Originally published: November 9, 2011
Last updated: December 21, 2011 - 2:20am
Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz nearly tied himself in knots at Ad:Tech NY, explaining to attendees that the FTC does not want to crash the cyber party, nor get in the way of the industry’s own efforts to self-regulate around digital privacy and data mining.
Chairman Leibowitz talked about how the FTC noted that, from 1999 to 2008, Internet advertising has grown at a 40% compounded rate to something like a $23 billion business. "The ads you create are picking up the tab for free content; it's high-tech, targeted marketing relying on analysis." So where does the FTC partake of this? He says the commission jumps into the intersection of advertising, technology and media, "not to create a stoplight, but to enforce consumer-protection laws so marketers can continue to make a profit…we are an enforcement agency, not a regulator." So what's the problem with the current state of consumer privacy and data collection? In the broadest terms, Chairman Leibowitz argues that people need to have an easily executed and obviously recognizable means of opting out. He said that people have already agreed, tacitly, to give up the right to be left alone and, in return, get personalized ads and open invitations to the "cyber party, but that they need to have control of the firewall between their computers (when it comes to cookies) and their personal information.
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