PublishedJune 18, 2009

CCIA Comments For House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Behavioral Advertising/ Privacy Hearing

The Computer & Communications Industry Association appreciates Chairman Rush organizing today’s hearing about the relationships among online behavioral advertising, the health of e-commerce, and consumer value and privacy with respect to tracking by websites and search engines.

The following statement can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“Online advertising helps underwrite the rich variety of online content choices and services available at little to no cost to consumers. But online advertising cannot do this unless the trust of Internet users is maintained through clear and conspicuous disclosure of how consumers’ information will be used. This way if they don’t like it, they can stop visiting that website or use another search engine.

“Our major concern is whether even much greater disclosure is enough when the end user tracking is conducted at the network level by ISPs through techniques like Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). It’s much easier for consumers to avoid a particular website if they don’t like the privacy policy than to end their relationship with their ISP. Most consumers have at best only one other choice of Internet access provider. Further, ISPs are in a position to collect much more data on their users, so commercial network level intrusions must be clearly restricted by law just as government intrusions are restricted.

“While the industry can and should self-regulate in many areas, Congress also can update privacy laws to keep up with 21st Century technology by establishing baseline standards for safeguarding privacy. We hope any legislation would go after bad players without stifling innovation on the Net. We believe after examining these issues as Congress is doing today, members will recognize the difference between network-based and web-based advertising practices and be able to craft privacy solutions that put consumers first.”

 

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