And don’t follow me online, either

Steve Henn Oct 31, 2007


Scott Jagow: The government’s do-not call list seems to work. If you sign up, usually those dinner-time telemarketing interruptions stop.
But before the government started its list, there were dozens of ways to opt out, and none of them seemed to work. So today, some online privacy groups are gonna try the one-list approach with online marketing. Steven Henn reports on the what’s being called the “do-not-track” list.

Steve Henn: Right now, online advertisers track detailed information about the behavior of Internet users. In some cases, they combine that with individual names. And they can do all this without you ever knowing.

Marc Rotenberg is at the Electronic Privacy Information Center:

Marc Rotenberg: Users should see the data that’s being collected and how it’s being used.

But they don’t. Instead, Americans can opt-out of being tracked online by signing up for lists. AOL announced its own opt-out list today. There’s another for network advertisers.

But privacy advocates say none of these lists work very well.

Ari Schwartz is at the Center for Democracy and Technology:

Ari Schwartz: Right now, too many people feel that their information is just completely out of their control. And the privacy discussion is really about putting individuals back in control of their information.

So today, Schwartz’s group and a half dozen others will ask the FTC to take the lead and create one place all Americans can go if they want to protect their privacy online. Rotenberg says the FTC should go further and require companies to tell Americans exactly what they’re up to.

In Washington, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.

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