Today’s Search Engine Strategies panel discussion on search and privacy was easily the least attended session I went to, with fewer than 24 people in the audience throughout the session.
If the turnout was any indication of people’s interest in privacy, privacy is a lost cause. Why the low turnout? My bet is that it’s because there isn’t a direct ROI. The privacy session was competing with sessions like how to game (read: spam) social networking sites to increase your profits.
That’s too bad. There was a lot of thoughtful discussion in the session on privacy issues. Among the speakers was David Gallagher, a New York Times editor who talked about the process the paper used to find Thelma Arnold. Lance Cottrell from Anonymizer discussed products individuals can use to protect their personal data.