Éloïse Gratton writes:
The Economist published a great piece on behavioral advertising today: “Getting to know you: Everything people do online is avidly followed by advertisers and third-party trackers”. The article discusses the fact that gathering information about users and grouping them into sellable “segments” has become important for the $120 billion online advertising economy.
The article raises an interesting point: industry players often take the position that since they do not know the users’ names, what they are collecting is not in fact “personal information”. They identify users by numbers, and build up detailed profiles about them. In Canada, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner has closed the door on the issue in its 2012 Policy Position on Online Behavioural Advertising and usually considers profiles created for behavioral marketing as “personal information”:
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