Will People Buy Privacy?
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- After almost two decades covering the issue of Internet privacy, I have become convinced it's one of those elite concerns that, like the mythical "swing voter," exist only in the abstract.
There are many times I would like a little privacy. Surely there are many times you want it. But we are far more likely to sacrifice privacy for some other value, such as security.
Don't believe me? Wait until your kid asks for some privacy. "To do what?" you are likely to ask. And then spend the rest of the day trying to figure out what the kid is hiding. Privacy for me but not for thee.
Still, Microsoft(MSFT) thinks there is money to be made in privacy, in the form of market share. That is why it is making privacy the default setting for its new browser, Internet Explorer 10. Microsoft is acting because Google(GOOG) Chrome is catching up to IE, passing it in terms of traffic.
This comes about a year after Firefox, the third major browser, began offering a "private browsing" setting. I really thought I'd use it more.
The irony here is that the motivation behind most companies' desire for raw Web data, whether from cookies or detailed Web histories, is bogus.
It's sought so that they can sell "implicit" ad targeting, so even if I'm reading a U.K. news site I might be fed an ad in Atlanta, or even if I'm reading a youth site I might be fed an ad for prostate cures.