A very thoughtful post on Google’s new privacy platform, from an advocate of consumer empowerment without regulation. The conclusion:
Google’s Ad Preference Manager, with its persistent opt-out plug-in, offers precisely the kind of robust opt-out that privacy advocates have always demanded. Google deserves a rousing “Amen!” from privacy advocates. But those who respond to this program by insisting that “more needs to be done on how to educate people and tell them how to opt out,” are right in two senses. First, Google has shown other ad networks how to do more to empower users. I am confident that they will rise to that challenge by continuing to refine self-regulation through technological innovation. Second, this is by no means the last word in privacy protection from Google, which operates in the midst of continually-evolving privacy standards. I expect Google and competing ad networks will continue to innovate in developing technologies that empower users to manage their own privacy-and that this competitive “race to the top” will improve online privacy protection in a broader sense beyond just advertising by putting pressure on other online service providers to improve their privacy practices and policies.