is out in Norwegian and very soon in English. Some main points:

  • If we lose control of our own personal information, we also lose the ability to define who we are ourselves. No sector in the world knows more about us than the advertising industry. At the same time, we have very little insight into how these companies use the information they have about us.TheGreatDataRace-NO
  • Privacy must not only give the individual protection against constant surveillance by the authorities, but also protect us against private companies monitoring everything we do. The individual is very small compared to a large corporation. Privacy legislation must redress some of this imbalance of power. Because the advertising industry is so lacking in transparency, however, individuals have limited opportunities to exercise their fundamental right to privacy in their dealings with it.
  • The report reveals that on average 43 different companies have a presence on Norwegian online newspapers and record what we do. Between 100 and 200 cookies were stored on our web browser when visiting the front page of six Norwegian newspapers. 87% of all Norwegian newspapers have installed one or more cookies from Google.
Recommendations
  • Publishers (such as newspapers) must take responsibility for the third-party players they allow access to their pages.
  • Companies engaged in the collection of personal data for profiling and marketing purposes must base the processing of the data on an active consent from the users
  • Publishers must give all users access to their services, including those who do not consent to their information being collected.
  • The privacy policies must be improved. They must be short and easy to follow, but must also include clear information about what data is collected, how it is processed and whether other players have access to the information.
  • Publishers, media agencies and advertisers must join forces to produce guidelines that may contribute to greater openness and transparency about the nature of targeted advertising.
Read the report to understand;
  • The system for selling ad space in real time on ad exchanges is referred to as «real time bidding».
  • An ad exchange is a marketplace for the purchase and sale of advertising space, working in accordance with the same principles as stock exchanges.
  • Data brokers are companies that collect consumers’ personal data and resell or share that information with others.
  • Various types of tracking technology like Cookies, IP address, web beacons and device fingerprints
  • How user profiles are built up by demographic, location and technical data
  • The Norwegian Personal Data Act and its strengths and weaknesses, and the coming EU Data Protection regulation that will probably be incorporated straight into Norwegian law.

Read the report in Norwegian here.

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