World IPv6 Day—Its Impact on Today’s Web Privacy Laws
Extra, extra, read all about it! Search marketers’ continuous quest for ever-more precise Internet targeting capabilities may soon collide with recently negotiated web privacy laws. This may very well be the headline on June 8, 2011 as the big guns of the web world—Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo join content delivery networks Limelight and Akamai, the Internet Society and IP/video solutions provider Global Crossing in a 24-hour test of the next generation Internet protocol—IPv6. Global Crossing in particular has been delivering IPv6 over its global multi-protocol label switching-based Tier 1 network in a dual-stack configuration for more than five years. Welcome to the new world of customer identification!
It is important to note that the difference versus where we have been and where we are today (i.e., IPv4), is that IPv6 will enable advertisers to target one-on-one to a connected device whether it be a laptop computer, desktop computer, iPad/PC tablet, mobile smartphone or other Internet-enabled equipment. IPv4 has, to-date, only provided approximate location data for ad targeting. These include: IP addresses linked to cities, latitude-longitude, U.S. ZIP+4 or other non-U.S. postal codes. With IPv6, the targeting eco-system will significantly change, requiring the Federal Trade Commission, advertisers, agencies and media companies to renegotiate newly mandated privacy laws prior to rolling out the new IP protocol.
While change-over to IPv6 appears to be imminent as the Internet carrier industry has already allocated all available IP addresses, i.e., the industry has exhausted its 4.3 billion IP-ID pool, ISPs such a Global Crossing are putting plans in place to ease the transition by running IPv4 and IPv6 concurrently and in parallel over dual-stack networks until customers have fully converted over to IPv6. This is likely to occur over the next six-to-twenty-four months. Once converted, the IP pool will expand exponentially to about 340 decillion numeric addresses.
Gugelplex TV recognizes that for the advertising and marketing communications industry to thrive going forward, access to more precise marketing data is essential. Key performance indicators associated with return-on-investment are now the rule rather than the exception and there is no going back. We are also aware of the fact that most, if not all, players in the communications industry are converting or will convert over to digital interactive operating platforms over the next five to ten years. However, we must keep in mind that consumers will find a way, through federal and state-wide legislation, to plug the PII data spigot if their own personal data are used against them. The availability of a vastly expanded IP pool tied to devices and persons rather than to local geographic radii will provide a more intelligent way to target, largely devoid of waste. Nevertheless, long-term use of such targeting techniques will continue only if marketers, agencies and media companies play fair with consumers. Otherwise, identified customers may be inclined to shut down access to PII altogether. As we move forward we, the industry, should all remember the old proverb—“forewarned is forearmed!”
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