So the industry has got together to discuss online privacy to pave the way for behaviourally targeted advertising , spearheaded by the IAB – and seeing this being picked up by the wider press, such as the BBC’s article New guidelines on behavioural ads

Will write something fuller later on, but something immediate jumped out of the page at me.

“There is no personally identifiable information. They don’t have your name, address or phone number. Instead search terms are linked to a random cookie number in a general geographic area,” said Nate Elliott, a principal researcher at Forrester.

Mr Elliott, a cookie IS personal to an individual machine’s logged-in user, sorry to piss on your parade. Such statements are not going to help cut it with privacy advocates. And as to what information is stored alongside the cookie, or other “logins” to sites, etc – well it isn’t exactly rocket science to join the dots. People are looking for a little more assurance then trying to blind them with science.

At the end of the day, people don’t want spies in their midst, especially not for someone else’s commercial gain. However, people are looking for enhancements for their lives and technology can, does and will do that. Therein lays the balance.

Loyalty cards are opt-in – but people are under no illusion that they are personally being tracked – they just feel the reward outweighs the concern in their own minds. But no-one has lied to them or taken away their choice to join the programme. People freaked when Amazon started recommending things to them, until they felt the value.

And as for the three points about “companies collecting data must…” the whole concept behind the scenes is that all digital advertising is based upon cookies, and targeting is being done at a level across all advertisers so that each can benefit from the whole.

So if we are going to address privacy, at least let’s be straight about the technology – and stop treating people like a bunch of muppets!