Consumers definitely know their personal information is more readily available for companies to use than ever before. While this type of data can be used to give consumers more personalized experiences from the businesses they use, they still do not have a lot of insight into the scope of personal data floating around in tracking cookies or in third-party marketing databases. Similarly, they do not have a lot of power to control how this information is used and shared, which now happens in real-time and can be influenced by each user’s specific web activities.

While the marketing and advertising industries successfully deflected major regulations in 2012 through intense lobbying efforts, new regulations in 2013 are highly likely to be passed due to the sheer number of bills and other initiatives currently in the works, along with the need for laws to catch up with the fast pace of innovation in this area:

• Following the release in March 2012 of a two-year
investigation on consumer privacy in the digital age,
the U.S. Federal Trade Commission endorsed
legislative action around data privacy, including
the creation of “do-not-track” mechanisms in web
browsers that help consumers opt-out of online
behavioral tracking and targeting. Efforts by the
industry to self-regulate DNT were stalled at the end of
2012; the consequence may lead to legislative action
on the issue.

• Retiring Democratic Senator from West Virginia, John
D. Rockefeller IV, launched an inquiry into information
brokers like Acxiom, Epsilon and Rapleaf last October to
better understand their practices and determine if they
are handling consumers’ personal data appropriately.

• Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) recently released a draft
bill called “The Application Privacy, Protection, and
Security Act of 2013,” or the APPS Act, targeted at
creating guidelines for data collection, retention and
sharing practices of mobile app developers. With other
initiatives at various stages in the works, expect more
attempts — and some successes — to introduce new
marketing and advertising regulations in 2013.

The Road Map for InfoTrends’ Digital Marketing & Media Trends (DMM) Consulting Service helps companies understand how to harness the power of interconnected media effectively to meet their business objectives. To read the full DMM report, visit http://www.infotrends.com.