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How much is online privacy worth to you?

Microsoft has done an about-face on online privacy, announcing a new version of its Internet Explorer browser Tuesday that will enable people to stop advertisers from tracking them online. The announcement came a little more than a week after the Wall Street Journal  reported  a similar change of heart by Mozilla, the makers of the Firefox browser.

Both companies had previously dropped anti-tracking features from their browsers, prompting critics to accuse them of bowing to pressure from advertisers. Regardless of whether the critics are right, advertisers have made it clear that online marketing won't be as valuable to them without the tracking techniques that help target their messages to the right audience. And if they aren't willing to pay as much to advertise online, that could make it harder for websites to offer as much free content as they do today.

Or at least that's the argument advanced  by executives at the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which represents online marketers. As Steve Sullivan, head of the IAB's West Coast office, said in an op-ed for The Hill, "[S]ites could all be forced to move to a paid subscription model for some consumers, charging only those who opt out [of tracking techniques] for the same content that everyone else would receive for free."

Which invites us to ask, which would you rather do? Stop online advertisers from tracking your Web browsing even if it means you'd have to pay for some content that you now receive for free? Or keep trading your personal data for free content? Take our poll, leave a comment below, or do both!

Related:

FTC endorses "Do Not Track" option for consumers

Editorial: Privacy and the Web

Editorial: Boosting online privacy

-- Jon Healey

 

Comments () | Archives (5)

The comments to this entry are closed.

LiberalReason

Speaking of privacy, Jon, why don't you set up your Facebook page as a Person so that people can Like you instead of friending? I'd love to follow your posts in one place like that but I don't want to share personal information.

Robespierre

Here's an idea for those advertisers who say Internet advertising won't be as valuable unless they are allowed to invade your privacy. How about advertising in newspapers and print again? Eh?

knothere

Advertisrs should have to pay me to let them track my information

Daniel Kroupa

If you aren't doing anything immoral or illegal online, why should you care if an advertiser, your employer, your neighbors, your pastor, your co-workers, and relatives all receive notices of your web browsing and messaging? Does anyone out there really still believe in a basic principle found in our right to feel secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects?

Emile Zola

And why people would care about online privacy, when it's obvious that they don't care about privacy at all. Bush roamed our contitutional rights like the killing field of Cambodia and with the exception of a vew voices caliming in the desert for our rights, most, unfortunately, care more for protesting health care that demanding the government to respect our rights and from here to tyranny is just around the corner, even though in most cases, we are there already. If we allow, actually, we is incorrect, I will never will be O.K. with our Constitution demiose, war crimes, terrorism, black boxes, Soviet style gulags, the execution of perceived terrorists, etc, then in reality lossing our privacy to a police state is the least of our worries. Who comes up with these stupid questions, while America is burning. This shows how low our moral standards have fallen, when we worried about privacy on line and care not for war crimes.Welcome back to the USSR.


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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.



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