"Just because we were acquired doesn't mean we're handing over any user data. Can I sign in blood and tell you that our privacy terms will not change for all of eternity? No. Can I tell you we have no plans to do anything with any of that data? Absolutely."
I’ve asked Yagan to comment on this latest report. I’m still waiting for a response from him, as well as from BlueKai. If I get one, I’ll update this post. (BlueKai did respond after this story was posted; see below.)
Meanwhile, Lotame has not been silent. It responded with an unsigned and somewhat haughty blog post, calling Mayer’s post a “gratuitous sideswipe” and declaring “Lotame does not buy, sell or otherwise use information related to drug use frequency… [or] use usernames or other personally-identifiable information (including name, address, e-mail address, phone number or government identifiers).”
No word on what Lotame does with the information it receives from OkCupid about drinking, smoking, religion, and ethnicity. I’ve asked for a clarification. (Which arrived post-post. See below.)
Like all mainstream Internet advertising companies these days, Lotame lets you opt out of having its tracking cookies follow you around the Net – though you’ll have to do it for every browser and every device you use -- and lets you manage the types of information it will gather about you.
I looked at my Lotame data preferences in seven browsers on three machines. One of them already had the opt out cookie I installed from the Network Advertising Initiative Opt Out site. Five of them had no data on me. The last one appears to believe I am a 65-year-old who is both male and female and interested in computers, cars, politics, and games.
Thus explaining all the ads for transgender seniors cruises I’ve been seeing. (That was a joke.)
Lotame's post concludes:
“We realize these types of stories are an occupational hazard when working with data; and we remain as committed as ever to being a progressive industry leader when it comes to our consumer privacy policies and practices.”
Those poor Internet tracking companies. So wronged by the people they’re spying on.