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Cookies Are So Yesterday by Michael Whitener

Posted on May 19, 2015 in Privacy, Blog by Michael L. Whitener

Digital marketers have utilized cookies for more than 15 years to track users across the Internet, but with today’s dominance of mobile technologies, users switch between their devices dozens of times a day, making the cookie more and more obsolete.  Now, a new wave of digital ID technologies are emerging to replace the cookie and address the multi-device issue.  However, while these new technologies do offer promise for advertisers seeking to market to consumers across multiple devices, they raise a host of new privacy concerns and pose novel challenges.

In 2014, the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) issued a “compliance warning” in order to proactively address these cross-device privacy concerns.  This warning clarifies that the DAA’s Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising (OBA) that have long governed cookies are applicable to new technologies as well.  The DAA’s warning states that the Principles for Online Behavior apply “irrespective of the technology employed to collect and use consumer web-surfing activity to serve interest-based ads” and “no matter by what technical means data for OBA is collected.” 

While the DAA has issued the warning that the OBA Principles apply to cross-device ID methodologies, these new tracking techniques are not as straightforward for the consumer to identify, assess and opt out of as the cookie was.  This raises the question:  is the current regulatory and self-regulatory regime sufficient to govern these new technologies, or is a new regulatory regime necessary to protect user privacy in a post-cookie world?

Michael Whitener fully addresses the privacy issues related to these cross-devices ID technologies and the question of whether new regulations are needed in his article, “Cookies Are So Yesterday; Cross-Device Tracking is In – Some Tips,” published in The Privacy Advisor. Click here to read the full article. 

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