Archive for January, 2014

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

I’ll Take That Bet

JulesPolonetsky Jules Polonetsky is executive director of the Future of Privacy Forum, an industry-supported privacy group whose supporters include Acxiom, Facebook and Mastercard Worldwide.

It’s a group that exists, in other words, to make sure PR heads off actual laws.

Here’s what Don Quixote Polonetsky promises his fair Dulcinea, per Advertising Age:

[T]he Future of Privacy Forum worked with U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, D-NY, and leading mobile location analytics companies to develop a code of conduct that encourages responsible use of in-store technology to improve the shopping experience [TCT: ROFL!] while respecting user privacy. This code can be [TCT: How?] enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, and provides strong [TCT: ROFL again] requirements:

Ensure consumers are not personally identified unless they expressly consent

Create a central Do Not Track site where consumers can permanently opt-out if they wish

Post conspicuous signage in bricks-and-mortar locations so consumers are aware of the use of location technology

These technologies offer some exciting opportunities to maximize convenience for consumers and to help them get the best prices. They all rely on using mobile data in new ways, and all can raise concerns if not handled properly.

Stores are faced with a choice: They can keep quiet about these new technologies while implementing minimal privacy protections, or they can be up-front and conspicuous about how mobile data is being used and proactively define its tangible benefits to consumers. The former risks alienating consumers, while the latter gives retailers the opportunity to build their brand, trust, and deepen relationships with customers.

Golly, I wonder which route “stores” will take…

Meanwhile, notice what is really being suppressed here either way — the public will. Even if all “stores” were to adopt Polo’s code, is there any doubt that a huge swath of shoppers would end up getting duped into allowing the supposedly “good” things proposed by this front group?

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Posted by Michael Dawson | Filed in Data Scraping, Information Control, Privacy | 1 Comment »


Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Liberal Practicality as Science

pimp Just encountered a new example of our old friend, liberal practicality. This time, it’s not craven Democratic Partiers, but high-minded scientists:

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet’s most pressing problems.

How, then, does UCS justify its pimping of overclass attempts to extend the Age of the Automobile, to say nothing of its perhaps even more craven and anti-scientific shilling for “biofuels”?

Well, the answer comes right there in the same “About Us” blurb that begins with the above claims to rigor, objectivity, and seriousness:

Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.

“Effective” and “practical,” of course, both mean the same thing: politically safe within existing arrangements. Or, even more plainly, hopelessly insufficient.

The results? Take a look at this chart, which shows UCS’ view of the advantages of so-called “electric vehicles” in the three power-generation regions of the United States. Not only might you find it pretty newsworthy to see that UCS’ label for the dirtiest energy-production regions of the country are the “Good” area, but check out the baseline for this bogus EV pitch — a regular car that gets 27 MPG!

What would happen to the UCS numbers if one were to use the MPG rating of the best existing gas cars?

That number is 37, which is 37 percent higher than 27. It doesn’t take much scientific rigor to figure out that a rather base trick is afoot here.

The only possible scientific attitude to automobiles is that they were and are a capitalist pipedream and also a dire threat to the future of human civilization. The only possible genuinely practical policy recommendation is for radical reconstruction of towns and cities to facilitate non-automotive locomotion. To the extent continued car-use must be a transitional part of that larger plan, the only conceivably rational and honest recommendation is to advise people to always buy the best available regular-gas car, and to push for imposition of radically higher MPG rules and heavy taxes on gas guzzlers, which should be defined as all automobiles not within a few MPG of the best available models.

Shame on you, UCS!

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Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Colbert Does Faxon

Faxon: “Advertising is the critical ingredient in bringing great content to consumers.”

Fox “journalist”:  “This is wonderful technology.”

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Posted by Michael Dawson | Filed in advertising trends, Behind the Scenes | Comment now »


Monday, January 13th, 2014

Another Reason to Avoid TV

tvAccording to Advertising Age, now that Romneycare is being imposed, there will be an “explosion” of advertising by the corporations and fake charities it was designed to rescue:

Using projections from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Scott Roskowski, senior VP-marketing for TVB, a trade association for the broadcast TV industry, predicts health insurers will spend $500 million — or more — on ads this year. He also says his estimates are conservative. Why? Mr. Roskowski said the industry stands to gain $100 billion in new revenue because of the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that nearly all Americans have health care coverage.

“This is really the growth sector in local broadcast television,” Mr. Roskowski said. “It’s going to be a heck of a year.”

And the fun continues! There will also be a matching boom in right-wing advertising encouraging people to boycott enrollment in Romneycare.

Meanwhile: “All in all, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that there will still be about 31 million nonelderly Americans uninsured in 2023.”

Only in America!

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Posted by Michael Dawson | Filed in Bad Products, Private-Sector Boondoggles | 1 Comment »