Real Media to Deploy 'Privacy Proxy'
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New York City-based ad sales firm Real Media Inc. said it has developed a "privacy proxy" that is being integrated into the company's Open Adstream ad server software.
The privacy proxy sits on a site publisher's server and acts as an intermediary between a Web user and Real Media's ad serving, the company said. It allows the ad server to send its ads to appropriate targeted individuals among a Web site's users, but does not allow the ad server to collect demographic information by placing cookies on those users' computers, unless authorized to do so. The users remain "anonymous," yet ads targeted to their demographic characteristics still reach them.
Without such a privacy feature, Real Media said, sites that get ads from other ad serving firms are vulnerable to the possibility of having their proprietary user data collected and resold without permission, leaving the sites' in violation of their privacy promises to users.
"Ad server software without 'privacy proxies' should be a major concern to site publishers," said Real Media President Dave Morgan. "User data is an invaluable tool to assure accurate targeting of ads, but it cannot and must not be allowed to disseminate without site authorization. If the ad server companies use information recorded on cookies for other ad campaigns (not on the publisher's site), the publisher's privacy safeguards have been compromised."