By: Jeff Chester | Nov 1 2022
Televisions now view and analyze us—the programs we watch, what shows we click on to consider or save, and the content reflected on the “glass” of our screens. On “smart” or connected TVs, streaming TV applications have been engineered to fully deliver the forces of commercial surveillance.
By: Jeff Chester | Oct 14 2022
Alcohol Marketers are now big data companies. They are also commercial surveillance marketing enterprises, which is how data driven digital marketing is increasingly described by regulators and critics. Like many other global industries, alcohol marketing uses an ever expanding set of diverse and sophisticated online and offline techniques designed to identify and deeply influence its target audiences. Alcoholic beverage companies have broadly adopted the business model and tactics perfected by Google, Meta/Facebook, and Amazon.
By: Jeff Chester | Jun 30 2022
Last week, the leading global advertisers, online platforms and data marketers gathered for the most important awards given by the ad industry—the “Cannes Lions.” Reviewing the winners and the “shortlist” of runners-up—competing in categories such as “Creative Data,” “Social and Influencer,” “Brand Experience & Activation,” “Creative Commerce” and “Mobile”—is essential to learn where the data-
By: Jeff Chester | Mar 22 2022
Microsoft is rapidly expanding its surveillance advertising complex—first acquiring AT&T’s powerful Xandr targeting system last December, and adding a few weeks later the online gaming and eSports giant Activision Blizzard.
By: Jeff Chester | Oct 17 2021
For decades, the U.S. has allowed private actors to basically create the rules regarding how our data is gathered and used online. A key reason that we do not have any real privacy for digital media is precisely because it has principally been online marketing interests that have shaped how the devices, platforms and applications we use ensnare us in the commercial surveillance complex.
By: Jeff Chester | Sep 22 2021
There is a digital data “gold rush” fever sweeping the data and marketing industry, as the quest to find ways to use data to determine a person’s “identity” for online marketing becomes paramount. This is triggered, in part, by the moves made by Google and others to replace “cookies” and other online identifiers with new, allegedly pro-privacy data-profiling methods to get the same results. We’ve addressed this privacy charade in other posts.
By: Jeff Chester | Aug 10 2021
Online grocery shopping became a pandemic response necessity for those who could afford it, with revenues to exceed $100 billion in 2021. Leading supermarket chains such as Kroger, big box stores like Walmart, online specialist companies such as Instacart, and the ubiquitous Amazon, have all experienced greater demand from the public to have groceries ordered and then quickly delivered or available for pick up.
By: Jeff Chester | Jul 13 2021
The Trade Desk is a leading AdTech company, providing data-driven digital advertising services to major brands and agencies.
By: Jeff Chester | Mar 11 2021
Contextual Advertising—Now Driven by AI and Machine Learning—Requires Regulatory Review for Privacy and Marketing Fairness
What’s known as contextual advertising is receiving a big boost from marketers and some policymakers, who claim that it provides a more privacy-friendly alternative to the dominant global surveillance-based “behavioral” marketing model. Google’s plans to eliminate cookies and other third-party trackers used for much of online ad delivery are also spurring greater interest in contextual marketing, which is being touted especially as safe for children.
By: Jeffrey Chester | Feb 18 2021
The Whole World will Still be Watching You:
Google & Digital Marketing Industry “Death-of-the-Cookie” Privacy Initiatives Require Scrutiny from Public Policymakers
By: Katharina Kopp | Sep 24 2020
The Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) announced today its opposition to the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), also known as Proposition 24, which will appear on the November 2020 California general election ballot. CDD has concluded that Prop 24 does not sufficiently strengthen Californians’ privacy and may, in fact, set a new, low, and thus dangerous standard for privacy protection in the U.S.
Apr 2 2020
Joint civil society statement: States use of digital surveillance technologies to fight pandemic must respect human rights 2 April 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is a global public health emergency that requires a coordinated and large-scale response by governments worldwide. However, States’ efforts to contain the virus must not be used as a cover to usher in a new era of greatly expanded systems of invasive digital surveillance.
Mar 31 2020
By Jeffrey Chester
The COVID-19 pandemic is a profound global public health crisis that requires our upmost attention: to stem its deadly tide and rebuild the global health system so we do not experience such a dire situation in the future. It also demands that we ensure the U.S. has a digital media system that is democratic, accountable, and one that both provides public services and protects privacy.
By: Jeff Chester | Feb 7 2020
Google’s (i.e., Alphabet, Inc.) proposed acquisition of Fitbit, a leading health wearable device company, is just one more piece illustrating how the company is actively engaged in shaping the future of public health.
By: Jeff Chester | Jan 15 2020
A new report on how political marketing insiders and platforms such as Facebook view the “ethical” issues raised by the role of digital marketing in elections illustrates why advocates and others concerned about election integrity should make this issue a public-policy priority. We cannot afford to leave it in the hands of “Politech” firms and political campaign professionals, who appear unable to acknowledge the consequences to democracy of their unfettered use of powerful data-driven online-marketing applications.
Nov 27 2019
In the aftermath of Google’s settlement with the FTC over its COPPA violations, some independent content producers on YouTube have expressed unhappiness with the decision. They are unclear how to comply with COPPA, and believe their revenue will diminish considerably.
Nov 20 2019
Big Tech companies are lobbying to undermine the only federal online privacy law in the US – one which protects children--and we need your help to stop them. Along with the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), we ask for your help to urge the Federal Trade Commission to strengthen—not weaken—the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Please sign this petition because your voice is essential to a future where children’s privacy is protected from marketers and others.
Oct 8 2019
Most parents can tell you the most popular website for kids is YouTube. But for years, while Google made millions luring children to YouTube, vacuuming up their sensitive information, and using it to target them with ads, Google told the Big Lie: “YouTube is not for kids. It says so right in our terms of service.”
That has now changed, thanks to the advocacy of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) and the support of a coalition of advocacy groups.
By: Jeff Chester | Sep 11 2019
I played a key role helping get the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) passed by Congress in 1998 (when I was executive director of the Center for Media Education). Since then, I have tried to ensure that the country’s only federal law addressing commercial privacy online was taken seriously.
By: Jeff Chester | Aug 2 2019