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Behavioral Advertising Faces Senate Next Week


Behavioral advertising
takes the stand

Next Wednesday, the Senate Subcommittee on Interstate Commerce shall conduct a hearing about interactive advertising.

The action follows privacy concerns surrounding ISPs' foray into behavioral targeting for ad-serving purposes.

Last month, Charter partnered with ad platform NebuAd to track the activity of its 2.8 million broadband subscribers. And UK-based ad system Phorm, which also works with ISPs, drew ire over its potential violation of an information interception law. (Phorm was ultimately acquitted of the accusation, but ISP customers remain wary.)

Late last year, the FTC issued self-regulating guidelines for companies interested in exploring behavioral advertising. It's a touchy subject, but certainly not one lacking user benefits. A Harris Interactive survey found consumers were (mostly) at ease with behavioral targeting — if certain security safeguards are met.

Witnesses at the Subcommittee hearing may include the Center for Democracy & Technology; and Microsoft, which previously encouraged the FTC to implement a tiered structure, each with its own privacy regulations, for online advertising.

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