Consumer Advocates to Corner Congress with Behavioral Targeting Recommendations
The Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Watchdog and several other advocates are hosting a conference call Sept. 1 to make recommendations about how Congress may better regulate behavioral targeting. Google, Yahoo and Microsoft all use behavioral targeting to better serve ads to Web surfers. The groups want to be heard by Congress, which is working on legislature to better protect consumer privacy online.Consumer advocacy groups Sept. 1 plan to attack behavioral targeting practices from search engines and other Internet companies in a press conference call designed to catch the ear of Congress, which is drafting legislation to better protect Web surfers' privacy. The Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Watchdog, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and seven other groups said they will make recommendations urging Congress to address "the increasingly common practice of online behavioral tracking and targeting."
In behavioral targeting, cookies and other monitoring tools collect information on users' Web browsing habits, tracking such data as Web pages users visit or searches they've made. Search engine and Web analytics specialists use this behavioral information to better tailor online advertising campaigns for Web surfing consumers, believing such techniques reap higher online ad returns rates.
Google's interest-based ads associate categories of interest with users' Web browsers, tracking the sites users visit to place more relevant text and display ads in front of users. For example, a user doing searches on sports contests may later see ads on sporting goods stores. Google explains how this ad system works in detail here.