[LINK] privacy invasion

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Thu Oct 1 02:57:23 AEST 2009

Lea writes,

> .. overall there usually isn't a privacy issue ..

Two-Thirds of Americans Object to Online Tracking 

STEPHANIE CLIFFORD  www.nytimes.com  September 29, 2009 

ABOUT two-thirds of Americans object to online tracking by advertisers — 
and that number rises once they learn the different ways marketers are 
following their online movements, according to a new survey from 
professors at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of 
California, Berkeley.

Joseph Turow, lead author of a study on consumers’ feelings about online 
tracking, said, “The most important thing is to bring the public into the 
picture, which is not going on right now.” 

The topic may be technical, but it has become a hot political issue. 

Privacy advocates are telling Congress and the Federal Trade Commission 
that tracking of online activities by Web sites and advertisers has gone 
too far, and the lawmakers seem to be listening. 

Representative Rick Boucher, Democrat of Virginia, wrote in an article 
for The Hill last week that he planned to introduce privacy legislation. 

And David Vladeck, head of consumer protection for the F.T.C., has 
signaled that he will examine data privacy issues closely.

Major advertising trade groups proposed in July some measures that they 
hoped would fend off regulation, like a clear notice to consumers when 
they were being tracked.

“This research is going to ignite an intense debate on both sides of the 
Atlantic on what the appropriate policy should be,” said Jeffrey Chester, 
executive director of the privacy group Center for Digital Democracy. 

“We sometimes think that the younger adults in the United States don’t 
care about this stuff, and I would suggest that’s an exaggeration,” said 
Joseph Turow, lead author of the study and a professor of communication 
at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of 
Pennsylvania. His co-authors are professors at Berkeley’s law school and 
at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

The survey sought opinions on laws regarding tracking, asking if there 
should be a law that gave people the right to know everything a Web site 
knew about them. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said yes. 

Respondents also overwhelmingly supported a hypothetical law that 
required Web sites and advertising companies to delete all information 
about an individual upon request; 92 percent endorsed it.

“I don’t think that behavioral targeting is something that we should 
eliminate, but I do think that we’re at a cusp of a new era, and the 
kinds of information that companies share and have today is nothing like 
we’ll see 10 years from now,” Professor Turow said. 

He said he would like “a regime in which people feel they have control 
over the data that marketers collect about them. The most important thing 
is to bring the public into the picture, which is not going on right now.”

“This research gives the F.T.C. and Congress a political green light to 
go ahead and enact effective, but reasonable, rules and policies,” he 



More information about the Link mailing list