Advertising, Privacy — October 10, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Consumers Wary of Online Tracking

Just how much can you find out about someone online? The answer: the information pile grows every day.

Editor’s note: Just how pervasive is tracking? Check out Forbes Staff Writer Kasmir Hill’s “Confessions of an Online Lurker.” It offers some insight into why consumers are concerned about marketers collecting data about their activities online.

NYT– BERKELEY, Calif. — As marketers, browser makers and government regulators spar over efforts to let consumers limit custom advertising online, a new study suggests that Americans are largely unaware of what that means and have a strong aversion to being tracked online.

The majority of Americans surveyed by researchers at the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, which is part of the law school at the University of California, Berkeley, do not want information collected at all about which Web sites they visit, according to the study, which is to be released at the Amsterdam Privacy Conference on Monday.

Most of them said they did not find online advertisements useful. And nearly 90 percent said they had never heard of a proposal by the Federal Trade Commission, known as a “do not track” mechanism, that would let users opt out of having their personal data collected for the purposes of serving tailored advertisements.

The digital advertising industry has resisted efforts to limit behavioral targeting, pointing out that the free content available on the Internet, including social networks, is powered precisely by that kind of advertising.

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