NEWS14 September 2010

Web analytics pros set to work on code of ethics

Data analytics North America

US— Web analytics professionals are looking to head off rising anxiety over online data privacy by developing a code of ethics for all industry practitioners to follow.

Noted analytics expert Eric Peterson has started the ball rolling with a first draft of the code, which he has posted to the Web Analytics Association blog for discussion.

You can read the draft code in full here. In short, it sets out a commitment to data privacy, anonymity of data and honesty and transparency in communicating data collection practices.

Quoting his colleague John Lovett, Peterson says: “[A Code of Ethics] would allow web analysts and the companies we work for to wear white hats and gain the trust of consumers. It would also be a starting point for an education campaign on the benefits of digital measurement tracking.”

With consumer groups lobbying for data privacy laws, legislators drafting bills and companies being sued over their alleged use of certain tracking technologies, Peterson says it is time for the industry to engage with critics.

Blogging in late August, he said: “The work we do is some of the most valuable but least understood in the interactive world. I believe it is time to come out of the closet, accurately describe the value of the work we do, and stop shying away from a conversation we feel is stacked against us and a battle we are unsure that we can win.”