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Microsoft adCenter Targeted by Consumer Groups

Two consumer advocacy groups have filed a complaint with the F.T.C., claiming Microsoft and other web-based companies are using "unfair and deceptive" business practices to collect data about their customers.

The complaint by the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG), revolves around the customer data collection methods that Microsoft's adCenter uses, PC World reports. The much-touted adCenter provides contextual advertising to web surfers based on their online habits.

But CDD and US PIRG claim that Microsoft goes too far in the data it collects. "Microsoft has embarked on a wide-ranging data collection and targeting scheme that is deceptive and unfair to millions of users," the groups explain in their complaint (pdf) to the FTC.

But Microsoft denied the charges raised by the groups. "From what we have read, they have got it all wrong," Mike Hintze, Microsoft's senior attorney for privacy, explains in a statement. "We are very open with consumers about our privacy policies and practices across all of our online services and all of our advertising products. We would be happy to brief the Center for Digital Democracy and others about how adCenter works."

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