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    Financial Times: Acxiom to create ‘master profiles’ tying offline and online data

    The Financial Times reports that data broker Axciom seeks to create profiles of individuals online and offline information, which could have major implications for individuals’ privacy:

    Marketers will soon be able to exploit the most detailed customer profiles ever after one of the largest data brokers launched a system that combines offline details such as political leanings and income with their online activities.

    The system, which was launched by New York-listed Acxiom on Monday, sucks data about individuals from a wide range of sources, including in-store and online shopping habits, and activities on websites and mobile apps.

    Acxiom, which tracks more than 700m consumers across the globe, will then process the data using sophisticated algorithms, making it available for marketers to target and personalise advertising on the web, mobile and eventually television. […]

    To opt out of the targeting, a person can visit Acxiom’s website. But in practice, it is almost impossible to avoid being tracked more broadly given the large number of data brokers that exist, and the paucity of legislation, particularly in the US.

    Acxiom’s new product represents a significant development in the business of tracking consumers. … Acxiom is now offering a system that does not rely on cookies, which are both widely used and controversial. Instead, Acxiom is creating a new identifier that will match profiles about an individual regardless of the device…The Acxiom system is different as it does not use cookies and allows any of its clients to access master profiles about consumers that can be used to personalise and target ads across multiple devices and services.

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