The Federal Trade Commission today sent a copy of a recent staff report, “Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising,” to two subcommittees of the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce that are holding a joint hearing on behavioral advertising. A letter on behalf of the Commission that accompanied the report states that the FTC “has actively encouraged industry to embrace new measures relating to behavioral advertising to inform and empower consumers and is monitoring developments” so that consumers’ privacy is protected. The letter and report were sent to the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection.
The FTC staff report discusses the privacy concerns surrounding behavioral advertising, including the invisibility of the data collection to consumers and the risk that the information collected – including sensitive information regarding health, finances, or children – could fall into the wrong hands or be used for unanticipated purposes. The report also addresses the potential benefits of behavioral advertising to consumers, including the free online content that advertising generally supports, and personalization that many consumers may value.
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