Wednesday, February 16, 2011

ISP Hosts Conference on Advertising in the Digital Age

The Information Society Project at Yale Law School will host a fascinating conference on advertising in the digital age March 25-26, 2011, at Yale Law School. “From Mad Men to Mad Bots: Advertising in the Digital Age” will look at the profound impact the Internet and new information technologies have had on advertising and examine how businesses are harnessing new technologies to reimagine and redesign what advertising is, and how it works.

Digital tools are changing the baseline assumptions about what advertising is and how it works. Advertisers who used to say that half their budget was wasted--they just didn’t know which half--can now test and measure users’ reactions to particular ads, and deliver targeted ads to individuals with near-pinpoint precision. Online infrastructures, including mobile devices, allow advertisers to track and analyze user behavior and interest patterns in unprecedented ways. This information can make ads more personalized, more effective, and ultimately more valuable but it may also pose an unprecedented risk to user privacy. As businesses assemble increasingly detailed profiles of demographic segments and, in some cases, individual users, what are the risks to user privacy? From children to teenagers, “Generation Z” represents many of the most active participants in online life. How will new infrastructures of advertising online shape youth culture?

Yale ISP Executive Director Laura DeNardis explains, "New online innovations in behavioral, locational, and contextual advertising create the desirable effect of economic efficiency but also raise accompanying concerns about individual privacy and the effects of these new business practices on youth culture." The conference will convene an unusual constellation of business leaders, scholars, activists, and regulators to explore these topics in a series of panel discussions that begin Friday afternoon, following welcoming remarks at 1 p.m. by Ed Felten of the Federal Trade Commission.

The conference takes place in Room 127 at Yale Law School and is open to all who register. There is no charge for Yale students and faculty. The registration fee for non-Yale students and scholars is $10, and the registration fee for non-profits, government representatives and the general public is $25. The event will be streamed live on the Internet.