CDD

Publishings

  • Seven independent ad tech companies debuted a programmatic consortium on Thursday that pools their supply- and demand-side cookie IDs into one shared identity asset. The consortium is helmed by AppNexus, MediaMath and LiveRamp, which provides the data matching. Other launch partners include Index Exchange, Rocket Fuel, LiveIntent and OpenX. And it’s a shot across the bow of Facebook and Google, which suck in a majority of digital ad dollars. “The big giants have had an advantage over the open internet in that they have their own deterministic identities for users that allows more precise targeting and cross-device matching,” said AppNexus product VP Patrick McCarthy. Ad tech platforms like AppNexus, Index Exchange and OpenX have the combined online reach marketers want, McCarthy said, but an advertiser must match its data against each platform independently and use LiveRamp to create one-to-one matches. “A universal cookie ID eliminates all the user syncing that goes on between platforms and the lower match rate that necessarily goes with it,” he said. While Google and Facebook have users who contribute deterministic data, the newly formed ad tech consortium can apply first-party data from advertisers and logged-in data from publishers. Marketers and supply sources who are a part of the consortium will access for free the shared cookie pool. LiveRamp’s cross-device graph IdentityLink can be extended to the campaigns, but LiveRamp is still considering commercial terms for ad buyers who want to add a cross-device matching component, company CMO Jeff Smith told AdExchanger. The lack of a unique identifier to date has been one of the biggest factors in fueling concerns around transparency, fairness and control in the digital advertising ecosystem For now, though, any marketer who wants to take advantage of the consortium’s cross-device offering must be a LiveRamp IdentityLink customer. Smith is acutely aware that LiveRamp gains a new business funnel, noting that onboarding potential consortium partners is “definitely is a benefit for us.” “And hopefully the broader benefit is if everyone standardizes around a common identity, the value and efficiency of their marketing will go up,” he added. While the DSPs and SSPs in the consortium may not view it as a new business play, “there certainly will be benefits” that could lead to budget and supply-source consolidation, said MediaMath product VP Philipp Tsipman. For instance, a European video supplier working with MediaMath on a campaign could match its viewers one-to-one with MediaMath’s cookie pool. If that relationship were to occur through the consortium, the match rates would be higher and the profiles would be more robust, since suppliers across the web are contributing data as well. AppNexus’s McCarthy said the system doesn’t cut off buyers from suppliers that don’t use the consortium, but “they will get better matching and better results, so it could naturally funnel more budgets to suppliers that participate.” The market needs “a unique identifier that is neutral,” said OpenX CEO Tim Cadogan in a statement about joining the consortium. “The lack of a unique identifier to date has been one of the biggest factors in fueling concerns around transparency, fairness and control in the digital advertising ecosystem.” --- For the full article, please visit http://bit.ly/2fLZtAB (link is external)
  • Released on September 22, 2017 at a political microtargeting conference held in Amsterdam, in response to the recent announcement by Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg on changes to how they conduct political ad campaigns. Dear Mark, Your statements on Facebook’s new policies for political advertising were issued as we started a global symposium on micro-targeting in Amsterdam (https://www.ivir.nl/amsterdam-symposium-on-political-micro-targeting/ (link is external)). We are a group of leading international academic experts and civil society representatives from the fields of law, communication, political science and economics who are conducting research on political targeting. Fairness, equality and democratic oversight are key in democratic societies. We appreciate the initiative you have taken and strongly encourage further dialogue and action. Moving this forward we strongly believe that the principles of transparency and disclosure are essential. Facebook should share publicly the full range of paid political contents, disclose the sponsoring actors, and identify the categories of target audiences. This should be done globally as this is an issue that affects elections worldwide. We encourage you and other platforms and actors to join this dialogue to contribute principles for transparency and disclosure. Transparency is a first step in the right direction. Digital political advertising operates in a dynamic tension between data and humans, commerce and politics, power and participation. Some of these tensions can be resolved by transparency, others not. The way forward is to engage with governments, regulators, election monitoring bodies, civil society and academics to develop public policies and guidelines for ensuring fairness, equality, and democratic oversight in digital political campaigns. Can we count on you? Natali Helberger Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam Claes de Vreese Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam Balazs Bodo Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam Mauricio Moura George Washington University Max von Grafenstein Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Berlin Jessica Schmeiss Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society Sabrina Sassi Universite Laval Tom Dobber Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam Jeff Chester Center for Digital Democracy, Washington, DC Kathryn Montgomery American University, Washington, DC André Haller Institut für Kommmunikationswissenschaft, Universität Bamberg Damian Tambini Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science Simon Krischinski Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mains Daniel Kreiss School of Media and Journalism, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Jeff Chester
  • Digital marketing companies, especially Facebook (link is external) and Google, allied with super-size broadband ISPs (AT&T, Comcast, etc.), defeated (link is external) a bill that would have given Californians the right to have a say in how their digital information can be used. The bill primarily required (link is external) opt-in consent (an informed, informative okay) before our data could be used to help advertisers target us via a home or mobile Internet connection. Google, Facebook, AT&T, Comcast and their partners don’t want individuals to be able to decide for themselves whether they want to be part of these companies’ commercial surveillance system. Working both independently and collectively, the digital marketing businesses can now seamlessly (link is external) gather, analyze and use all our information—whether we are on a mobile device a PC or even watching TV. Our mobile phones and apps send them details of where we go and what we do. All of our “profile” information is collected into a single record, which often contains an ever-growing (link is external) array of other data—about our finances, health, what our kids do, what we view online, where we shop and for what, our race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and more. Google and Facebook use this data to generate massive revenues from advertisers, marketers and political campaigns. AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon have long had “Google envy,” believing that their monopolistic control over the broadband connections most Americans rely on should also shower them with even more financial rewards. That’s why phone and cable companies have scooped (link is external) up digital ad companies, such as Yahoo and AOL. Their vision for the future is to profit significantly by selling us to advertisers when we use our digital devices to stream video, listen to music, play games, etc. The California bill was based on the safeguards that had been enacted by the FCC at the end of the Obama administration, but that President Trump eliminated (link is external) earlier this year and. Google, Facebook and the others knew that if California enacted such consumer safeguards, it would set a powerful precedent. That’s why they engaged in a deceptive (link is external) ad campaign, used their political donations (link is external) for clout with lawmakers, and sent lobbyists to the state to tell tall tales of how Americans have their privacy protected by the FTC. A terrific coalition (link is external) of privacy, consumer, education, children’s advocacy, civil rights and civil liberties group fought for the California bill. We are proud that CDD played a modest role. We will all be back, stronger than ever, when the California state legislature reconvenes next year. But the lesson here is a valuable one and joins the now-almost-daily examples where Google (link is external), Facebook (link is external) and the others misuse their power. The forces of advertising and marketing, now fueled with the ever-growing capabilities of digital applications, undermine the ability of America’s communication and information gatekeepers to effectively serve the public interest. It’s a story that has been repeated throughout the 20th century with the mediums of radio, broadcast television and cable. It’s also always been true of the Internet companies. Protecting our privacy, by stopping these companies from so easily grabbing and monetizing our data, is one way we need to address the problem. The Europeans are about to do precisely (link is external) that—and the U.S. needs to do the same. That’s a very important beginning for what must be a new national agenda protecting the digital rights of all Americans.
  • Integrated into their end-to-end platform (link is external), Smartplay provides a real-time, one-to-one connection (link is external) to viewer’s device, enabling them to optimize monetization opportunities. Smartplay’s server-side ad insertion technology (link is external) and industry-standard ad-decisioning system are used to deliver personalized ad experiences across live, linear and on-demand programming. By enforcing advertising business rules according to their monetization strategy, Smartplay enables smarter advertising to help customers get the most value out of their online content. --- For more information, please view the attached PDF and visit http://bit.ly/2w385c7 (link is external).
  • “Marketers. Ready, aim, engage! It is easier than ever to hit the right marketing targets,” explains Equifax (link is external) about its far-reaching data capabilities that capture, analyze, and sell our information. Equifax’s admission last week about its loss of personal information on 143 million Americans—including Social Security and drivers license numbers—is also a wake-up call about the dramatic loss of our privacy in the digital era. Most people think of Equifax as one of the “Big 3” credit-reporting agencies that provide information on our credit worthiness. But Equifax also profits from compiling and selling our data profile to financial services, retail, auto, telecommunications, and other industries for online targeting. As the company itself explains, “Equifax has grown from a consumer credit company into a leading global provider of insights.” It has built a major business offering (link is external) “audience profiling, targeting and measurement tools” that reflect data practices that undermine our privacy and can threaten the interests of consumers. As it explains (link is external) in its “Equifax for Marketing? Absolutely” document, “the advent of Big Data presents nearly limitless potential to help identify the most profitable customers and prospects…. Our data-driven marketing solutions help you synthesize consumer data for a holistic, 360-degree customer view.” Equifax pulls together and “enriches data from disparate sources” so others can have an “enhanced view” of who we are and what we do. Unfortunately, that “enhanced view” means trampling on what should be our right to control who has access and can use our information. We shouldn’t be focused only on the loss of our information from a data breach—but also on how we can better address this issue at its core—by stopping the massive and stealth ways our data are being gathered and used in the first place. Just last month (link is external), Equifax further consolidated (link is external) its “data assets” to create what it calls its “Data-Driven Marketing” suite (DDM). It now provides “a single point of access to all of its data” in order to make using it more convenient for marketers. Equifax’s current business practices reflect how our personal data is traded, shared, and sold today. An array of partners (link is external) collaborate to share information on an individual or a group to be targeted. Data from different sources are gathered, analyzed to identify patterns and opportunities; we are segmented and scored, given an invisible label that describes our financial status and behavior, and that information is then fed into superfast computers that deliver pitches and offers to us via mobile phones, PCs, and connected TVs. In its “Data-driven Marketing Solutions” paper (link is external) on financial services, Equifax touts its ability to directly measure “over $15 trillion of U.S. consumer investable assets…and credit data for over 220 million consumers in the U.S.” Equifax says that it can take that data to help clients target individuals “across channels: email, display, mobile, addressable TV, social, direct mail, point-of-sale, [and] call center.” This is what’s known as “omnichannel” marketing, and involves following us wherever we go online, and, via our mobile phone and apps, into stores and other physical locations as well. For example, Equifax’s IXI (link is external) Services division enables marketers to “differentiate consumer households and neighborhoods, based on wealth, income, spending capacity, share-of-wallet and share of market.” One of its products—AudienceIntel (link is external)—“helps you understand the financial profile of your site visitors…[using] intuitive targeting segments based on our proprietary measures of households’ financial capacity, propensities, preferences, and behavior.” Among IXI’s “digital targeting segments (link is external)” are those who may need a “sub-prime credit card,” a “revolver” (someone with a high balance and will have to accrue interest charges), a “likely student loan target,” and “active debit card users.” Equifax’s IXI promises that it can help guarantee that its clients’ ads have been viewed by their “desired target audience” and whether a sale or some other response was completed—“online or offline.” Unlike Experian and Acxiom, Equifax’s IXI “receives data directly from financial institutions,” which it can segment in a more granular way, according (link is external) to trade reports. Equifax’s “TokenIntel (link is external)” provides retailers with additional insights into our lives by linking point-of-sale and online transaction data with our use of credit cards. This includes geo-location information as well. Although Equifax claims its processes are privacy friendly, the technology it uses enables it to know each consumer and “household, allowing for a clearer picture of a household’s likely value to your brand.” “Communicate with shoppers like you know them…Because You Do!” Equifax explains, urging potential clients to work with it so that “your millions of transaction data points become the foundation” of more profiling and targeting of individuals. Equifax has allied itself with other leading digital data companies that use cutting-edge ad technologies that help target us in milliseconds. They are now working (link is external) with Adobe, Lotame, Salesforce’s Krux, Neustar, MediaMath, and Acxiom’s LiveRamp (link is external), for example (as well as working with music site Pandora (link is external)). In other words, Equifax is helping other data targeting companies gain access to our information—an example of the out-of-control data system unleashed today. Because the U.S. doesn’t have any federal consumer privacy law—rules that the digital data and ad industries are violently opposed to—there’s nothing stopping them from collecting and using even more of our information. The breaches that are occurring begin the very first time a company takes our data, without any legal limits on what that company can do with such information. ---
    Jeff Chester
  • Equifax Inc., a global information solutions provider, today unveiled its next-generation Data-driven Marketing capabilities, designed to help brands conquer the challenges preventing them from realizing their data-driven marketing goals. As marketers across all industries become increasingly reliant on "big data" to help them identify the most profitable customers and prospects and create great experiences, it's clear that marketers need additional help to harness the promise of data-driven marketing. A majority -- 96% -- of marketers report their organizations are attempting to make more central use of customer data, but only 29% are seeing results, according to the IAB's "The Data-Centric Organization (link is external)" whitepaper from September, 2016. Data-driven marketing integrates and enhances the marketing services that Equifax provides. These include credit marketing, IXI Services' wealth-based marketing insights, and digital marketing. This unification enables Equifax to more holistically solve the key challenges that marketing executives face. Leveraging our track record as a trusted data steward and widely-recognized strengths in household economic data, identity and data linking, analytics and technology, Equifax helps brands: Create a single, actionable customer view across data silos and channels; Turn data into an understanding of customer needs and growth opportunities; Engage customers consistently across channels; and Measure results to continuously improve performance and marketing ROI --- For the full article, visit http://bit.ly/2wnuro8 (link is external)
  • Key control of multiple devices, including TV. ISPs have positioned themselves to expand their consumer data collection across all the devices/platforms they operate. This includes broadband connections (including streaming media), mobile devices, PCs, and also TV. Unlike Google and Facebook, the cable and telephone ISPs largely control the TV set. Comcast has enabled its NBC division to use its set-top (link is external) box data for targeting, for example. Phone and cable companies work with leading data brokers and data marketing “clouds” in order to develop granular and actionable profiles of individuals. This gives ISPs robust understanding of the actions and behaviors of consumers, including financial, health, ethnic, racial, shopping, and even politically related data—all of which is used for personalized targeted marketing. Examples include Comcast (link is external) and Verizon working with Acxiom, among others; Comcast (link is external) and Verizon working with real-time data targeting company MediaMath; Verizon and Comcast (link is external) working with Oracle’s (link is external) marketing cloud division; and Experian (link is external) providing data to Verizon/AOL and AT&T (link is external). ISPs are Identifying and targeting a single consumer across all the devices that person uses—through “cross device identification.” Verizon (which operates both AOL and Yahoo) works with Acxiom’s LiveRamp division. LiveRamp specializes in helping clients fuse together data that allows specific individuals to be identified (link is external) on all their devices, through LiveRamp’s “IdentityLink” LiveRamp matches “PII-based data—like emails, postal addresses, and phone numbers—with…cookies and device IDs….” The company maintains “consistent recognition on 98% of U.S. adults and nearly 100% of U.S. households.” Verizon’s Precision Insights Program is listed as a LiveRamp partner (“the two companies are leveraging the PrecisionID” to give advertisers the ability to run “list-matching” campaigns in mobile, and serve mobile ads to an already built CRM list). AT&T also has a connection with LiveRamp, via its alliance (link is external) for app-based data targeting with Opera Mediaworks. The list of LiveRamp’s data partners is far-reaching, suggesting that Verizon, for example, can acquire extensive data elements on individuals. AT&T has also worked with cross-device targeting specialist Tapad. (link is external) Verizon works with another cross-device company—Drawbridge (link is external)—which also has multiple data-broker partnerships. Phone and cable companies are using set-top box data to also target consumers on their other devices. For example, AT&T recently boasted, “we are now targeting that same consumer across TV and mobile.” ISPs are expanding their use of consumer geolocation data for commercial tracking and ad targeting, creating new privacy threats to neighborhoods and communities. For example, leading geo-tracking company Factual (link is external) is a partner (link is external) with Verizon’s AOL. AT&T (link is external) and Verizon (link is external) also work with geotargeter PlaceIQ. ISPs have been on a data-targeting spending spree to acquire companies that help them target across devices and applications. AT&T has partnered with ad- (and now also data-) giant WPP to own (link is external) a company that helps deliver digital TV and other interactive ads across devices. They are using “verified subscriber identities” to deliver addressable TV and mobile ads, including through apps. Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo (including Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Mail) gave it control of over 600 million mobile monthly users. Yahoo mail has “225 million logged-in users,” for example, lending valuable scale to AOL’s (link is external) ad-platform business. “Verizon’s subscriber data coupled with Yahoo content and email addresses enables more precise ad targeting,” explained (link is external) one leading publication. ISPs are using their data clout to deliver insight-based targeting. Verizon, for example, promises that it “allows advertisers to pinpoint very specific targets by households." ---
  • Blog

    Comcast, Cox, Charter Sell Your Data to Political Groups

    NCC is owned by cable industry leaders Comcast, Cox and Spectrum, and represents virtually every other multi-channel programming distributor in the US.

    What connects cable, online and on demand viewers? NCC Digital Video. NCC’s approach to advertising reaches premium voter audiences across all screens. Only NCC has the unrivaled ability to target authenticated subscribers in a variety of ways across premium cable content and websites. And with our targeting technology, NCC can continue to target this subscriber as well as additional specific audiences throughout the web. NCC A+ Political Advertising gathers first party voter data from all 50 states and offers list matching Premium in-stream video ads run across all screens to an engaged, authenticated audience Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) facilitates ad insertion into premium cable programming in OnDemand viewing Premium High Impact Home Page and Sign-In page take overs give maximum brand exposure and impact NCC Political Media is proud of our partnerships with the most reputable research and data sources on US voters. Access to this intelligence allows us to provide you with superior intelligence on how to effectively reach the right voters in your preferred markets, on the best cable networks and online platforms. --- For more information, visit NCCMedia.com
  • Deep Root Analytics, a leading media & audience analytics company that creates data platforms for audience targeting and ad monitoring, announced today that it has expanded the number of audiences available with D2 Media Sales to enable political, corporate & advocacy advertisers to target Dish and DIRECTV households using proprietary audience segments. Deep Root Analytics has created 35 new proprietary audience segments based on their affinity scores on political & policy issues and interest in corporate responsibility efforts. These new audiences represent an increase in the Deep Root Analytics footprint to reach Dish & DIRECTV households above their initial announcement (link is external) in 2016 and brings its overall addressable audience offering to more than 60 unique audience segments. As such, Deep Root Analytics has pre-matched these segments to D2’s advertising platform, providing addressable TV advertising to nearly 23 million DIRECTV and DISH satellite households. “In 2017, advocacy and brand advertisers are navigating a tricky and fractured media landscape. They are especially keen to identify and efficiently reach audiences based on what they value and to drive their agenda and manage their brand reputations,” noted Deep Root Analytics CEO Brent McGoldrick. “At Deep Root Analytics, we are focused on helping them make their paid media as data-driven as possible. So, we are thrilled to work with D2 Media Sales and access their best-in-class addressable TV platform to enable our clients to directly communicate with nearly 23 million DIRECTV & DISH customers.” The 35 new proprietary segments created by Deep Root Analytics and made available for addressable advertising via D2 Media Sales include: --- For more information, visit http://bit.ly/2ep1l0U (link is external)
  • Political data firms on both sides of the aisle have bolstered their addressable TV capabilities. Today, Democratic data firm TargetSmart and Republican data outfit Data Trust each announced new partnerships with TV data providers. The outcome should be even more TV spots, especially from congressional campaigns, targeted to households of key voter segments than ever before. Data Trust, the data firm that manages a national voter file for Republicans and right-leaning groups, has partnered with FourthWall Media to match FourthWall's cable viewership data to Data Trust's voter data. The result will be a feed of TV viewer data updated daily and matched against Data Trust's voting history and demographic data. It was a year ago at the Democratic National Committee's summer meeting in Minneapolis when Democratic data firm TargetSmart Communications unveiled the addressable TV and digital ad targeting capabilities it developed with data services firm Experian. Today, TargetSmart expanded its TV data offerings through a partnership with Tru Optik, which provides media consumption data for digital media and connected TV devices such as Roku, Xbox, and smart TVs. The company also has TV data deals with Rentrak and D2 Media Sales, which is a partnership between DISH and DirecTV/AT&T. "We're trying to get as many partnerships out there as possible," said Bill Russell, director of digital partnerships at TargetSmart. These sorts of voter and TV data deals are bringing the targeting capabilities of online advertising to TV ad buys, which historically have resulted in some wasted spending for political campaigns that would do better to target ads to desired voter groups rather than those less likely to support their candidates. The new approaches have grown in popularity following the 2012 election, when President Obama's re-election campaign famously employed innovative data-crunching methods for buying TV ads aimed at voters through programming rarely purchased by political advertisers. By partnering with more and more TV data and media firms, political data companies are bringing what was once accessible only to large statewide or national campaigns to smaller, down-ballot candidates. Through such relationships, political advertisers can reach pre-defined voter segments, such as likely Democratic or Republican voters, or custom groups of voters. --- For the full article, visit http://bit.ly/2wDaz4s (link is external)
  • FourthWall Media and Data Trust announced a partnership that will create a unique feed utilizing Data Trust’s comprehensive data warehouse. Data Trust will connect FourthWall’s census-level television viewership data to its GOP dataset of over 190 million American voters from all 50 states. The integrated solution will help allied analytics companies build media and television-centric targeting solutions for their customers. “Data Trust is committed to compiling and providing access to the foundational data right-of-center political and advocacy organizations need to persuade voters and win this November,” said John DeStefano, president of Data Trust. “Combining FourthWall’s television viewership data with the historical data only Data Trust offers will help our customers access more complete datasets than anyone else.” Data Trust will use FourthWall’s anonymous household matching tool to sync with Data Trust’s voter file and create a unique feed of viewership information updated daily. Data Trust’s depth allows clients to append other information to those matched households, such as demographics, voting history and the like. As analytics firms and media buyers become more sophisticated, the ability to look at the TV viewing behavior of certain groups, such as first time Hispanic voters, becomes more and more valuable in the battle for votes and persuasion. --- For the full article, visit http://bit.ly/2wDaz4s (link is external)
  • Press Release

    Advocates Call on FCC to Protect Programming and Advertising Safeguards for Children's TV

    Commission Must Reject TV Industry Proposal to Undermine Public Interest Obligations

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Advocates called today on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reject an effort by major media companies to eliminate or weaken important rules for children’s television. The National Association of Broadcasters, Internet and Television Association (NCTA), CBS, Disney, Fox, Univision, and others have asked the FCC to significantly reduce advertising limits on children’s programming. Industry commenters also urged the FCC to reconsider rules that require broadcasters to provide quality educational programming as part of their obligation to serve the public interest. In comments filed today, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy called on the FCC to reject industry proposals to repeal or modify the current rules. “The Trump Administration and the FCC should stand up for the rights of children and parents and reject this crass campaign by the broadcast lobby,” said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. “The broadcast industry receives billions of dollars in benefits from its free use of public resources, including invaluable rights to the airwaves. It is unconscionable that TV stations and networks want to kill off one of their few remaining obligations to the public.” In April, the FCC issued a public notice on its “Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative,” asking for suggestions about which of the FCC’s media-related rules should be modified or repealed. Media companies replied with a deregulation wish list that would allow them to use kids’ television programming to market directly to children. The major networks urged the FCC to relax its rules prohibiting product integration and product placement on kids’ shows, arguing that YouTube and other child-directed online services are not subject to those restrictions. Advocates responded by pointing out that internet and mobile providers are simply ignoring longstanding children’s media principles, which are based on child development, and that a lack of online regulation is not a good reason for the FCC to eliminate important safeguards for the millions of children who watch traditional TV. “It is extremely disappointing that broadcasters want to join the race to the bottom when it comes to exploiting children’s developmental vulnerabilities for profit,” said Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. “Media companies want to gut longstanding safeguards because young people an incredibly lucrative market for advertisers. But research demonstrates that children are particularly vulnerable to marketing and benefit from rules that require ad limits and separation of programming and commercial content.” Advocates also oppose a request by the Internet and Television Association to repeal an FCC rule known as the “website display rule.” The FCC adopted this rule in 2004 to prohibit advertisers from engaging in “host-selling” to children, which the transition to digital broadcasting could otherwise allow. Angela J. Campbell, director of the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown and counsel to some of the advocates, called the effort to repeal this rule disingenuous. “The media companies say the website display rule is unnecessary because television has rarely been used to interact and target advertising to children,” she said. “But at the same time, these companies engaging in a practice known as ‘programmatic marketing,’ which offers advertisers the ability to target ads to specific viewers of cable and broadcast television programming.” In addition, advocates oppose efforts by media companies to be relieved of their public interest obligation to provide educational programming for children, and to produce public reports to help the FCC determine whether that programming meets the obligations laid out in the Children’s Television Act. “The television industry made a commitment to serve the nation’s children by providing quality educational programs,” explained Professor Kathryn Montgomery of American University, who led the effort to strengthen the FCC’s rules on the Children’s Television Act. “However, broadcasters failed to live up to these minimal obligations and the FCC has been irresponsible in allowing the industry to evade one of its only remaining public interest requirements. Rather than considering elimination of these rules, the FCC (and Congress) should conduct an investigation into TV programming and advertising practices directed at children.” ---- The comments can be read via the attached PDF file below.
  • FameBit is an online marketplace that connects YouTubers with brands that are interested in advertising their products and services. This provides creators an opportunity to earn money with their content by partnering with brands that are relevant to their audience. Learn about Famebit, the Self-Service Influencer Marketing Platform. For more information, visit https://famebit.com/brands (link is external)
  • The Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), a leading US NGO specializing in consumer data protection issues in the digital marketplace, is pleased to respond to the request that we provide information applicable to first annual review of the EUUS Privacy Shield. CDD has been assessing the Privacy Shield since it came into force in 2016, in part as a result of its work coordinating the activities from the US side of the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) working group on the Information Society. EU citizens and consumers who deal with companies enrolled in the Privacy Shield program confront a serious erosion of their data protection and privacy rights. The rights of EU citizens under the Privacy Shield program are not equivalent to how they would be protected by EU law. We urge the Commission and EU Data Protection Authorities to suspend the Privacy Shield in light of its lack of any policies, rules, or enforcement that would provide meaningful adequacy or equivalency. The Commission should insist that U.S. companies targeting EU citizens or consumers must operate under the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) framework. For this submission, we reviewed the activities of several major U.S. companies enrolled in the Privacy Shield program, examining their submissions on the U.S. Commerce Department website (including descriptions of their activities, the link to and content of their privacy policy statements). We compared these statements to the actual data collection and use-related activities conducted by the companies, including their own descriptions of how they operationalize their business goals. We supplemented this analysis with the information that CDD extensively gathers on the commercial digital marketplace, such as automated “programmatic” decision making and other contemporary consumer-directed applications. --- For the full PDF of the letter, see attachment in link below.
  • Public Knowledge joined by the Consumer Federation of America, the Center For Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of California, and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse writes a letter urging the Federal Trade Commission Acting Chairman, Maureen Ohlhausen, to protect consumer privacy. The letter is asking the FTC Chairwoman to publicly and expeditiously resolve a pending complaint concerning cable TV and satellite TV privacy. --- June 12, 2017 Maureen Ohlhausen Acting Chairman Federal Trade Commission 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20580 Dear Acting Chairman Ohlhausen: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has long protected consumer privacy, in tandem with other agencies, and you recently reiterated your dedication to protecting consumer privacy in the digital age through FTC enforcement. We therefore urge the FTC to quickly resolve the complaint filed one year ago by a coalition of consumer advocates. The complaint provides evidence that the nation’s cable and satellite providers have and continue to deceive consumers about their privacy practices by failing to provide adequate notice, in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act. Since the complaint was filed, leading Internet Service Providers, cable and telephone companies have significantly expanded their ability to gather, analyze and make actionable data that is used to target subscribers, their families, and other consumers. --- See the link below for the full PDF of the complaint.
  • Chart: Here’s How 5 Tech Giants Make Their Billions Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist (link is external) For the full article visit, http://www.visualcapitalist.com/chart-5-tech-giants-make-billions/ (link is external)
  • The Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) and Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), by their attorneys, the Institute for Public Representation, respond to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC or the Commission) request for comment on proposed changes to TRUSTe’s COPPA Safe Harbor program. TRUSTe has sought approval of changes to its COPPA Safe Harbor program that it states are necessary to comply with an Assurance of Discontinuance it recently entered into with the New York Attorney General’s Office (NYAG). While the proposed changes themselves do not appear objectionable, the facts leading up to this proposal strongly suggest that TRUSTe has violated its 2015 Consent Decree with the FTC by misrepresenting its practices for assessing operators of child-directed online services (Operators). CDD and CCFC ask the FTC to conduct an investigation of TRUSTe to determine if it has in fact violated the Consent Decree, and if so, to take all available enforcement action against TRUSTe. Further, to protect the privacy of children pending the outcome of the investigation, they ask the FTC to suspend TRUSTe’s COPPA Safe Harbor program. (Link to the full report attached below.)
  • News

    Groups Call on Facebook to Disclose and Explain Its Collection of Psychological Insights About Its Youngest Users

    Facebook Told Marketers It Can Detect Teens Feeling 'Insecure' and 'Worthless'; Data Could Be Used to Drive Products Based on Mood and Using Manipulation

    Facebook should immediately release all documents describing how it collected and analyzed psychological information it recently (link is external) collected about its youngest users, some as young as 14, and college students, Public Citizen and a coalition of 25 groups said in a letter (link is external) to the corporation today. The groups are concerned about how this information might have been used or may be used in the future by marketers and others to take advantage of young people’s emotions, all without users’ knowledge. Marketing companies and Facebook have secretly moved to tap into teens’ emotions and developmental vulnerabilities strictly for profit, the letter says. The groups want to know how the data was used, when it was used, how many users were impacted and the names of the companies that received the data. “What began as a way for college students to keep in touch has morphed into a platform for brand-saturated marketing and psychological manipulation,” said Kristen Strader, campaign coordinator for Public Citizen’s Commercial Alert campaign. “It is incumbent upon Facebook as a cultural leader to protect, not exploit, the privacy of young people, especially when their vulnerable emotions are involved.” According to The Australian (link is external) newspaper, Facebook presented research to one of its advertisers that shows it collects sensitive data regarding young users’ emotions and “mood shifts.” The research detailed how Facebook can analyze sensitive user data in real time to determine how young users are communicating emotion, and at which points during the week they are doing so, the letter continued. Facebook’s research was conducted without users’ knowledge, which raises ethical concerns. “Because Facebook plays such a powerful role in the lives of teens, it must adopt a policy that respects and protects them,” said Dr. Kathryn Montgomery, professor of communication at American University and a consultant to the Center for Digital Democracy. “This should include not only strong safeguards for its advertising and data practices, but also clear limits on the kinds of research it conducts for marketing purposes. Under no circumstances should marketers be using emotional states, stress levels, biometric information or other highly sensitive data to target users. And this should apply to both young people and adults.” “Facebook needs to come clean and publicly release the full internal document, reported in The Australian, describing how Facebook collected and analyzed psychological information on high school students, college students and young users, said Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad, European Union co-chair of the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue. “The burden of proof is on Facebook to document publicly that they don’t collect and use such information. We are concerned that companies don’t overreach and abuse their users’ fundamental right to privacy and data protection.” The public, its users and elected officials have a right to know how pervasive this research was, who was affected and how the company will ensure it does not occur again, the groups said. The only way to fully address those concerns is to publicly release the internal document and related materials, accompanied by a more detailed explanation from Facebook of what was intended, what happened and the company’s actual practices, the letter says. —30— --- See full PDF of letter to Facebook below.
  • Our Next President: Also Brought to You by Big Data and Digital Advertising

    How the Trump campaign used big data to elect a president.

    The ease of promoting and profiting from fake news (link is external), the use of social media to spread disinformation and twist the truth and the ability to microtarget voters on all their devices reveal how political campaigns and special-interest groups are taking full advantage of the “Big Data”-driven digital marketing system that Google and Facebook have helped unleash. Campaigns now have needle-in-the-haystack capabilities, provided by commercial marketing and media companies, to find and motivate an individual voter. The Trump team (link is external), for example, was able to identify someone from rural America who felt “disenfranchised (link is external),” had not voted in recent elections (and didn’t show up in polls as a likely voter), and then use a data-and-digital-concocted brew to trigger emotions and behavior (link is external). Behind the digital curtain that informs and entertains is a commercial surveillance system whose function until recently has been primarily to sell us junk food (link is external), credit cards and retail products (link is external). But in 2016, the system was fully deployed for political gain. Just take a look at the techniques used by the Trump, Clinton, Sanders (link is external) and other political campaigns that describe how they reached and influenced voters. They are right out of the digital advertisers playbook: IP address (link is external) targeting, geofencing (link is external), pixel profiles (link is external), Data Management Platforms (DMPs) (link is external), algorithms (link is external), data onboarding (link is external), moment scoring (link is external), header bidding (link is external), and programmatic advertising (link is external). Electoral campaigns — from all sides — are fusing cookies (link is external) (data files placed on our web browsers) with information gathered by consumer data companies (link is external) along with our voter files (link is external), which illustrates how our commercial pursuits and political interests are being merged today. Advances in the best way to use all the information routinely captured and analyzed about us, and which has been greatly expanded by our use of mobile phones and apps, have helped companies to create highly detailed personal dossiers that merge our online and offline information, make predictions about how we — or others like us — will respond, and then orchestrate desired behaviors. Google boasts to its advertisers, for example, that it can help them connect with us in a “micromoment (link is external)” — just at the point when we may make some decision. Facebook, for its part, assures marketers they can use its system to influence the decisions of “real people (link is external).” There is little standing in the way of a Trump, Clinton or any other political effort from easily acquiring access to the huge reams of personal information now available (link is external) through commercial data companies, sold by publishers and online enterprises (link is external) and used to target us (link is external) when we log on to social media such as Facebook. The digital marketing and data industry has largely been immune from any regulation under the Obama administration, either on consumer data collection practices or business operations. The US is still one of the only advanced-economy countries (link is external) without comprehensive privacy legislation (link is external), and what little we have is already under threat (link is external). For the vast majority of Americans, there is practically no legal way to turn off or stem the flow of their information. The government’s “hands-off” approach to how Facebook, Google and the rest of the digital marketing industry operate has helped unleash powerful and unaccountable forces that helped elect our next president. Political campaigns can buy data from internet and other companies about our finances (link is external), health concerns, race, ethnicity (link is external), shopping behavior (link is external) and geo-location, along with what we read online and what our political interests are. Leading data companies including Nielsen (link is external), Neustar (link is external), Oracle (link is external) and Acxiom (link is external) sell this information to political campaigns and others working to influence public opinion. Political data firms such as Cambridge Analytica (link is external), which worked for Trump, layer on predictive modeling and psychological tools (link is external) to help identify “personality traits,” behavior and “what really drives … decision making.” Trump’s White House chief strategist Steve Bannon sits on its board (link is external). This company, which also helped support the Brexit “Leave” initiative (link is external), says it has compiled “5,000 (link is external) data points on over 220 million Americans (link is external).” Cambridge Analytica is the US affiliate (link is external) of the SCL Group (link is external) in the UK, which engages in political (link is external), commercial (link is external) and defense (link is external) work (including “PSYOPS (link is external)” — psychological operations). According to its website, SCL’s specialties include “behavioural polling, behavioural microtargeting, StratCom and target audience analysis” (a service it is helping NATO (link is external) perfect). SCL’s operations illustrate how data analysis is being used today, from trying to win “hearts and minds” in Afghanistan (link is external) to selling us Big Macs or a President Donald Trump. According to the company (link is external), they “combine commercial and public big-data sets with large-scale quantitative research to predict everything from whether people are likely to vote through to what products and services they are most likely to buy.” Its work with political campaigns takes advantage of the “predictive power of data” and uses “physio-lingual analysis tools to uncover subconscious … reasoning (link is external).” Such capabilities benefited Trump, who only won because, as Cambridge Analytica itself wrote (link is external), “The president-elect flipped Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin by margins of less than 2 percent. If Hillary Clinton had taken those last three states, she would have won the election. Trump won those three states by a combined margin of approximately 107,000 votes.” The company also explained: The 2016 presidential election showed that the use of data to identify, persuade and turn out voters has become increasingly sophisticated. Cambridge Analytica’s data science, digital marketing and research teams informed key decisions on campaign travel, communications and resource allocation.... Every week Cambridge Analytica collected responses from 1,500 to 2,000 people in each battleground state. It used this research and data to model scores for all voters across key states: which candidate they preferred, which were "persuadable," the issues they cared about and how likely they were to actually vote on Election Day. Every voter in each battleground state was also segmented by ethnicity, religion and the issues that concerned them most…. When, in the final weeks of the race, the firm’s data scientists recalculated voter turnout and recalibrated their models to show how Donald Trump could win, the GOP candidate revisited states like Michigan and Wisconsin…. Online ads placed by the firm were viewed a staggering 1.5 billion times by millions of Americans …. If Hillary Clinton’s campaign was the Titanic, then Donald Trump’s campaign was a speedboat: nimble, flexible and able to adapt fast.” The Trump campaign also used digital targeting to conduct “major voter suppression operations,” according to a report in Bloomberg (link is external), focusing on African-Americans, young women and white liberals — with tools including an onslaught of what are called “dark posts (link is external)” on Facebook. These targeted messages included “a South Park-style animation of Hilary Clinton delivering her infamous 1996 'super predator' remarks." Marketers use dark posts to deliver targeted content to only on the Facebook newsfeeds (link is external) of individuals, not on the ones operated by the companies that generate them. Giles-Parscale, another online marketing firm working for Trump (link is external), was part of “Project Alamo (link is external),” a digital data initiative spearheaded by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. “Facebook and Twitter were the reason we won this thing (link is external),” said Brad Parscale, who is now assembling a nonprofit advocacy group (link is external) designed to press Trump’s agenda from outside the White House. How Trump, Kushner and their operatives use the considerable data assets controlled by the White House (which was expanded under Obama (link is external)) and work with their new outside digital operation should raise concerns, at the very least, from civil libertarians and others. Google and Facebook likely will continue to be friendly ports of call for Trump and the GOP. They provide a host of services to both major political parties’ campaigns and have benefited from the Big Money (link is external) pouring into them to target voters online. To help campaigns “understand the influence of digital media and online video in the 2016 elections,” Google hired (link is external) Republican pollster Frank Luntz (link is external), along with Julie Hootkin from the Global Strategy Group (link is external), to offer insights as “guest editors” on the company’s principal website set up for advertisers. Google also promoted (link is external) ways political advertisers could take advantage of YouTube (link is external), its search engine and all its other tools for marketers. It offered this advice: “Voter decisions used to be made in living rooms, in front of televisions. Today, they're increasingly made in micromoments, on mobile devices.” The GOP was reported to have awarded Google a major share of its “largest digital ad deal ever,” earmarking $150 million to buy online video ads, according to Ad Age (link is external) last May. Facebook also offers targeting opportunities (link is external) for political campaigns (link is external), which are encouraged to buy ads and other products to appeal to its more than 162 million US users, enabling campaigns (link is external) to target by age, gender, congressional district and interests. Campaigns can also supply their own data to Facebook, which will help them target (link is external) individuals. Facebook has promoted as an advertising “success” story (link is external) its fundraising targeting for the conservative group Judicial Watch, which included a mobile ad (pictured right) prominently featuring a headshot of Hillary Clinton alongside the headline, “Hillary’s Email Scandal Exposed.” The case study explains, “Advanced matching for Custom Audiences is a targeting tool that allows advertisers to upload multiple data points at once to create an audience on Facebook. Data points include general information like first and last name, ZIP code, state, country, age and gender, and also email, phone number, mobile advertiser ID and Facebook app user ID.” So many companies (link is external) now specialize in or supply data to political campaigns, as well as offer ways to influence (link is external) voters more precisely (link is external). There are even data made available to Republican campaigns by Democratic-oriented companies. For example, data analytics specialist L2 (link is external), which has been helping Donald Trump since early 2015, offers a predictive modeling product (link is external) that scores voters on “likelihood of support” on dozens of issues, including their views of Black Lives Matter, church attendance, fracking, gun laws, gay marriage, the Mexican border wall, transgender bathrooms and many more. HaystaqDNA (link is external), a political data firm started by operatives of President Obama’s previous campaigns, sold some of its own data (link is external) to L2 (and which were used, according to a former Trump data official, to “pinpoint a specific type of would-be supporter.”) But it’s more than just data gathering and online targeting that concerns privacy and democracy advocates. Pursuing monetization at any cost overwhelms what’s left of the boundaries that separate news from advertising or purposefully deceptive content — and the public is being conditioned to accept (link is external) fake as real. The online giants have effectively fashioned a brand-focused online echo chamber
  • President Trump has killed the first real protections for commercial privacy that Americans have online. Phone and cable giants, allied with the GOP Congressional majority, have just voted to overturn the historic consumer-data safeguards adopted last year by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). AT&T, Comcast, Verizon—the country’s dominant providers of high speed broadband—along with industry and Congressional GOP allies, intensely opposed the new FCC rule. Why? Merely because it gives Americans some say in whether their sensitive information, such as web browsing activity and geo-location, can be used for digital marketing purposes. That’s right. The new FCC safeguard that was tossed into the legislative waste bin merely says that ISPs must first ask for permission before they can take this personal data in order to target us. Such an “opt-in” approach, requiring prior informed consent, is heretical to digital marketers, whose profits depend on using all of our information without ever really having to ask to do so. Until the FCC stepped in, it was the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that served as the primary federal agency handling Internet privacy. But unlike the FCC, which can readily issue regulations to protect the public, the FTC is constrained from doing so. More than three decades ago, the advertising industry successfully lobbied Congress to curb that agency’s rulemaking authority (during a fight over another media issue—whether there should be limits on children’s advertising). Primarily, the FTC can only punish companies that engage in “unfair” or “deceptive” acts—such as lying to customers about how they use or protect our information. But if a company writes a privacy policy that basically provides them with unlimited access to all our data—which is what they do—the FTC is basically powerless to do anything at all. Which is why the phone and cable giants—along with Google and Facebook—prefer the FTC. It provides the illusion of having actual oversight and limits, when really nothing much is possible. Under the FTC’s watch, Americans have just experienced an unprecedented loss of their privacy. In the last few years, for example, digital marketers have aggressively pushed the boundaries of what information they gather from us and how it can be used. Our offline and online data is now routinely merged, generating “profiles” that connect our street address to the “cookies” and other online identifiers provided by our digital devices. Our precise geo-location is also regularly captured by mobile phones and “apps” that stealthily send our whereabouts to online companies and retail stores. Massive one-stop data broker “clouds” have emerged that provide reams of information, including about our finances, health, political interests, ethnicity—sold to marketers large and small. Our data “profiles”—digital dossiers—have become invaluable corporate assets that are bought and sold in milliseconds by powerful computers scattered across the globe, our identities traded for profit, as if they are just another commodity. Ongoing advances in how data are analyzed and used—so called “Big Data”—is ushering in even more ways companies can more precisely determine who we are, what we do, where we go, and how we should be treated. The leading phone and cable broadband ISPs have made major investments in tapping into the latest “Big Data” techniques. For example, Verizon recently introduced “Smartplay,” which helps deliver “smarter advertising” by creating what it calls “individual viewer personas that capture viewing history, account profile details and other valuable data….” Comcast Labs employs “Big Data research teams” that have expertise in “machine learning algorithms, forecasting models, intelligent image and video search, automated scene analysis, voice biometrics, recommender systems, personalization, and deep metadata.” AT&T is relying on its “Consumer Insights Platform” team to turn “big data into big insights….” ISPs also partner with leading data providers, such as Acxiom and Oracle, to enhance the robust details they already have about their broadband and video service subscribers. The big ISPs have also been on a shopping spree, acquiring companies that further their digital data advertising clout. Verizon acquired AOL and is now in the process of buying Yahoo; AT&T bought the leading satellite TV company, DirecTV, in part because of its digital ad capabilities; it now wants to fold Time Warner into its empire. Comcast has swallowed up ad-tech companies such as Visible World, FreeWheel, and StickyAds (and its NBC subsidiary has also embarked on its own formidable data-driven ad initiative). It is precisely because ISPs provide us access to residential broadband or wireless networks that they have a unique window into our lives. While Google and Facebook have their own far-reaching capabilities, they are primarily ad-supported marketing companies. When we pay a (hefty) monthly subscriber fee for Internet access, we should not also be exposed to having our Internet provider capture every bit of information it can, let alone tie that data together with what we do when we use our mobile and gaming devices or watch TV. The FCC’s new privacy rule builds on the agency’s network neutrality policy requiring that companies providing access to the Internet must operate in a fair and nondiscriminatory manner. Long-standing safeguards for protecting the privacy of our voice conversations over the telephone network have been brought into the 21st century—and now it’s also our broadband communications that must be respected. (Network neutrality is also under threat of elimination by the Trump FCC.) The ISPs and ad industry lobbyists disingenuously claim that having the FTC protect consumer privacy for all Internet companies, including ISPs and data giants like Google, is the most effective approach. It would be so, perhaps, if the FTC had any real clout. Many of the companies and trade groups urging that the FTC replace the FCC as a privacy regulator have lobbied against giving the trade commission actual authority to do so. They cynically know that turning over our broadband privacy to the FTC will mean business as usual—more of our offline and online data endlessly flowing into sophisticated databases that provide advertisers and other commercial entities (and perhaps government) detailed actionable blueprints of our lives. It will also mean that the only real potential privacy protection Americans have had to make their own mind up about whom to share data with and for what purpose will be lost. The ISPs, data-marketing companies, and their supporters are also fighting against the privacy rule because they know we are also on the eve of a new era—the Internet of Things—that will generate even more personal information about us. In today’s digital era, data is power. And that power should be in the hands of the people—not those that wish to financially and politically benefit by harvesting our information. --30-- President Trump has killed any hope that Americans would enjoy basic privacy protections online. By signing the bill, Mr. Trump has allied himself with the telecommunications and digital media giants who seek to profit from every detail of our lives. This is a betrayal of the American people and an insult to our democracy. All that the FCC safeguard did was to require cable and phone companies to ask for permission before they could profit from a person’s most sensitive information—including that individual’s web browsing, geo-location, financial details and data on children. President Trump helped the special interests and abandoned American families. Mr. Trump directly benefited from the absence of any federal privacy law or rule that protects having our information easily made available to commercial interests. His senior counselor Steve Bannon has been paid by and has investments in data-marketing firm Cambridge Analytica, which helped the Trump campaign. Mr. Bannon would have understood that the new federal privacy protections would enable the public to restrict the flow of commercial data going to political campaigns. We find this potential conflict of interest troubling, and it requires further scrutiny. (Kellyanne Conway was also a Cambridge Analytica consultant.) While today’s action by the president ends the FCC broadband privacy rule approved last October, we believe the public has also won something significant. For the first time, millions of Americans have been informed that they have little or no privacy on the Internet and when they use their mobile devices. Moreover, we have assembled one of the largest public-interest coalitions ever to advance consumer privacy protections. Many policymakers—on both sides of the aisle—have declared themselves as advocates for stronger protections. We will be back. But today, President Trump has given America a digital black eye before the world—a world in which most advanced nations understand that personal privacy is a fundamental democratic right. - Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a Washington-DC-based consumer digital rights group.
    Jeff Chester