Americans Uncomfortable with Behavioral Advertising
A new survey shows privacy concerns cloud advantages of customized sites.Almost 60 percent of Americans are uncomfortable with Web sites like Google, Yahoo and MSN using data about a user's online activity to customize advertisements or content based on a person's interests, according to a new Harris Interactive survey. Even after being introduced to four possible recommendations for improving privacy and security polices, the survey respondents were only "somewhat more comfortable" with Web sites' use of personal information. The recommendations were based on the Federal Trade Commission's recent publication of possible self-regulatory principles for online behavioral advertising.
Dr. Alan F. Westin, a Columbia University law professor who designed the survey for Harris Interactive, said in a statement that the lack of an enthusiastic response to the FTC's proposed polices may have hinged on two possibilities: concerns that companies would actually follow voluntary guidelines and, even if they did, the lack of any government enforcement mechanisms.