Ad Industry Lawyer Spins in Ad Age that Privacy Will Be on “Back Burner.” Not Only Incorrect–but self-serving

This week’s Advertising Age has a “Legal Issues to Watch in 2009” column.  Written by Douglas J. Wood of Reed Smith, it claims that: “PRIVACY TO THE BACK BURNER- Congress and regulators are in a Catch-22: While under constant pressure from constituents and consumerists to curtail the use of personal information or behavioral targeting, they recognize that advertising is the backbone of the internet. So while there will be occasional skirmishes, the war on privacy will continue in its stalemate. Regulators will also see browser makers offering more control to consumers to block ads and the collection of personal information as adequate progress.”

Mr. Wood, it turns out is “a member of Reed Smith’s Executive Committee and the firm’s Advertising Technology & Media Group…and is General Counsel to both the Association of National Advertisers and the Advertising Research Foundation.

Perhaps Mr. Wood is too busy to really follow Hill and FTC developments, because he is wrong.  There will be considerable activity on the Hill and elsewhere.   His column should have been labeled as written by the lawyer for the ad industry lobby group.  But it does reflect a lack of insight about the online ad industry’s problems related to privacy and consumer protection.

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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