The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) punted on Thursday allowing the Internet marketing industry to self regulate tracking of consumers online behaviors. The FTC essentially told the industry to inform visitors of the tracking companies policies e.g. we’re tracking your web browsing habits and then feeding targeted ads based upon your online browsing and shopping habits.
It is not surprising that the FTC did not want to take on regulating online tracking of consumers. However, with the potential for abuse so great, a little bit more was expected of the FTC in order to help protect consumer’s privacy.
This has particular relevancy to Google and Yahoo who strive to provide the most relevant ads resulting in a higher click through rates, thus higher revenue, and happier users. But it isn’t Yahoo or Google that privacy advocates worry about it (at least not this one). It is the seedy Internet marketing companies that develop more sinister tracking systems that eventually fail and risk disclosing ones Internet activity to hackers and identity thieves.
Until some big privacy violations occur consumers are best to utilize safe browsing habits which include:
This should also help the companies that sell the above products.
Somewhat related to this, don’t forget to utilize a dedicated computer backup service just in case one of these tracking cookies (aka spyware) creates a dreaded blue screen or corrupts a hard drive.
President & Founder, Tru Family Dental
Marketing, Dependable Cleaners
President, Frame Destination
President & Founder, Family Travel Association