For two years the industry has dragged its feet on privacy, according to audits by the Federal Trade Commission. The European Union has passed a strict privacy regime, but U.S. negotiators are resisting any such effort here. Now IBM has given us one more chance to deliver a simple notice that will tell customers what we’re doing with the data we collect on them.
There’s no standard for what a privacy statement may say, so you can make either your current procedures or your business plans’ procedures your privacy statement. There’s not even a requirement that the statement be easy to understand. Just post the statement, pay the modest (US$300.-US$4,999.) license fee, which varies with your sales, and you’re golden — at least with IBM.
While press reports indicated that you should worry about IBM pulling its ads from your site, the real enemy here is Congress, the bureaucracy and (over the long term) voters who don’t understand database marketing and so fear it. There’s no guarantee that following IBM’s “demand” will head off new laws and regulations. But so far those battles have been won by the industry, and this latest move could insulate you in the coming policy debate.
What do you think? Let’s talk about it.