Oct 112010
 
 October 11, 2010  Business, Online, Surveillance

Related to the recent WSJ article about responses to a congressional inquiry on consumer tracking, two Representatives have now released the responses of the major web site operators.  From the press release:

Representatives Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), Co-Chairman of the House Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, today released responses to the letters they had sent to companies identified in a Wall Street Journal investigation as reportedly installing intrusive consumer-tracking technologies to track and/or target consumers visiting these company Web sites.

“The responses raise a number of concerns, including whether consumers are able to effectively shield their personal Internet habits and private information from the prying eyes of online data gatherers,” Rep. Markey said.  “Consumers may be unaware that the sites they visit, coordinating with a cadre of analytics firms, advertising networks and offline data companies, may be tracking their activities around the Internet.  While the responses that Rep. Barton and I received cite privacy policies and opt-out choices to enable consumers to preserve their privacy, these policies can be complicated and laborious to navigate.  For example, a single website may have business relationships with a dozen or more third-party data firms that display advertisements on its site. A consumer may have to visit each of these sites, consulting its privacy policy and clicking through to opt-out, if such an option is provided.  In some cases, a list of all third party affiliates is not readily accessible, keeping consumers in the dark.”

Copies of the responses are available here:

Microsoft
AOL
CareerBuilder
Merriam Webster
Yahoo
Verizon
About Group
Comcast
AT&T
PhotoBucket
MySpace

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