Independent nonprofit incubated by RJI begins proof-of-concept testing
for ecosystem governing Internet trust, identity, privacy and info commerce
An independent non-profit, public-benefit organization aiming to help publishers and the public address critical problems of privacy, identity and information commerce on the Internet is beginning proof-of-concept testing with a small group of New England publishers.
The three-part mission of the Information Trust Exchange Governing Association (ITEGA) is to help users regain control over their privacy and identity, help publishers improve the relevance and value of advertising and create a platform which could allow a "fast-pass for news" across the Internet.
"Quality publishers realize that digital advertising alone will not support most information-gathering -- especially journalism -- as we've know it," says Bill Densmore, founding interim executive director of ITEGA. "Most the advertising opportunity from content has transferred to technology companies. ITEGA's promise to re-balance and put service to information seekers and advertisers in the hands of original content producers." Densmore says ITEGA will do this by establishing technical standards and business rules for sharing user and content information.
The New England-focused test will survey the experience of Internet and mobile users who receive a daily email update of news from a local news provider, such as a newspaper -- rather than a national technology aggregator or portal -- which is "tuned" to their interests. It will allow users to create a portfolio of their information interests and decide when and how to share that with other quality publishers. And it will test the exchange of information that could be used for the pricing and sale of news and other information.
The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism, has incubated ITEGA through a series of strategic summits, public testimony, two white papers and five task-group meetings in late 2015. During 2016 RJI continued to consult with publishers and proponents and developed a launch plan for ITEGA services as well as a proof-of-concept technology demonstration now underway.
The RJI research process concluded that governance of rules for privacy, identity and payments exchange on a global scale should not be controlled by a government, by a commercial technology platform or by a single academic institute but rather by a non-profit consortium -- ITEGA -- created for the purpose. Moreover, says Densmore, task-group members also realized that ITEGA should not be in the interest of judging content. "We are defining measurements for the virtual pipes, pressure, and formats, not what information flows through them," he says. That's a job for efforts like the News Integrity Initiative."
"One goal of ITEGA is to help sustain, update and enrich the values and purposes of journalism through collaboration among news media, the public and public-focused institutions," says Densmore.
ITEGA will guide the creation or adoption of standards and a platform for exchange of user authentication and transaction records which enables a competitive market for information -- respecting and enabling consumer privacy and choice, he adds. The result could be a new market for digital information -- and attention -- under a unique ownership and governance framework.