European Privacy Officials investigate behavioral targeting & data mining

Just to place the privacy and online marketing debate in better perspective. It is appropriate and necessary for lawmakers and policymakers to examine and then address through rules the impact of new technologies on privacy. The Article 29 Working Party, the EU’s data protection review group, adopted as part of its 2008-2009 work plan to help ensure “data protection in relation to new technologies.” Among the areas they are now examining include: “search engines, on-line social networks (especially for children and teenagers), behavioural profiling, data mining, [and] digital broadcasting” (they are also focusing on ICANN and WHOIS). Direct Marketing is being reviewed as well.

Our point here is that the online industry has largely developed its system of data collection without user permission largely in the absence of thoughtful oversight that would ensure privacy. We believe the process underway in the EU will help address this issue in a meaningful way.

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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