Consumers Should Know How Much of Their Personal Data is Out There

What would we think if we knew just how much of our personal information advertisers had? One panelist wondered that out loud this morning during a discussion entitled “We’ve Heard What Real Consumers Say About Media … What Is the Industry Doing About It Now?” at the 2009 4A’s Media Conference & Trade Show. Over at Geek Soap Box, blogger Ted is noticing the same anxieties from 4A’s participants concerning transparency and consumer privacy. Advertisers want to self-regulate, of course. I’m skeptical any sort of regulation is possible right now. In a world of Facebookers and Twitterers, no one has a clue what people want to be private. If rules were established, there’d be no way to enforce them.

The first step is transparency. As consumers, we need some free way to check exactly what’s out there about us.

In other 4A’s news, if this morning’s collection of “Live Consumer Panels,” was any indication, the biggest difference between young people and baby boomers is their feelings about newspapers. The panel of six 20-somethings could barely contain their ire for hard copy news. “Newspapers are dead,” said one, adding that she hated how environmentally unfriendly the medium was. Another said he’d never pay for news in any form. The six boomers, on the other hand, said they can’t live without the paper in the morning. Check out the conference’s Twitter feed for more observations.

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