135 Marketing Trends found for Corporate / Legal

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America's FTC Roots for Extended Consumer Privacy Law

Bottom Line: The Federal Trade Commission, the body responsible for protecting US citizens' privacy, has called for legislation to give them access to information held by data brokers - emulating the public's extant right to review data held by credit agencies.

The FTC recommendation coincided with the publication of the final version of a privacy-policy framework put forward for comment in December 2010. The latest variant, however, fails to emulate the initial version which also called on personal data traffickers to create a universal "do not track" mechanism to protect online privacy and stops short of urging Congress to specific  actions. Instead FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz  ...

[Estimated timeframe: Q2 2012 onward]

... observed that self-regulation "appears to be working towards" a more draconian end: a do-not-track option for consumers, although he suggested congressional interest offered an extra incentive.

Says Leibowitz: "We are confident that consumers will have an easy-to-use and effective 'do not track' option by the end of the year because companies are moving forward expeditiously to make it happen and because lawmakers will want to enact legislation if they don't."

The latest version of the Firefox browser already allows users to switch-off browsing histories and tell websites "I do not want to be tracked."

Reports Philly.com: "The FTC perceives there to be a need for broad privacy legislation and specific protections to address problems such as lax data security and the activities of data brokers - companies that, without the consent or even knowledge of most consumers, collect and traffic in the data we leave behind as we travel through virtual and brick-and-mortar worlds."

The FTC report recommends that companies be held responsible for what it called "privacy by design," defined as practices that "build in privacy at every stage of product development."

Like the new Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights announced by President Barack Obama last month, the FTC's framework focuses on the transparency of information-handling practices and on consumer expectations that arise from the context in which personal information is requested.

Ioana Rusu, regulatory counsel at Consumers Union, said expectations about privacy were routinely confounded by the data-brokerage industry, in which little-known companies such as Axciom collect and trade data about consumers. Information from brokers can be used directly for marketing or combined with data from other sources to build more detailed profiles of individual consumers.

To quote Rusu: "The FTC is basically saying it's really problematic that entities that have no real relationship with consumers are amassing huge amounts of information about them. The consumer doesn't have any way of controlling that information, or even knowing that it exists or what it's being used for."

Consumers' expectations are also at the heart of a lawsuit against Google filed in Philadelphia last week. The suit contends that people who use Google's online services or who own mobile devices based on its Android operating system are being harmed by a new, unified privacy policy that Google implemented on March 1.

The suit says Google seeks to boost its online advertising revenue by mingling data from the dozens of free services it offers, such as its search engine, Gmail, and YouTube.

The suit argues: "Google's new privacy policy is nothing more than Google's effort to garner a larger market share of advertising revenue by offering targeted advertising capabilities that compete with or surpass those offered by social networks, such as Facebook, where all of a consumer's personal information is available in one site."

A Google spokesman declined to comment on the suit, saying the company [famed motto: "Don't be evil"] had not yet had time to review it. But Google, which says it has made few changes in its underlying data-handling practices, has criticized other class actions prompted by its unified policy.

"We believe these cases are without merit, and we intend to defend them vigorously," Google said in response to the earlier suits.

"Our updated privacy policy makes our privacy practices easier to understand, and it reflects our desire to create a seamless experience for our signed-in users. We undertook the most extensive notification effort in Google's history, and we're continuing to offer choice and control over how people use our services."

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: Philly.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5803

3-D Printing Eyes Home User Market - Lawyers Smack Lips!

Bottom Line: 3D printing is the process of creating three dimensional objects from digital files via a materials 'printer'. Seen by many as the next techno-breakthrough, the process has already triggered copyright-related legal battles in its Swedish home market.

Controversial website The Pirate Bay announced this week it would begin hosting hi-tech digital files - branded Physibles - that enable visitors to download and print objects via their 3D printers ... objects capable of becoming physical entities. The announcement has unprecedented implications for intellectual property law, raising issues on patents, copyrights and trademarks. Looking way ahead into the future and eyeing a dollar-laden prospect Pirate Bay hypes ...

[Estimated timeframe: Q1 2012 onward]

... "We believe that things like three-dimensional printers, scanners and such are just the first. We believe that in the nearby future you will print your spare parts for your vehicles."

A vision that drives a shard of fear into the world of material manufacturing and joy into the hearts of lawyers!

3D printing, which has long existed in the industrial world, has started to infiltrate the hobbyist community in recent years, according to German newspaper DW World which reports: "Fablabs" have sprung up in cities worldwide that teach people how to print physical objects, ranging from spare parts to art, and even edible objects.

The process is an "additive" manufacturing technique that essentially takes digital data and, with the help of a robotic arm, forms a physical object by "printing" or releasing a hardening substance like plastic in thin layers without a mold.

As utopian (or Orwellian) as data-to-object manufacturing may sound, it's a development rapidly gaining momentum and one that poses unprecedented implications for intellectual property law, encompassing patents, copyrights and trademarks.

Currently, the judicial landscape in unclear on the issue.

Last year, Dutch designer Ulrich Schwanitz developed a 3D object, naming it Impossible Triangle, which he sold through the 3D design company Shapeways. He later forced Thingiverse, an open-source repository site for 3D models, to remove instructions of how to recreate the shape, which was delivered by a former Shapeways intern.

Schwanitz's efforts are believed to be the first formal attempt to apply copyright law to 3D content.

In the months and years ahead, patent lawyers and open source advocates in their droves will explore to what extent existing intellectual property legislation impacts on 3D printing and other new technologies that transform digital data into objects.

The sound you hear in the background is the smacking of lawyerly lips!

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: DW-World.de
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5760

EU Mulls Draconian New Online Privacy Legislation

Bottom Line: The European Commisssion is proposing new, far-reaching data protection legislation that could impact on all companies trading in personal data.

The New York Times has obtained a copy of the European Commission's proposed new data protection legislation which, if enacted, will trigger anguish, protest and frenetic lobbying from the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon.com. All of whom have much to lose if, in 2014 ...

[Estimated timeframe: 2014 onward]

... the European Parliament approves the new law.

It would impact on all online businesses trading in personal data, such as photographs posted on social networks, what people buy on retail sites, or seek via a search engine. More specifically, the proposed bill would additionally require:

  • Online data-gathers to tell consumers why their data is being collected and permit its retention only for as long as necessary.
  • If data is stolen, sites would have to notify regulators within 24 hours.
  • Consumers to be offered the right to transfer their data from one service to another — to deactivate a Facebook account, for example, and move pictures, posts and contacts to Google Plus.
  • It also governs digital life and commerce: who owns personal data, what happens to it once it is posted online, and what the proper balance is between guarding privacy and leveraging that data to aim commercial or political advertising at ordinary people.

According to Viviane Reding, the European Commission’s vice president for justice: “Companies must be transparent about what they are doing, clear about which data is being used for what. I am absolutely persuaded the new law is necessary to have, on the one hand, better protection of the constitutional rights of our citizens and more flexibility for companies to utilize our Continent.”

A full draft of the proposed regulations will be published in Brussels tomorrow and the European Parliament is expected to deliberate on the proposals in the coming months.

The law, if approved, will go into effect by 2014.

The New York Times notes that: "The regulation is not likely to directly affect American consumers. For American companies, its silver lining is that it offers one uniform law for all 27 countries in Europe. Currently each country, and sometimes, as in the case of Germany, each state, has separate laws about data protection."

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: NYTimes.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5755

Obama Steps on the Fuel Economy Gas Pedal - Sets Target for 2025

Bottom Line: In a move with profound inplications for the US economy as a whole, the White House proposes new automobile fuel economy standards for car-makers that aim to double average gas mileage for passenger vehicles by 2025.

Says US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood: "Think about what this means. American families would fill up their cars every two weeks rather than every week." MarketingTomorrow also invites you to consider the effect that achieving such a goal would have on the US economy as a whole ... a substantial reduction in the cost of shipping goods to consumers and consumer outlets ... a concomitant rise in average family disposable incomes ... 

[Estimated timeframe: Q4 2011 - 2025]

... and the beneficial knock-on effect on retailers' and manufacturers' bottom lines.

Proposed November 16, the rules mark the latest step in a lengthy campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and oil consumption. They would build on the administration's ambitious standards that raise average gas consumption to 35.5 mpg over five years ending with the 2016 model year.

The latest standards would be phased-in starting with the 2017 model year.

When he disclosed his intent in July, President Barack Obama was flanked by executives from thirteen major automakers and the head of the United Auto Workers Union, signaling their broad support for the final proposal.

With exemptions and other provisions, actual mileage may be about 42 mpg for cars, with significantly lower requirements for light trucks, including minivans, SUVs and full-size pickup trucks.

The standards demand a substantial leap from the 2011 model-year average of 27.8 mpg and environmentalists praised the proposed new rules.

"These standards are the biggest single step any nation has taken to fight global warming," said Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign at the Center for Auto Safety. "You will see most 2025 cars and light trucks getting the mileage of today's Prius and Ford Escape hybrid. Most of the changes will be under the hood."

Carmakers have backed both the current and the proposed standards, but the National Automobile Dealers Association [NADA] criticized the proposed rules for adding a claimed additional $3,000 to average vehicle prices by 2025.

Wails NADA: "This regulation gambles that millions of consumers will be able to afford thousands more for generally smaller, more expensive vehicles that may not meet their needs.  This policy is contrary to what most consumers are actually buying today, despite the wide availability of more fuel-efficient models."

But the administration asserts that the new fuel economy standards won't push Americans to drive smaller vehicles and pointed out that truck and SUV makers are already working to manufacture far more fuel-efficient versions of their current models.

Moreover, the new, combined sets of fuel economy standards will save Americans more than $1.7 trillion at the pump, according to administration estimates - equating to about $8,000 per vehicle. The standards also would reduce the nation's oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels a day — "enough to offset almost a quarter of the current level" of oil imports.

Another claimed benefit is that heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 6 billion metric tons over the life of the programs, according to Federal estimates.

The new standards will be open for public comment for 60 days after being published in the Federal Register. The administration said the Environmental Agency and the Transportation Department will also hold public hearings nationwide.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: LATimes.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5713

EU to Enforce Clearer Online Shopping Price Transparency

Bottom Line: The rights of European consumers shopping online will be strengthened by new legislation agreeed earlier this week by the EU's Council of Ministers.

Following European ministers' green-lighting of a new law proposed in June this year, the trade bloc's twenty-seven member nations have been given a two-year period of grace in which to pass domestic legislation enforcing new rules governing online shopping. The key benefit to consumers will be the prohibition of internet ads that ...


[Estimated timeframe: Q4 2011- 2013]

... attempt to sell additional pre-selected services. When buying a plane ticket for example, consumers are frequently presented with pre-ticked boxes offering add-on services such as travel insurance or car rental. Currently the onus to untick the box lies with the consumer. Come 2013, however, it will be mandatory for websites to present only unticked choice boxes.

Following the new legislation, online customers can refuse to pay if they were not adequately informed prior to the purchase.

Additionally the new laws will reqire a website to make clear any "[information] about its compatibility with hardware and software and the application of any technical protection measures.

For example, "limiting the right for the consumers to make copies of the content," and that "consumers will have a right to withdraw from purchases of digital content, such as music or video downloads, but only up until the moment the actual downloading process begins."

European consumer groups and digital rights groups have hailed the new legislation.

Says Joe McNamee, head of Brussells-based online advocacy group European Digital Rights: "I think that it is probably a helpful small step in the right direction.

"Even certain otherwise reputable companies use some quite underhand tactics through 'imaginative' use of default checks in checkboxes on their websites (such as changing back to the default 'opt-in' if the user has to go back and change anything on a form).

"These companies, at least, will be forced to adopt more transparent policies by the legislation."



All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: DW-World.de
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5687

US Congress Duo Ask FTC to Investigate 'Supercookies'

Bottom Line: New 'supercookie' technology that evades web surfers' efforts to avoid being tracked could be banned by the Federal Trade Commission following representations by two senior US lawmakers.

A letter jointly signed by US congressmen Joe Barton (Republican, Texas) and Ed Markey (Democrat, Massachusetts) urges the Federal Trade Commission to probe the growing use of so-called 'supercookies' that override privacy measures taken by web users to protect their online identity. The bipartisan duo have urged the FTC to investigate whether the use of 'supercookies' amounts to ...  

[Estimated timeframe: Q3 2011 onward]

.... an unfair or deceptive practice. According to respresentative Barton, 'supercookies' should be "outlawed." 

In a joint statement Barton and Markey declare: "We believe the usage of supercookies takes away consumer control over their own personal information, presents a greater opportunity for the misuse of personal information, and provides another way for consumers to be tracked online."

Some consumers have long tried to avoid online tracking by deleting their HTTP cookies. But the new "supercookie" techniques rely on storing information in files that aren't erased when users delete their HTTP cookies.

For instance, analytics company KISSmetrics stored data about users in ETags, which reside in the browser cache and can be used to respawn deleted HTTP cookies. Until KISSmetrics revised its practices in August, the only way of avoiding ETag tracking was by deleting the browser cache or installing a program called AdBlock.

Flash cookies, which are stored in a different place in the browser than HTTP cookies, are an older form of supercookies.

Quantcast, Clearspring and Say Media's Video Egg recently paid a total of $3.4 million to settle privacy lawsuits stemming from their alleged use of Flash cookies.

Since when Adobe has made it easier for surfers to delete Flash cookies.

FTC officials have previously criticized the use of Flash cookies, but the commission has never brought an enforcement action regarding supercookies.

It's not clear whether courts or regulators would rule that using a hard-to-delete tracking technology is illegal.

But according to Justin Brookman, director of the Center for Democracy & Technology's Consumer Privacy Project, there is a good argument that tracking people by methods other than traditional cookies is a deceptive and unfair practice. "Using another means to track just seems like a means to evade user choice," he stold Online Media Daily.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: MediaPost.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5675

Restricting Auto Sales: China Hits the Brake Pedal

Bottom Line: Guiyang, the capital of southwest China's Guizhou province, follows Beijing in restricting sales of new cars. Will other urbanized nations follow this trend?

Guiyang's population of 3.7 million collectively drive some 616,000 motor vehicles - of which over half (330,000) are privately owned. The result:  severe daily traffic congestion in downtown areas of the metropolis. Accordingly, the city government has introduced a rationing scheme for new vehicles - a move some observers see as the shape of things to come across the rest of the developed world. The quota plan which went ... 

[Estimated timeframe: Q3 2011 onward]

... operational as of this month, requires car buyers to enter a monthly lottery for the right to obtain new license plates. However, the Guiyang city government has yet to disclose its monthly quota on new vehicle sales.

With a population of 3.7 million, the city has a fleet of 616,000 motor vehicles, including 330,000 privately owned cars. The weight of traffic has caused severe congestion  in the city's downtown areas, according to the Guiyang government.

Beijing was the first Chinese city to impose a limit on new car sales, capping these at 20,000 units per month as of January 2011. The move has been repeatedly cited as one of several factors causing the slowdown in domestic auto sales in China this year.

According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, the nation's passenger vehicle sales increased only 5.8% in the first half of this year to 7.1 million units, compared with 37% growth in 2010.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: AdAge.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5621

Fast Food Ad Ban Mooted by US Doctors

Bottom Line: The advertising of fast, unhealthy foods could be at risk of a US national ban following lobbying by The American Academy of Pediatrics.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, a group of 65,000 physicians, has issued a statement calling for Congress and the Federal Trade Commission to enact laws preventing the advertising of allegedly unhealthy foods. In particular, the medics are concerned about the advertising of such products to children, claiming that "kids see 5,000 to 10,000 food ads per year, most pushing unhealthy foods". Alleges Dr Victor Strasburger, the statement's lead author ...

[Estimated timeframe: Q3 2011 - 2014]

... "We've created a perfect storm for childhood obesity - media, advertising, and inactivity. American society couldn't do a worse job at the moment of keeping children fit and healthy - too much TV, too many food ads, not enough exercise, and not enough sleep." 

In April, the FTC and other agencies released a set of voluntary principles regarding the marketing of foods to children. These cover ads targeting children 17 and below, and  are limited to products that have the right ingredient profile.

Comments on the voluntary guidelines are due later this month (July 14) but the food industry has already criticized the guidelines as "draconian". Howls a Campbells Soup spokesman: “The nutritional criteria . . . are highly unrealistic."

While the most prominent of the usual suspects,  Dan Jaffe, evp, Association of National Advertisers complains: "They’re asking the whole industry to change behavior, and they’re using old data to justify it.”

Jaffe cites the self-regulatory program introduced in 2006, when advertisers (collectively representing 70%-80% of all ads targeting children)  amended their products and messaging.

Though the FTC's latest guidelines are voluntary, advertisers are worried the could lead to future clampdowns. “There is the force of regulation behind it,” Jaffe says.

Meantime, in the opposite corner is nutritionist and New York University Professor Marion Nestle, whose tome Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health describes tactics used by food company marketers to lure children as young as two years to consume their products.

Nestle quotes one marketer saying: "Kids are a growing demographic and [advertisers] are trying to get in on the ground floor." Another marketing strategist defended childhood advertising as "nothing less than primary education in commercial life."

But, warns Professor Nestle: "Children comprise a multi-billion dollar market, and what better way to instill brand loyalty and increase lifetime profits than by marketing to the youngest, most vulnerable, members of society?"

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: RTNews.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5614

Will New Dutch Law Trigger EU-Wide Net Neutrality and Enforce Prior Consent for Cookies?

Bottom Line: This is a tsunami in the making, likely to spread throughout the European Union and beyond, forcing a rethink in the collection of personal data for marketing purposes.

The Staten-Generaal, the parliament of The Netherlands, has passed a new law significant in its implications - not only within its fellow European Union states - but also for online marketers worldwide who fear similar moves in their own backyards. In line with EU policy, the new law compels website owners to obtain prior consumer consent before placing cookies on a computer. Opposed by the online ad industry and telecommunications companies, the legislation is seen as an anti-business precedent that could metastasize across the Union and beyond. The new law also ... ...

[Estimated timeframe: Q2 2011 - onward]

... bans  telcos from charging online customers more when using Skype and other services with which the telcos directly compete. The legislation makes Holland the first European Union nation to guarantee so-called 'net neutrality'. Some piqued companies have threatened to quit the Netherlands in retaliation.

But the telcos could have an even bigger scrap on their hands. EU officials have said there is little likelihood of a challenge the Dutch law, rendering it highly improbable that the new legislation will be overturned at a higher judicial level. 

The Wall Street Journal notes that in November 2010, "the EU passed a directive requiring online advertisers to get 'informed consent' from users before placing cookies on their computers". Under EU treaty law, member-nations were allowed six months to insert that rule into their national legislation.

According to Kimon Zorbas, vice president of the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe: "The Dutch law is an important case study because it's such a big market. We would expect companies from our sector to either move their operations to neighbouring countries or lose their clients to companies located elsewhere in Europe."

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: WSJ.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5605

North-South Divide Splits EU Over 'Country of Origin' Product Labeling

Bottom Line: EU 'country of origin product labelling proposal riles US, China: could spark retaliation.

A proposal to mandate country-of-origin labeling on all products sold within the European Union has triggered a divisive split between the trade bloc's southern and northern member-nations, according to the Wall Street Journal. Many observers regard it as odd that the EU does not already require 'country of origin' labelling - a requirement in the USA since the 1930s. According to EU surveys, around 25% of consumers make product choices according to the nation in which a product is manufactured. The north-south divide between  member states is triggered by ...

[Estimated timeframe: Q3 2011 onward]

... the bloc's southern manufacturing base which differs from the large (mainly northern) multinational firms that sell items imported from abroad.

The proposal is primarily directed at low-cost countries such as Turkey, Tunisia and the Asian region from which, according to Datamonitor, the EU imported $384.2 billion in apparel in 2009.

Michele Tronconi, chief executive of Italian textile-finishing company Gaspare Tronconi SpAG, supports the EU initiative: "It's all about making it fair for European companies still making their goods in Europe," he says.

Interested parties from beyond the EU see it differently. As do factions within the trade bloc, such as the UK and Germany. "We have a problem with anything that is not a voluntary scheme," avers Holger Dreiseitl, a spokesman for the German mission to the EU.

The Stateside view is equally anti: "We don't see how it's necessary," says a former US Commerce Department official based in Brussels.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: WSJ.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5587

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