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BizReport : Research archives : November 02, 2007

Group calls behavioral profiling "invasive"

In an effort to change the way some advertisers obtain information about users, the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) and the US Public Interest Research Group (US PRIG) have sent a supplemental filing to the Federal Trade Commission citing privacy invasions. The two groups contend that privacy polices about what information will be collected and how said information will be used are not enough.

by Kristina Knight

"Over the past 12 months, new tracking and targeting technologies have escalated the attack on personal privacy online. As our report documents, online marketers are creating digital dossiers on individual consumers ('behavioral profiling'), so they can be tracked when surfing the Web, watching a broadband video, or using their mobile phone," explained Jeff Chester, executive director of the CDD. "Today, we also ask the FTC to launch an immediate investigation into new threats to privacy from the behavioral targeting and profiling of children and youth, including on social networks."

The groups say that even though marketers may not know the names of specific users, their collection of both behavioral and geographic information is invasive and impinges on users' privacy. They are especially interested in better controlling what information - if any - is collected on youth.

Ed Mierzwinski, Consumer Program Director of U.S. PIRG said, ". . .Unless the FTC steps in now and sets some basic rules for privacy protection, the costs to consumers posed by so-called behavioral targeting, the manipulation of both surfing and price choices, and the 24/7 corporate surveillance and dossier-building will easily outweigh any supposed benefits to consumers."

Tags: behavioral targeting, online targeting, targeted advertising

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