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februari 28, 2014

comScore’s Participation in 2014 Data Privacy Day

Door: Mark Donovan, Richard Weaver

For a third year in a row, comScore participated as a champion of Data Privacy Day, an initiative of the National Cyber Security Alliance’s Stay Safe Online campaign. comScore’s Chief Marketing Officer Mark Donovan and Deputy Privacy Officer Richard Weaver participated in two Online Trust Alliance town hall events to mark Data Privacy Day, along with a number of other privacy experts from organizations such as the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Secret Service, and more.

There were many important topics of conversation at the events, but there are three points in particular that seemed to spark the greatest response from the crowds:

  • The Unintended Consequences of Future Privacy Regulations: comScore participated in the New York and Seattle town hall events where OTA town hall attendees expressed concern that existing self-regulation could be pre-empted by new regulations with unintended consequences. The challenge here is that users who wish to make choices regarding data privacy must be given options that do not disable critical digital media infrastructure such as fraud detection, ad frequency capping, and audience measurement. Without these functions, the ability for companies to offer great, low-cost or free internet content is greatly diminished, and it’s the consumer who loses out when they have fewer options online. For example, a website that publishes content about cars can use audience measurement tools to understand where their audience is located and beef up their coverage of car shows in California, if that’s where their users are. If the publisher isn’t allowed to understand its audience, it will produce less relevant content, driving down visits and making the advertising on its site less valuable. Audience measurement technology can also verify ads placed on websites were actually seen by humans and not placed in a hidden area of a web page. This knowledge helps to give companies comfort that the dollars they spend on advertising a particular product online are worthwhile.
  • Consumer Choice Regarding Entrusting Data to Third Parties: While self-regulation is important and needed for a variety of reasons, third party validation of an organization’s practices also goes a long way in helping improve a company’s privacy practices and increasing consumer confidence. The success of TRUSTe’s Trusted Data Collection program, of which comScore was a charter member, gives consumers more information about data collection practices and provides a means of asking questions of a member company via a third party mechanism designed to hold those companies accountable. comScore, as a member of the Better Business Bureau, is also required to respond to any inquiries consumers may send through that organization; the BBB’s evaluation of comScore’s responses directly impact the grade it give.
  • The Rising Popularity of Third-Party Audits: Similar to placing a badge on an organization’s website that signifies a review by a third party, larger scale audits conducted by third parties are also rising in popularity. And with good reason: the audits can be tremendously useful by allowing a fresh pair of eyes take a look at a company’s practices and highlight process improvements that might not have been apparent to internal privacy leaders. Additionally, it is nice to offer consumers a report produced by a third party that they can read if they wish before engaging with a particular site. For more than a decade, comScore has earned a WebTrust certification after voluntarily submitting to a rigorous annual audit that verifies comScore meets or exceeds strict privacy standards. This certification helps clients get comfortable with the integrity of the data they use to enhance their business.

comScore looks forward to forward to continuing the conversation around data privacy at Online Trust Alliance events and other meetings throughout the year. If you have any questions or comments about privacy at comScore, please contact us at privacy@comscore.com.

comScore also wants to thanks Craig Spiezle and Heather Federman of the Online Trust Alliance and acknowledge the other participants who contributed to the success  of the Data Privacy Day events:

Deborah Marrone - Federal Trade Commission
Jordan Loyd - Federal Bureau of Investigation
Caroline McCaffery - Sail Thru
Brian Rauer - Better Business Bureau
Tim Rohrbaugh - Intersections
Clark Russell - Assistant Attorney General of New York
Sal Tripi - Publishers Clearing House
Jacqueline Wagner - PwC
Kirk Author - the Electronic Crimes Task Force of the U.S. Secret Service
Saira Nayak - TRUSTe
Charles Harwood - the Federal Trade Commission
Paula Selis - the Washington State Attorney General’s Office
Connie Thompson - KOMO TV
Timothy Wallach - the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Aaron Weller - PwC

Tags: Privacy