Big Business Supporting Privacy to Hurt Smaller Rivals
01/21/2018 - Imagine if, overnight, you could create a veritable army of people who work steadfastly to promote a cause you know will drive your most difficult competitors out of business.
That would be wonderful, right? That's exactly why America's biggest corporations support the ever expanding Right To Privacy. Welcome to one of the biggest scams corporate America has ever perpetrated on the general public.
Some Things Should Be Private
There are some things, such as credit standing and personal financial data, that should be kept private. You could suffer serious and long term financial consequences if that information became publicly available.
Other aspects of life have no reason to be kept private. Browser tracking cookies are used by advertiser networks in an attempt to correlate advertisements to your personal interests. Advocates say that infringes on their privacy.
It's difficult to understand how an endless stream of random offers could be preferable to advertisments for products and services which address known needs, wants, or desires.
Do Not Track
Modern browsers now offer a Do Not Track option to satisfy the demands of privacy advocates and avoid costly lawsuits. As a result, consumers are provided fewer options and small business owners have more difficulty reaching consumers who have an expressed interest in the products or services they offer.
Of course, for national brands that spend heavily on customer acquisition and brand recognition, consumers having fewer competitive options is a dream come true. And the Internet, once heralded as the great equalizer between small business and national brands, becomes a less reliable source of consumer choice.
The Burden of Compliance
Small business owners, already over burdened with government regulations, requirements, and compliance demands has very little wiggle rooms left. Every new layer of bureaucracy drives more and more small business owners out of business, leaving their market share to be absorbed by a national brand competitor.
Purveyors of Privacy
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Over the past 25 years, privacy protection has grown into a lucrative cottage industry. At the heart of the industry is the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a California 501(c)(3) organization, a political lobby group, founded in 1992 and funded by lawsuits and Cy Pres Awards.
What are Cy Press Awards? They are financial payments using money intended for members of a class action lawsuit who can't be identified after settlement. Law firms are permitted to give that money to non-profit organizations that ask for it. Not wanting to quibble over where the money is going, law firms favor organizations that appear to represent worthy causes with broad based appeal, such as privacy rights.
The founder and executive staff at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse special interest lobby are certified by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), another political lobby group. Not surprisingly, the Chairman of the IAPP is the General Counsel and Chief Data Governance Officer for TRUSTe, a company that sells privacy compliance solutions.
The members of the IAPP Executive Committee and Board of Directors represent the interests of numerous well known brands including General Electric, DHL, LinkedIn, major banks, credit companies, and law firms, but lack even one person representing the interests of small business owners.
Protecting Your Business
Contact Your Congressman
Political lobby groups are a valuable source of information that Congressmen need to make reasonable decisions. Congress knows those lobby groups are biased and the information they provide is tainted, and that's why they listen more to their constituents than to lobbyists. But if they don't hear from you, they will, and do, act based on the only source of information available, and especially when that source is backed by entrenched national brands able to fund challenging future political campaigns.
Protectionism lies at the heart of what made the Great Depression the nightmare it became. Protectionism is a bad thing. Public awareness of the value competition offers to consumers, and how advertising supports competition and provides consumers with greater choices, is the best way to safeguard your business from anti-competitive protectionist behavior by politicians supported by major brands. Reasonable privacy protects consumers; unreasonable privacy protects entrenched special interests, is bad for consumers, hurts small business, and makes our economy less stable.
Advertising promotes public awareness. Advertising increases consumer choice. Advertising pays for what might otherwise be too expensive for many to afford. Advertising in America is a good thing. If you think otherwise, consider that consumers in France, Germany, and the U.K., where advertising is restricted, pay as much as $200 per year for the opportunity to watch television.
Advertising, a keystone of competition in America, is under assault. Big brands and entrenched special interests want to limit consumer awareness, limit consumer choices, limit competition.
Major brands want to make customer acquistion so expensive that only they can afford to acquire new customers.
Don't let them do it.