The New York Times is running a really funny story, but with serious implications, at the moment. It concerns how the online advertising targets particular groups of people using site tracking technology. Apparently, if you have AIDS, cancer or suffer from an erectile dysfunction then your movements will not be tracked in order to throw related advertising in your direction wherever you go. However, if you are dead then expect to be inundated with ads.

You can also expect to be targeted if you suffer from heart failure, warts and Parkinson’s disease – although not all at the same time one has to assume.

It all comes as part of a new Network Advertising Initiative proposal to distinguish between diseases when it comes to advertising, and specifically the behavioral targeting of users for advertising purposes.

It seems that it is an attempt at self-regulation in order to head off government mandates which could impose stricter rules following a Federal Trade Commission report last year. Let’s see what dead people have to say about that shall we…

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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