November 1, 2007

Taking a Look at the Keepers of Lists [11:36 am]

F.T.C. to Review Online Ads and Privacy

The Federal Trade Commission will hold meetings today and tomorrow about online privacy. The questions they will entertain include how much control people need or want over the vast trove of information that corporate America routinely collects about people as they click from site to site on the Internet.

The FTC’s media advisory for this event includes links to the agenda and the webcast (A transcript will eventually be available.) The name of the workshop is “eHavioral Advertising: Tracking, Targeting, & Technology”

Listening to the webcast at 11:42AM, I am intrigued by the emerging discussion that suggests that all of this data collection is for the benefit of the consumer — which it can be — but it also can be a problem. And the excuse that business is doing it so badly now, how can it possibly be that there’s a problem. Finally, the argument that, since consumers are getting free services in exchange for their data, they seem to be getting an acceptable deal and it’s not a problem — the argument that the EU privacy rules are, in fact, inhibiting European users is also being made.

The rhetoric is quite illuminating.

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