CDD Filings Digital Citizen

  • Today, CDD filed Comments (link is external) in the FTC's forthcoming (link is external)"Mobile Device Tracking" workshop (link is external) (Feb. 19) on mobile and retail tracking. As we explain (excerpt): While it is important to examine the individual components of what is an increasingly pervasive and unregulated source of commercial surveillance in the “Big Data” era, such as in-store tracking of consumers, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) must place this one use of mobile tracking in a larger context. Such tracking is but one part of a more elaborate and increasingly seamless “always-on” collection apparatus that operates across devices and user experiences. This surveillance is invisible to most consumers and connected to a range of other practices such as “hyper-local” targeting, multi-screen tracking, and data broker-driven offline and online “connected recognition” and data on-boarding services. Current self-regulatory approaches are ineffective and do a disservice to consumers by falsely claiming to provide privacy protection and user control. The FTC should issue a set of recommendations to govern cross-platform marketing that includes mobile devices. This is urgently required as intrusive geo-locational data-gathering practices, some of which raise concerns about the potential for new forms of “digital redlining” and other discriminatory practices, dramatically expand during the next few years. We believe it is especially important for the FTC to examine how geo-location tracking is being used to identify people by race, ethnicity, economic class, and by their age (such as young people and seniors). The FTC should also reiterate its call for Congress to enact meaningful omnibus privacy legislation.... Today, consumer profiles are developed that include so-called first-, second-, and third-party data, linking our online and offline selves. This filing will not address the purposeful and disingenuous claim that such data profiles of individuals are “anonymous.” It is not the case, and the commission should reject such absurd claims. Companies say much of what they now do is “privacy compliant,” hiding behind the falsehood that cookies and all the other ways they collect and analyze data aren’t linked to an actual person. Such distortions should not be tolerated. Real people are being tracked and targeted.... The growth of hyper-local targeting is spurring new forms of segmentation of individuals and their distinct communities. The country is being broken up into highly discrete areas that are mapped to identify unique characteristics—beyond actual location. The use of these so-called “tiles” raises profound concerns. For example, PlaceIQ explains that “What we do is map data from multiple sources onto a grid of tiles that cover every square foot of the US. Each tile is 100 meters by 100 meters, and we inject third-party demographic information about that area into the tile, as well as data on what’s physically located there—points of interest like parks and airports, tourist attractions, retailers, stadiums, and so forth. Then, we connect that data with where a mobile device is in real time, or where it has recently been, to build unique audience segments for brands to target.”... The use of geo-fencing, “geobehavioral targeting,” “geo-cookies” and the role of location analytics, especially when integrated into broader data gathering, requires action by the FTC. As we will document for the forthcoming “Alternative Scoring Products” workshop, geo-location data are being made actionable at real-time events as well as used to make a range of critical decisions about an individual (whether they are credit worthy, seeking some product or service linked to sensitive concerns, etc.). These privacy and consumer-protection concerns extend beyond the individual to their communities and neighborhoods as well. The commission should examine the impact location-driven data gathering has on the financial health and consumer well-being of distinct communities, especially those in which its residents may suffer economically or due to other factors (such as age). CDD will soon be filing on Alternative Scoring Products (e-scores, lifetime value predictaors, etc) for the FTC's March 19th workshop. Today's Comments are attached.
  • June 1 is the deadline for filing Comments in the FTC Internet of Things inquiry. (link is external) Today's contemporary mobile device (link is external), geo-location (link is external) aware, (link is external)offline/online data (link is external), advanced marketing applications like facial recognition (link is external), mobile real-time ad exchanges (link is external), geo-fences (link is external), cross-platform tracking (link is external)and paradigmatic approaches such as Google's Zero Moment of Truth (link is external) and shopper marketing (link is external)based path-to-purchase methodologies make the Internet of Things (link is external) a consumer and privacy concern today--not in some pending future. We call on the FTC to address how the Internet of Things is already a reality, and to do a better job on sensitive data--especially involving finances, health, racial/ethnic information and youth.