FTC’s Privacy Initiatives Pose a Threat to Online Behavioral Advertising

The Digital Media Lawyer Blog:  “The FTC has been working on Internet privacy policy since at least 1995.  It is currently engaged in a series of roundtables focusing on privacy and behavioral advertising.  However, the shape of any new regulations is very fuzzy. This may be because the data is conflicting on the public’s true interest in the issue, as well as the lack of a clear Congressional mandate.  At the FTC’s December 2009 privacy roundtable, panelists raised concerns that collection and third party use of browsing data invades private space by: (1) revealing a user’s innermost thoughts, such as a search history that reflect a user’s explorations of his sexual identity, (2) taking away a user’s control over her identity, such as by broadcasting compromising photos of a user at a Cancun Spring Break party to a potential employer, (3) revealing sensitive identity or financial information that can be misused by third parties to perpetrate fraud, or (4) intruding on a user’s seclusion by serving targeted ads during a browsing session that reveal that outsiders are listening in.”

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