KDnuggets : News : 2008 : n06 : item36 < PREVIOUS | NEXT >


A Push to Limit the Tracking of Web Surfers Clicks

New York Times, LOUISE STORY, March 20, 2008

AFTER reading about how Internet companies like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo collect information about people online and use it for targeted advertising, one New York assemblyman said there ought to be a law.

So he drafted a bill, now gathering support in Albany, that would make it a crime - punishable by a fine to be determined - for certain Web companies to use personal information about consumers for advertising without their consent.

And because it would be extraordinarily difficult for the companies that collect such data to adhere to stricter rules for people in New York alone, these companies would probably have to adjust their rules everywhere, effectively turning the New York legislation into national law.

"Should these companies be able to sell or use what's essentially private data without permission? The easy answer is absolutely not," said the assemblyman who sponsored the bill, Richard L. Brodsky, a Democrat who has represented part of Westchester County since 1982.


Targeted advertising, the kind based on consumer data, is one reason that big brands like Coca-Cola and General Motors have been shifting their ad budgets to the Web. The largest Web companies collect data about Web-surfing consumers hundreds of times a month and use the information to help clients show different ads to different people, based on their demographics and interests.

It is unclear how much consumer data is really needed for effective online advertising. The attitude among Web companies is that more is always better, but Mr. Brodsky said there might be a compromise position that enables many ad practices but enhances consumer protection.


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KDnuggets : News : 2008 : n06 : item36 < PREVIOUS | NEXT >

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