Privacy and Ethical Issues in Database/Interactive Marketing and Public Policy

646 Words Oct 22nd, 2008 3 Pages
1997). To entice consumers to participate in the world of e-commerce, which is relatively unregulated, it is important for marketers to follow ethical behavior and protect consumer privacy.
In an effort to balance commerce with consumer privacy needs, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has relied on fair information principles to guide privacy regulation and industry practice in the United States (FTC 1999b). These principles include notice/awareness, choice/consent, access/participation, security/integrity, and redress/enforcement
(see the following articles in this special issue for more details: Caudill and Murphy 2000; Culnan 2000; Sheehan and Hoy 2000). Despite industry self-regulation efforts, many database marketers are
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In particular, the Internet has made it possible for organizations to gather information without the immediate knowledge of consumers (Caudill and Murphy 2000; Sheehan and Hoy
2000). By using cookies and tracking software, organizations are able to gather new types of information, such as click-and-viewing patterns, that can be used to profile and target individual consumers. The collection of these data permits organizations to sell advertising on their Web sites.
This contributes to consumers’ concerns about profiling
(Caudill and Murphy 2000) and unwanted e-mail solicitations
(Petty 2000). Although these technologies bring with them the same privacy concerns as traditional database marketing
(Phelps, Nowak, and Ferrell 2000), consumer information is now stored on a database platform that is potentially accessible to the entire Internet world. The possibility increases that this data will be accessed at a later date and used for purposes other than that for which it was intended
(Thomas and Maurer 1997). Moreover, new types of data, such as audio and video, are now being stored on databases.
2 Overview of the Special Issue
Indeed, the digitalization of new aspects of marketer and consumer information exchanges will present additional privacy challenges. Privacy policy is an issue that is being decided as technology emerges and new markets develop. Marketing researchers can contribute to privacy public policy

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