Behavioral tracking of consumers online in order to deliver relevant advertising is a privacy issue that is receiving a lot of attention, and one that has been the focus of Federal Trade Commission and consumer group scrutiny. On September 25th, the United States Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on online privacy and received commitments from the three industry representatives (from AT&T, Verizon and Time Warner Cable) that if they do deploy technologies that are able to track consumer online behavior in order to tailor advertising, that consumers will have clear notice and a full opportunity to provide affirmative consent. None of the companies currently use such technologies in their roles as Internet Service Providers. The broadband providers challenged the rest of the online industry, including web site operators and application providers such as Google, to provide the same protections to consumers. Essentially, the witnesses called for an end to "opt out" when it comes to online advertising.
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On July 17, 2008, the House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee examined the practice of deep packet inspection (DPI), a method for networks and third parties to determine what information users (identified by IP addresses or random ID numbers) are searching for and accessing on the Internet in order to tailor more relevant advertising based on … Continue Reading
FTC staff issued a statement today proposing four “self-regulatory” principles to guide businesses engaged in online behavioral advertising. FTC staff also seeks public comments on these principles as well as additional information on what other uses businesses are making of online tracking data. Interested parties can submit comments by February 22, 2008. The statement, titled “Online Behavioral … Continue Reading
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