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FTC Updates Online Behavioral Ad Policy; Google Approves

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has updated their online behavioral ad policy. The report, which maintains a self-regulatory stance, got a unanimous vote with some concerns voiced by Commissioners Jon Leibowitz and Pamela Jones Harbour.

“This staff report, while commendable, focuses too narrowly,” Harbour said. “Threats to consumer privacy abound, both online and offline, and behavioral advertising represents just one aspect of a multifaceted privacy conundrum surrounding data collection and use. I would prefer that the Commission take a more comprehensive approach to privacy, and evaluate behavioral advertising within that broader context.”

“Industry needs to do a better job of meaningful, rigorous self-regulation, or it will certainly invite legislation by Congress and a more regulatory approach by our Commission,” Leibowitz said. “Put simply, this could be the last clear chance to show that self-regulation can – and will – effectively protect consumers’ privacy in a dynamic online marketplace.”

In response, Google agreed with the report as well as with Commissioners Harbour and Leibowitz.

Writing on the Google Public Policy blog, Senior Policy Counsel Pablo Chavez said, "We agree with the statements of Commissioners Liebowitz and Harbour that individual companies and industry generally can and should do more to protect user privacy. Google will continue to engage in efforts to develop strong self-regulatory principles and will will continue to advocate for comprehensive federal privacy legislation."

Related Reading:
A Leibowitz-Led FTC May Strengthen Spotlight on Digital Ads
We May Not Need Standards But FTC, FCC Want To Gives Us Regulations
Google Responds to FTC's Self-Regulatory Principles
FTC approves Google's acquisition of DoubleClick
FTC Warns of Impending Government Regulation of Web Ad Industry


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