The Web Analyst’s Code of Ethics
The Web Analyst’s Code of Ethics is a reality! This Code represents an industry effort to promote ethical data practices and treat consumer data with the respect and attention it deserves.
I’m writing this on the eve before the official launch announcement of the Web Analyst’s Code of Ethics here at the WAA Symposium in Austin Texas. As you can see in the video above, this effort is the culmination of a ton of hard work by a community of contributors.
Yet, the conversation isn’t a new one. My partner Eric has been writing about the fact that We are our own worst enemy since August and our internal conversations about privacy regulation and public opinion of tracking practices have been going on long before that. The issue received mainstream attention from the Wall Street Journal in their What They Know series, which took a bias view in our opinion. Anything that starts out with the phrase; “Marketers are spying on Internet users…“ is FUD in my opinion.
So, in September of last year we decided to do something about it. I must say that Eric never fails to amaze me in his ability to make things happen, because not 24 hours after our conversation about launching a Code of Ethics, he had one drafted and in my inbox. We decided that the best avenue for getting this code out to the community was to work in conjunction with the WAA, where I am a member of the board. Thus, I shopped it around to my fellow board members and we all agreed that it was something that our industry needed. The issue was brought before the WAA Standards Committee and a sub-committee was formed to hash out the details. And the Code was offered to the community for public comment. After numerous iterations and literally dozens of comments and contributors, we arrived at the final Code you see here.
It’s important to recognize that this Code is a pledge for individuals and not organizations. We created it as such because we know that not every individual will be able to enforce policy within their company, but every individual can inform and educate their peers. Yet, as we state in the pledge itself, “I recognize that we are far stronger as a community…”. And this effort is about a community showing it’s commitment to ethical data collection and utilization practices.
Momentum for this project has been incredible thus far, but our work is far from over. It’s just beginning. Like any good analyst, I’ve created goals and success metrics for the code of ethics that I’ll be tracking and reporting on over time. The video above is the first effort to share a glimpse of the metrics, but ultimately I’m shooting for the following goals:
- 1) Gain 1,000 Pledges to the Code of Ethics in 2011
- 2) Attract mainstream media attention to this community effort within the first 90 days of launch (e.g., recognition by @WhatTheyKnow)
- 3) Ensure that our collective voice is heard by legislators and policy makers before regulation is forced upon us
Let us know what you think about the Code of Ethics here by leaving comments and joining the conversation. Or simply show your support by pledging to follow the Web Analyst’s Code of Ethics.