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In Data We Distrust: A Better Way to Fix Privacy

There is growing distrust over Internet data. Consumers fear how their information is collected and used, and companies struggle to maintain control over their data when transacting with third parties. This FUD is amplified by headlines recounting data-handling transgressions by Internet players — at least those we hear about. Can consumer and enterprise confidence be restored before the spigot gets turned down by users increasingly opting out?
One market-based approach to socially responsible data collection would be a private/NGO partnership: a non-profit sets the rules and a for-profit manages operations. The independent non-profit, with members from the consumer advocacy, digital publisher and data collector communities, also oversees compliance monitoring and communicates results directly to customers. We’ve embarked on this experiment with Mezzobit and Their leaders talk about the data privacy landscape and where self-regulation could play a bigger role.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. What ways have government and industry tried to better manage Internet data privacy and better respect consumer rights?
  2. What are the political forces at play regarding data privacy?
  3. How do you build a self-regulatory structure in a way that creates transparency, accountability, and credibility?
  4. What are the mechanics of data collection and aggregation that cause the most concern and will emerging technology help or harm?
  5. Can the American and European views of data privacy be reconciled for a global Internet or will one win out?



Joseph Galarneau, Founder and CEO, Mezzobit

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