Posts Tagged ‘FTC’

FTC not likely to propose help for newspapers

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

An early report about the FTC’s review of how it might help the struggling newspaper industry says in the end the federal government will offer nothing for existing general-news publications.

After reviewing “more than a dozen ways that the government could assist newspapers,” recommendations due this fall “are likely to exclude subsidies or new taxes to support newspaper companies,” Bloomberg Businessweek says, quoting an anonymous source.

“FTC officials won’t back financial aid because Congress is unlikely to approve it, the person told Bloomberg Businessweek.com,” the report says.

The agency may recommend that the Small Business Administration expand its program to provide loans to news startups, and propose tax benefits for so-called hybrid news organizations that are modestly for-profit while avowedly pursuing the public good.

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.”