When Internet advertising talk turns to targeting, people start to twitch. Just consider the maelstrom Facebook walked into with its Beacon blunder. The concerns about online privacy are quite valid. It’s important to be vigilant about how your personal data are being used. The snarky PleaseRobMe.com drove this point home beautifully. But I think it’s important to seek a middle ground, a place where the use of your data provides value to you while you retain control of who sees that information and under what circumstances.
Venture capital blogger David Hornik does a great job finding that middle ground in his post: Four Square Fatigue and the Evolution of Privacy. He’s not flapping his arms yelling the sky is falling. Not by a long shot. His post is more a meditation on how our notion of privacy is evolving, and how online companies need to understand that as they devise ways to leverage this data.
“The coming generations of consumers may not abandon the idea of privacy in its entirety, but they will certainly have very different views of the appropriate balance between privacy and utility. That balance has already clearly shifted in the direction of utility and I believe the trend will continue.
“To some this will be viewed as a warning — a cry of the coming privacy apocalypse. I don’t see it that way. As technologies and standards evolve, doors open to new products and services. We are on the verge of an explosion of new ideas.”
I think he’s right on target here. It will be interesting to see how this progresses …