I sent an email to ToneFuse asking what data it collects and what it does with it. I’m still waiting for a response. I also emailed Scott Meyer, CEO of Evidon, asking how consumers could be expected to navigate through a world where even the ad industry’s own watchdogs don’t know who many of these players are.
He wrote back:
I think you have hit on a key point. In this case, ToneFuse's lack of transparency has you as a consumer not feeling as comfortable as you would with another company that discloses more information. That's precisely why Ghostery users, who provide the anonymous, aggregated data that powers Evidon Encompass, typically chose to selectively block companies that are not as forthcoming with this type of information.
In the spirit of transparency, I also asked Evidon to analyze my personal Web site for tracking. What they sent back both surprised and appalled me:
It appears that the social media widget AddThis invited a bunch of its pals over for a kegger on my Web site and didn’t tell me. I quickly uninstalled it and booted all those freeloaders.
Three lessons here:
1. Transparency may sound good in theory, but in practice it’s kind of a nightmare. There’s either too much data to make an informed decision or not enough. It’s not a viable alternative to a true one-click Do Not Track option.
2. When even the ad industry can’t tell you who the trackers are, you know it’s gotten totally out of control.
3. Be careful whom you accuse of being a tracker -- you might be one of them.
Got a question about social media or privacy? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan may have the answer (and if not, he’ll make something up). Visit his snarky, occasionally NSFW blog eSarcasm or follow him on Twitter: @tynanwrites. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to’s, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.
Now read this: