Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 54 - News to Note

News about "New" Media
According to a report from Reuters, U.S. marketers and consumer advocates are preparing to do battle over the rules governing online advertising tailored to individual browsing habits. These are often tracked and collected without notice or permission, something most consumers seem not to understand.

Congress is due to intervene with a bill in the House of Representatives that would oblige websites to state explicitly how they use consumers' information and allow those using sites to opt out. A billion-dollar industry and consumer privacy are at stake here.

Advertisers and popular websites say visitors prefer ads that are targeted to their interests and if this is the case then they must accept advertising as a necessary condition in order to obtain the free content. In a recent survey, 75 percent of Americans said they were opposed to tailored advertising if it meant their behavior when surfing the Internet was being tracked.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Pennsylvania surveyed 1,000 Americans this summer and concluded that there is a deep concern that tracking Internet habits for tailoring ads is wrong. What's your opinion?

Targeted online ads account for $1.1 billion or 4.5 percent of the overall $24.5 billion dollars which will be spent for online advertising in 2009, according to eMarketer.

In Washington, House members are prepared to introduce bipartisan legislation later this year aimed at helping consumers better understand the information being collected about them and how it is used. The bill would oblige websites to display a privacy policy and explain to users how information is collected and how it will be used. It would also require sites to allow visitors to opt out of having their data used to create profiles for advertisers.

...And, In News of the Weird
It is normally the students who are sent home from school for inappropriate attire, but an English college is threatening to send faculty members home for violating a dress code, which includes a ban on blue jeans. The teacher's union has accused Birmingham Metropolitan College of "acting like the fashion police" and discrimination. The newly re-issued dress code requires lecturers to wear a "business suit, smart jacket and coordinating trousers or skirt, smart shirt/top/blouse or smart dress." (I'm a little iffy on the definition of "smart" here.)

Scruffy trousers, jeans, ostentatious jewelry and outrageous hair styles or colors are strictly banned at the London-based school. All tattoos must be covered. A union representative stated that he had never seen the university staff so angry over any issue. One can only imagine the response if US colleges and universities ever tried to enforce a dress code like this!

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