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blog: Don Marti

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Consent management: can it even work?

18 October 2018

Read the whole thing: Why Data Privacy Based on Consent Is Impossible, an interview with Helen Nissenbaum.

The farce of consent as currently deployed is probably doing more harm as it gives the misimpression of meaningful control that we are guiltily ceding because we are too ignorant to do otherwise and are impatient for, or need, the proffered service. There is a strong sense that consent is still fundamental to respecting people’s privacy. In some cases, yes, consent is essential. But what we have today is not really consent.

And, in Big Data's End Run Around Anonymity and Consent (PDF):

So long as a data collector can overcome sampling bias with a relatively small proportion of the consenting population, this minority will determine the range of what can be inferred for the majority and it will discourage firms from investing their resources in procedures that help garner the will- ing consent of more than the bare minimum number of people. In other words, once a critical threshold has been reached, data collectors can rely on more easily observable information to situate all individuals according to these patterns, rendering irrelevant whether or not those individuals have consented to allowing access to the critical information in question. Withholding consent will make no difference to how they are treated!

Is consent management even possible? Is a large company that seeks consent from an individual similar to a Freedom Monster?

What would happen if consent had to be informed?

And what's going on with Judge Judy and skin care products? There are thousands of skin care scams on Facebook and other places on the internet that falsely state that their product is endorsed by celebrities. These scams all advertise a free sample of their product if you pay $4.95 for the shipping. Along the way, you have to agree to the terms and conditions....The terms and conditions are only viewable through a link you have to click, which most of these people never do.

Or Martin Lewis and fake bitcoin ads? He launched a lawsuit in April 2018, claiming scammers are using his trusted reputation to ensnare people into bitcoin and Cloud Trader "get-rich-quick schemes" on Facebook.

The problem is that ad media that have more data, and are better at facilitating targeting, are also better for deceptive advertisers. Somehow an ad-supported medium needs consent for just enough data to make the ads saleable, no more. As soon as excess consent enters the system, the incentive to produce ad-supported news and cultural works goes down, and the returns to scamming goes up.

See you at Mozfest? Related sessions: Consent management at Mozfest 2018

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John Hegarty: Globalisation has hurt the marketing industry

What's There To Laugh About?

Advertising only ever works by consent

Mainstream Advertising is Still Showing Up on Conspiracy and Extremist Websites

Some dark thoughts on content marketing.