Posts Tagged ‘behavioral targeting’

Could the FTC kill behavioral targeting?

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Media critic Bob Garfield thinks Internet advertising could be wiped out as an industry if the FTC and Congress decide to “safeguard consumer privacy from behavioral targeting and other online wizardry.”

One approach under consideration, he says, isĀ  “an ‘opt-in’ requirement for every user to affirmatively acquiesce to accepting cookies on their Internet browsers. … The industry’s future resides almost entirely on being able to boost CPMs with ultra-targeting, but it’s hard to imagine any wording of the opt-in language that wouldn’t sound to Joe Laptop like, ‘Yes, please stalk me.'”

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz tells Garfield he wants the industry to regulate itself, but the way he talks about behavioral targeting seizes “not on the rational but the visceral,” Garfield says. “Imagine that you were walking through a shopping mall, and there was someone that was walking behind you and taking notes on everywhere you went and sending it off to every shop or anyone who was interested for a small fee,” Leibowitz says. “That would creep you out; that would be very disturbing, I think, for most people.”

As the FTC seeks more rule-making authority from Congress, “Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) has been promising a bill to deal with loose personal data — by statutory means either moderate or draconian, nobody quite knows.”

Boucher told the Wall Street Journal in February “that there is a need for a set of laws that dictate parameters for how companies collect, share and use online data about their consumers.”