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Weekly News Digest

November 5, 2007 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

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Groups Urge FTC to Protect Consumer Privacy Online

Nine privacy and consumer groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (www.eff.org), the Center for Democracy and Technology (www.cdt.org), and the World Privacy Forum (www.worldprivacyforum.org), unveiled a consensus document outlining key consumer rights and protections they want to see implemented in the behavioral advertising sector. The document has been submitted to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. It urges the FTC to take proactive steps to protect consumers’ privacy online. Among other measures, the groups want online users to have a Do Not Track option that would let consumers choose not to have their Web site movements logged for the purpose of delivering targeted advertising.

Behavioral advertising was the focus of the FTC’s eHavioral Advertising Town Hall meeting that took place Nov. 1–2 in Washington, D.C. The network advertising sector has a self-regulatory plan, the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) in place; it has had this plan in place since 2000. The consensus document addresses the many areas where it alleges the NAI plan has failed to protect consumers.

The recommendations to the FTC include the following:

  • The adoption of a new definition of "personally identifiable information" updated to reflect the realities of today’s Internet
  • Providing more robust disclosures to consumers about behavioral tracking
  • Ensuring that information about consumer privacy and choices is available to all individuals, including those who have visual, hearing, or other disabilities
  • Independent auditing of those engaged in behavioral tracking to ensure adherence to privacy standards
  • Providing consumers with access to personally identifiable information collected about them by companies engaged in behavioral tracking
  • Prohibiting advertisers from collecting and using personally identifiable information about health, financial activities, and other sensitive data
  • Establishing a national "Online Consumer Protection Advisory Committee"

Link to the concensus document: www.worldprivacyforum.org/pdf/ConsumerProtections_FTC_ConsensusDoc_Final_s.pdf

Sources: World Privacy Forum and the Center for Democracy and Technology



Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Brandi Scardilli

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