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An April 8, 2010 article in Advertising Age quoted Venable partner Stu Ingis on a recent complaint by privacy groups that the Federal Trade Commission should investigate the targeting practices of online advertisers.

The FTC told privacy groups it is "carefully reviewing" the complaint, which asked the FTC to investigate the advertising exchange systems of Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and others. Marketers are increasingly relying on auction and exchange systems, which can more accurately and more quickly target users by profiling their surfing and buying habits.

"This is couched in the name of privacy but it's an anti-media, anti-advertising effort," said Ingis, who is counsel for a broad coalition of advertisers, including Microsoft, Google and Yahoo. "It's a lot of rhetorical concern."

According to the article, the complaint comes as two incoming commissioners give the FTC a new makeup and could affect the outcome of online privacy debates now gaining traction in Washington. Ingis acknowledged the FTC's new makeup will certainly open the debate over privacy with regard to behavioral advertising, but he is not concerned the commission is biased either way.

"Both of the new commissioners are clearly very qualified," said Ingis. "Of course we should be debating information policy."