23 Jan 2014
OII Professor Ian Brown discusses online behavioural advertising at the 2014 Computers, Privacy, and Data Protection conference. Brown explored more specifically the manner in which tracking technology used to profile individual users for targeted advertising still continues despite the broad political debates regarding the Snowden revelations. He reminds viewers that the NSA employs tracking techniques from cookies and gains access to smartphone location data through smartphone apps and location-based advertising. Furthermore, even though one can encrypt data flows between end-user devices and publishers, this action does not stop intelligence agencies from compelling the production of the data from companies in the end. Brown concludes by arguing that technologists are able to and should build systems that allow targeted advertising without supplying data to first party websites or a third party publishing network. He labels this system ‘privacy-friendly targeted advertising’, a decentralised approach that would allow the user to directly limit his or her profile and then permit the software to respond and makes decisions regarding which advertising to accept based on the preferences listed.