In 2009, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication and the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law stunned much of the ad industry by releasing a report showing that two out of three Web users don't want customized ads. This week, a new study by Consumers Reports also shows that many Web users aren't happy with online ad targeting. Strikingly, a large majority of respondents (81%) said they want to see a universal do-not-track mechanism that would allow them to permanently avoid online tracking.
Privacy advocates as well as some companies have long expressed support for "baseline" privacy legislation modeled on fair information practices principles. While details of exact proposals vary, many proponents say that at a minimum, companies should make clear what information is gathered and why, and allow consumers to decide whether they're willing to agree to the data collection. Online ad companies have tended to oppose new laws, arguing that they already voluntarily notify consumers about privacy issues and allow them to opt out of the use of their data (though not its collection). Now that smartphone apps have …
FTC Commissioner Julie Brill today reiterated her support for a universal do-not-track mechanism that will allow consumers to opt out of online tracking as well as receiving behaviorally targeted ads. "Everyone recognizes that behavioral advertising helps support online content and services and that many consumers value the personalization such ads provide," she said in an address at the Center for American Progress. "But we are also all concerned that much of the tracking underlying this advertising is invisible to consumers who, at present, do not have real choices about how -- or if -- their personal information about their cyber …
Google acknowledged today on its blog and in an official filing that it's under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. Beyond that, however, details remain vague.
The U.S. Supreme Court today sided with data mining companies who had challenged a Vermont privacy law. But the ruling doesn't appear as far-reaching as some observers -- including the Association of National Advertisers and Newspaper Association of America -- had anticipated.
A new report about privacy by Havas Digital makes the extraordinary claim that behavioral targeting could risk going the same way as adware if the industry doesn't adequately address concerns surrounding data collection. "If history is any indication, the industry, specifically in relation to OBA [online behavioral advertising], risks a fate similar to that of Gator Corp," warns "Navigating Online Consumer Privacy," written in partnership with Evidon, which provides monitoring technology to enforce the industry's self-regulatory program.
Copyright enforcement company Righthaven lost another major round in court this week, when a second judge in Nevada dismissed one of its lawsuits. U.S. District Court Judge Philip Pro ruled that the company lacked the right to sue for infringement of articles that originally appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal because the newspaper never fully assigned the rights to those articles to Righthaven. That ruling followed a similar decision by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Roger Hunt.
A federal judge has signed off on a $2.5 million settlement of a privacy class-action lawsuit stemming from the alleged use of Flash cookies by Quantcast and Clearspring
This week, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Roger Hunt in Nevada dealt a blow to Righthaven that few observers think the copyright enforcement outfit will easily recover from. Hunt ruled that Righthaven never had the right to sue for infringement of Las Vegas Review-Journal articles because the newspaper's parent company, Stephens Media, hadn't assigned to Righthaven the ability to license those articles. Instead, Stephens Media only granted Righthaven the ability to sue. But without the right to profit from the work by licensing it, Righthaven couldn't claim injury and therefore had no standing to get into court.
Reports about location-tracking via iPhones, iPads and Android devices already have sparked a slew of lawsuits as well as condemnations on Capitol Hill. The revelations could also result in new legislation.