Progress & Freedom Foundation & Online Privacy: Looking at PFF’s Online Ad Industry [& Data Collecting] Funders

Two staffers from the Progress and Freedom Foundation (Adam Thierer and Berin Szoka) issued a quick response to the new FTC online marketing privacy principles.  In a press release announcing the short paper, PFF explains that:

Tighter regulation of the online advertising market in the form of privacy mandates, the authors warn, “would severely curtail the overall quantity of content and services offered—and greatly limit the ability of new providers to enter the market with innovative offerings.”

It’s interesting to consider what such “tighter regulation” of the online marketing might mean for the companies that fund the Progress and Freedom Foundation.  The list includes heavyweights of online data collection, such as Google, Microsoft, News Corp (MySpace and other Fox Interactive properties) and Time Warner.  PFF funders include monopoly ISPs which want to get into interactive data collection and online ad targeting big-time, such as Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon (other PFF supporters include a number of companies engaged in online ad targeting, such as Cox, CBS, NBC, etc).

Perhaps a good research project for PFF would be to examine the online data collection, analysis, and ad targeting work being done by its funders (including all the technologies being used).  We’d like to see the press release on that one!

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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