Individuals and businesses are becoming increasingly dependent upon the Internet for social, entertainment, research and business activities. This has created the incentive and opportunity for companies to collect, use, and disseminate data regarding online users. There is concern, however, that tracking individuals’ Internet activity and gathering information from online users violates their expectations of privacy. Individuals often are unaware what information is being collected about them, how it is being used and to whom it is disseminated.
In this hearing, the Committee will consider the current state of the online advertising industry and that market’s impact on users’ privacy. Witnesses are expected to focus on the key factors driving online behavioral advertising, the methods of online behavioral advertising employed by industry, and the protections the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should adopt to protect consumers from unwanted or unnecessary invasions of their privacy.