ticularly ineffective at communicating
notice and choice. Nearly half of the
participants who saw AdChoices believed it was intended to sell advertising space, while a mere 27% believed
it was a means to stop tailored ads. “A
majority of participants mistakenly
believed that opting out would stop all
online tracking, not just tailored ads,”
Critics believe the inability to control what software and tracking mechanisms are placed on a person’s computer is nothing less than a violation.
Many Web sites contain a half-dozen to
a dozen or more tracking tools or third-party cookies. It is akin to a company
installing video cameras and microphones in a home and recording everything that occurs in the household.
“When people find out what is really
happening, the typical response is ‘Are
you kidding!’” says Marcella Wilson, an
adjunct professor of computer science
at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
In February, U.S. President Obama un-
veiled a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights
as part of a comprehensive blueprint to
expand privacy protections while con-
tinuing to make the Internet a hub of
innovation and economic growth. The
measure attempts to force companies
such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!
to stop monitoring when a person
clicks a Do Not Track button on their
Web browser. Do Not Track is intended
to supersede a decade-old voluntary
industry initiative called P3P, which
has produced tepid results and proved
unenforceable. It was designed to offer
consumers some control over the type
of data collected, how it could be used,
and how long it could be stored.
Leon, P.G., et al.
What do behavioral advertising disclosures
communicate to users? Carnegie Mellon
University CyLab, April 2, 2012.
Goldfarb, A. and Tucker, C.
Privacy regulation and online advertising,
Social Science Research network, August
Joel Stein talks data mining and personal
privacy on Cnn American Morning, http://
March 10, 2011.
The economics of advertising and privacy,
International Journal of Industrial
Organization 30, 3, May 2012.
The Daily You: How the New Advertising
Industry Is Defining Your Identity and Your
Worth, Yale University Press, new haven,
Samuel Greengard is an author and journalist based in
West linn, or.
© 2012 aCm 0001-0782/12/08 $15.00
Target Cybercriminals, Urges Report
Governments should spend less
money on defensive measures,
such as antivirus software and
firewalls, and more money on
“hunting down cybercriminals
and throwing them in jail,”
according to “Measuring the
cost of cybercrime,” a research
paper by ross anderson, a
professor of security engineering
at the university of cambridge,
and a team of six researchers
from Germany, the netherlands,
the u.K., and the u.S.
the paper, which the
researchers believe is the first
systematic report on the costs
of cybercrime, was presented
at the recent 11th annual
workshop on the economics of
developed at the request of
the u.K. Ministry of defense,
the report provided estimates of
the direct costs, indirect costs,
and defense costs of different
types of cybercrime in the u. K.
and the world. It found that
for Internet-based crimes like
phishing, spam, online scams,
hacking, and denial-of-service
attacks, the costs of defense
are many times higher than
the actual losses. anderson
noted the example of a botnet
that was responsible for a third
of the world’s spam in 2010.
the botnet is estimated to
have earned its owners about
u. S. $2.7 million whereas
the worldwide costs of spam
prevention probably exceeded
u. S. $1 billion.