What is the difference between phone hacking and behavioural advertising

Last week, in parallel with the peak of media hysteria over the Phone Hacking story, Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Registar, delivered a most thoughtful lecture in Edinburgh.

Of course there is a world of difference between the motivation of those seeking juicy stories about your private life (whether a journalist, the neighbourhood gossip or a cyberstalker) and those seeking to sell you that which might be of interest.

But the technologies have converged – and you do not need deep-packet inspection to find out the interests (and secrets)  of most on-line enthusiasts.

Hence the need to move on from abuses of the technologies of the last millenium (blagging you way through a call-centre so as to be able to listen to the victims telephone answering machine or the recorded messages on their mobile phone).

P.S. The revelations as to why the police did not take the concerns of the Information Commissioner seriously are not new. They are were another manifestation of the differences of priority and perspective between government and its subjects.

I must make time to return to my theme of Warlords versus Merchants.

In this instance it was the obsession of the Warlords (police) with anti-terrorism and of the Merchants (the Tabloids) with giving readers “human interest” stories to attract readers of interest to their advertisers.

Now look at those blogs, search engines and websites which make serious money – and how they attract readers – and thus advertisers!  

Who do you trust most, or perhaps it should be least, to look after your interests.

Back to my day job of trying to structure a constructive debate on how to reconcile the interests of the Merchants and the Warlords in ways that the rest of us can live with.

(Answers on the back of Bodleian Library?)