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Best Argument: Privacy default
Privacy is a right
This shouldn’t be confusing. If a web site wants to track you, they need to ask your permission first.
The online tracking industry, like the rest of the Internet, grew by accident. Advertisers and analytics companies have taken advantage of its infrastructure to do things that we would never allow if we were starting over from scratch today.
Giving people control over their privacy rights won’t kill the online advertising industry, as Chris suggests. It won’t put small web sites out of business. And if tracking really will make for “an intelligent web,” why not let us decide?
If you read Chris’s arguments, you’ll see he eventually comes around to a pro-privacy position, acknowledging that we have “the right to understand what data are being collected and where those data go, and how they are used.”
I say we should also have control over that data. It’s ours, after all.
A matter of economic survival
Nobody wakes up one morning and thinks, "Gosh, I should really share some more of my personal data with Google and Facebook."
However, there are many small business owners who wake up, check their Google Adwords dashboards and say, “Yes! 15 new customers!” On the 10th anniversary of Google Adwords, an article in the Guardian explained, "The overwhelming majority [of Adwords customers] are small and medium-size businesses. AdWords offers a way to grow that ‘wasn't possible to them before – the market was just too inefficient,’ says [Google managing director for UK and Ireland, Matt] Brittin.”
The same goes for the many small sites that survive by subscribing to or advertising via networks that rely on tracking. While Ed Bott suggested that these sites and SMBs simply need a better business model, the reality is that targeted advertising makes a big chunk of the Internet economy go round.
Both sides argued their cases well, but Ed had a better argument. The big question is whether do not track and privacy will come first. There are a lot of interests lined up in favor of Chris' take. Time will tell, but one thing is certain: This debate will continue for the months and years to come.