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?