Blog: Congress Puts Web Data Collection Under Microscope
Congress taking strong interest in targeted online advertising and the implications for personal privacy.
In an open letter House Energy and Commerce Committee members explain:
"In order for us to better understand how companies may be engaged in efforts to target Internet advertising, the impact of such efforts on consumers, and broader public policy implications, we respectfully request that you provide specific answers."
Thirty-three companies in total were sent the letter by House Energy and Commerce Committee. Companies were also asked to explain why they choose to target certain communities of Web users, the number of consumers who they tracked, whether consumers had been notified of tracking, and whether old data collected is at some time destroyed.
Facebook Missing From Congressional Scrutiny
Noticeably absent from the list of 33 Internet companies is social network Facebook. Most of the companies listed above routinely defend their privacy policies and say that all data collected is anonymous.
It seems to me that while Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and others are a good starting point. However without including social networks such as Facebook which are also tracking its users, Congress' privacy investigation won't be able to yield any serious results on behalf of the consumer.
To read Congress' letter of inquiry, click here (PDF).