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Micky Gramlin
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Micky Gramlin   My Press Releases

A Copy of the Cross-Device Tracking An FTC Staff Report Part 4

Published on 10/11/2017
For additional information  Click Here


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The Benefits and the Challenges


Like the ability to link consumers across webpages, the ability of businesses to link consumers across different devices creates both benefits and challenges for consumers.

One benefit is that cross-device tracking creates a seamless experience for consumers across their devices, such as when they check email, read a book, or watch a movie.

A second benefit is improved fraud detection and account security.

As more transactions move online, companies can determine if a consumer is using a new device to access an account and conduct additional authentication to ensure the account belongs to the consumer and not an impostor.

Financial institutions in particular often use this technique, which can reduce waste and fraud, and lower the likelihood of identity theft.

Third, cross-device tracking may enable marketers to provide consumers with a better online experience.29 Consumers may be frustrated if one particular advertisement targets them many times.

Cross-device tracking provides companies with improved metrics that may help them avoid the oversaturation of ads.

31 It also enables them to deliver more relevant ads to consumers who may want them.

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32 For example, marketers can see how ads influence purchases on different devices and target advertising to the consumers who are most likely to be interested in the advertisers’ products.

33 Finally, cross-device tracking technology may enhance competition in the advertising arena. Currently, few entities have large user bases with deterministic data (e.g., login information) that they can use to track consumers across devices and serve ads

34 By leveraging cross-device tracking technology, companies without deterministic data may be able to compete with first-party entities that do,

35 providing insights to clients,

36 forging new advertising models with a better consumer experience, and increasing efficiency to benefit those in the advertising ecosystem, including consumers.

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37 However, cross-device tracking also creates privacy challenges. The first challenge is transparency

38 Because the practice of cross-device tracking is often not obvious, consumers may be surprised to find that their browsing behavior on one device will inform the ads they see on another device.

39 Indeed, many of the consumers who submitted comments to the workshop expressed concern about the practice of cross-device tracking.

40 Probabilistic tracking, where consumers are tracked without having signed in to any service, may be particularly surprising and concerning to consumers, especially where sensitive information is involved.

For example, a person may not expect that if she downloads an app related to a medical condition in the privacy of her home, she may receive ads on other platforms related to that condition.

41 A teen who does not want her parents to know she is gay may be surprised to learn that her browsing behavior on her mobile device informs ads that appear on the household computer.

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42 As with all practices that implicate consumer privacy, when sensitive information is involved, there is a heightened need for transparency, choice, and security.

Consumers may also be unaware of the potential scope of cross-device tracking. Such practices may not be limited to tracking consumers across desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. It may also include viewing information from smart televisions, health information from a wearable device, or even shopping habits at brick-and-mortar stores.

44 Of the one hundred privacy policies reviewed, staff found only three policies that explicitly mentioned enabling third-party cross-device tracking on their site.

45 Not only is the practice of cross-device tracking opaque to consumers but so are the myriad entities that have access to, compile, and share data in the tracking ecosystem.

46 While a continuous experience may be intuitive when a consumer logs into the same service on different devices, third-party advertising and analytics companies with which the consumer has no relationship may also track her activity across devices.

47 Similar issues apply to third-party advertising networks in general. And the Commission’s Data Brokers report also discussed the dozens of companies that enable data brokers to collect consumers’ personal information, most of which have little or no direct consumer interaction.

48 A second challenge associated with cross-device tracking is that consumers who may be uncomfortable with the practice have only limited choices to control it. Studies show that a large number of consumers currently take steps to limit data collection

49 Some surveys suggest that 30% to almost 50% of internet users delete their cookies every month.

50 As of January 2016, 29% of consumers in the United States and United Kingdom reported that they had turned on the Limit Ad Tracking setting for their iOS and Android smartphones.

51 In addition, consumers are increasingly turning to ad blockers. One recent study reported that at least 419 million consumers, or 22% of the world’s smartphone users, are blocking ads on the mobile web.

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52 Another recent study inquired why people use ad blockers, and 39% of U.S. respondents identified privacy concerns as a reason

53 Even as consumers have become savvier about making choices to opt out of traditional online tracking, some of these choices may not apply to cross device tracking

54 Hackers often target large caches of information, as recently announced breaches demonstrate.

55 Even though cross-device tracking information may not contain credit card or financial account numbers, or Social Security numbers, consumers can be harmed if it is released without authorization.

56 These harms could include the posting of highly-private information on a public website, including health information or other sensitive information gleaned from internet browsing histories. Wrongdoers may also access the information to engage in blackmail

57 or to conduct especially effective spear phishing campaigns.

58 Further, if third-party archives of consumer information are breached, other security measures such as knowledge-based authentication could become less effective.

This could be especially harmful for consumers in the banking sector, which has historically relied upon security questions about personal information.

Next: Industry Self-Regulatory Efforts to Address

Cross-Device Tracking


Thank you for stopping by!

Micky Gramlin



Google Starts Tracking To Assess Online Ads

A Copy of the Cross-Device Tracking An FTC Staff Report Part 1

A Copy of the Cross-Device Tracking An FTC Staff Report Part 2

A Copy of the Cross-Device Tracking An FTC Staff Report Part 3



PDF File FTC Cross Tracking

Source for Pictures



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