Consumer groups File Privacy Complaint with FTC


Seana Mulcahy reports in today's Online Spin that the Center for Digital Democracy and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. The groups want the FTC to investigate "invasive and deceptive" online advertising practices. This includes user tracking, Web analytics and behavioral targeting. They claim that users don't know we are tracking them.


Maybe stupid users

Even my gray haired Mom doesn't allow cookies except on certain sites, so my Mom must be smarter than they are obviously.

But stupid people probably don't give a second thought to those discount savings cards at the grocery stores either.

This is why I keep telling people to sign up one of your neighbors and use that card to by condoms and booze so when the government starts rounding up alcoholic sex maniacs you can quietly slip out the back door while they're slamming your neighbor on the pavement and cuffing him.

It's all academic as even Visa, Mastercard and American Express know EVERYTHING you do as well, the precedent has been set, and send they you targeted offers so I'm wondering how this is different.

"Even my gray haired Mom

"Even my gray haired Mom doesn't allow cookies except on certain sites, so my Mom must be smarter than they are obviously."

Obviously she is - default IE & FF browser settings allows cookies, and I'll be impressed if most users edit those settings.

but equally

most people accept their credit card, various loyalty cards, don't tick the boxes saying 'no don't pass my details on' and happily give out personal info in surveys and prize draws, so why is it different online?

My theory is that people only notice it because the inconvenience of having to type it or go and get their wallet makes them think about what they're being asked, offline you just say it or hand the card over and people don't even think the info they give is actually being stored somewhere so they can target you later.

Personally I much prefer it now my junk mail is limited to things I actually have a vague interest in and my supermarket vouchers are against things I buy or would like to try. I only get insurance mail when its up for renewal and my cats get free samples on their birthdays.

Considering that the info I have to provide my bank, car insurance, local council and low cost airlines is enough to clone me I don't feel too worried about an evil conglomerate comprised of Tescos, Sunday Times Wine Club and Amazon conspiring to sell my details to Walmart but, when I feel a question is too intrusive, I leave it blank and if I can't place an order/get the info then I go find it somewhere else.

I don't have a lot of sympathy with the 'oooh but you only told me about it in the smallprint and you cant expect me to read that and anyway the aliens ate my baby' crowd to be honest. Collating info for marketing purposes is not evil and doesn't mean that they're piping DNA directly into some central databank reserve, and it saves trees too.

> enough to clone me Oh god

> enough to clone me

Oh god no. There's an argument against if ever I heard one! :)

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