Group 3:

The Ethics of Selling
User Data
feat. Alex Golden, David Graham, Khoa Ha and
Andrew Rodgers-Schatz
Selling Customer Info Is Acceptable
Using user data for marketing allows for a
more customized user experience (cookie
services such as BlueKai and eXelate allow
vendors such as Kayak, Hilton, etc to better
know what you're searching for and deliver
targeted ads based on such)
The alternative to targeted marketing would
be blanketed advertisements everywhere, in
an attempt to deliver the right content to the
people looking for it.
Users can opt out of tracking if they want.
Advertising allows companies to make
money while offering services for free.
People are generally opposed to websites
that require payment. The money has to
come from somewhere, however. Selling
user information is the only reason that so
many websites can offer free services.
Collecting Consumer Info is
Don't need to resort to blanket ads
Contextual ads (eg. AdSense)
Placement-targeted ads
Collecting demographics on page load (GeoIP, time
of day)
"Opting out of tracking" often equates to not
using the product at all
Profiles could contain personal information
Selling consumer info is not the same as
allowing clients to choose what
demographics to market to
User Info Shouldn't Be Sold
Giving away information provided
in assumed confidence is a breach
of privacy and trust
Selling info is equivalent to for-profit pirating
Spam filters make it not worth the cost to
advertisers of buying information. If the
information is used other than for
advertising, the breach of privacy is far more
Lowers the bar of entry for identity theft
People Should Be Paid For Their
The companies people trust with their info
should allow some of their profit to pass
back to the source of the value (the
customers), as it costs little for the
companies to gather and distribute the
Profits Shouldn't be Shared
The users are being compensated for their
data with provided targeted services.
Payment would require a system for
delivery. That would require that these
corporations have users' bank information in
addition to their browsing habits.
Aggregating the payment info for millions of
internet users would be a HUGE security