The article, Myth of privacy busted; Web advertisers scan e-mails, by Louise Story published on the International Herald Tribune, reports on the issue of online advertisers probing on privacy for marketing puposes. "At a meeting of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission about online privacy
Thursday, the regulator's commissioner, Jon Leibowitz, said the agency
would be exerting a tighter grip over online advertising. Leibowitz said that rules about the privacy policies of sites may
need to be established... But some people from the online industry said the FTC should stay out." According to Randall Rothenberg, president and chief executive of the Interactive
Advertising Bureau, if the FTC regulates online advertising, this could limit recent ''extraordinary pattern
After eight years since the FTC's public
workshop on the use of consumer data in online ads, a lot of the
hypothetical scenarios described back then are now a widespread reality. However, many executives in the advertising industry do not see anything
wrong with online targeting, arguing that the practice benefits
consumers, who see more relevant ads. They add further that for
consumers, providing some innocuous personal data is a small
trade-off for free access to the rich content of the Internet, much of
which is ad-supported. A growing concern, even among online companies, about what information is being used to deliver ads to people is quite evident however.
''The market is getting edgier and edgier, and what is accepted in
the marketplace gets dodgier and dodgier,'' said Martin Abrams, the
executive director of the Center for Information Policy Leadership. ''We have
really moved to a world where we say consumers need to police the
market, and, increasingly, it is a harder world to police.''
Read the full article here.