Consumer Groups Want FTC Protection From Advertisers

    April 16, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Two groups asked the Federal Trade Commission for a ‘do not track’ registry to keep advertisers from grabbing information about them.

Major Internet companies want to be able to self-regulate how they handle behavioral advertising, which only works when they have enough information about someone’s browsing habits to deliver targeted ads. Without those details, there is no targeting.

To a couple of advocacy groups, that option should exist for people today. Reuters noted the requests by a pair of groups to the FTC to take steps to protect consumer privacy.

They further want online companies to get consent from consumers before picking up health-related and other sensitive information. “”Self-policing schemes are not enough to protect consumers’ privacy and offer no enforcement against improper behavior,” Chris Murray, senior counsel for Consumers Union, said in a statement.

While giving credit to companies like Google for the practices they have established, Murray worries that such firms could change their minds in the future. Counter arguments cite how advertising supports free content on the Internet, including health-related information.

Several companies have pressured legislators in New York and Connecticut to back down from advocating privacy protection laws at the state level. Complying with external requirements would cost these companies a lot more than writing a policy statement into their employee manuals.