Consumers Union Tells Congress that FTC should do more work on “Online Behavioral Marketing… to protect consumer privacy”

Here’s an excerpt from today’s testimony by CU’s Gail Hillebrand before the House Commerce Committee’s consumer protection subcommittee.  The hearing was on the role of the FTC as a new (and much needed) Consumer Financial Products Protection Agency is potentially created.  The testimony was endorsed by other leading consumer groups, including Consumer Federation of America, Public Citizen and US PIRG.

Online Behavioral Marketing – More must be done to protect consumer privacy.
Consumers are being asked to pay a heavier and heavier price in order to take advantage of the full range of goods and services offered through the Internet, as marketers, researchers, data-mining companies and even service and content providers create profiles of personally identifiable information based on consumer behavior.  Internet service providers, content providers and vendors must take greater responsibility in considering the collateral impact their behavioral tracking models have on consumers.
The FTC should:
• investigate the online marketplace in light of new developments in the data mining field;
• expose marketing practices that compromise user privacy;
• issue the necessary injunctions to halt current practices that abuse consumers; and
• adopt policy principles outlining what can be considered technology neutral Fair Information Practices.

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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