Congressman Wants Web Tracking to be Opt-In Only

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From smart displays capable of identifying its viewers to a recent push for more rich media ads , privacy seems to be taking a backseat to ad revenue. But while companies toy with ways to make more money through online ads, at least one person in Congress wants to make sure your rights aren't getting trampled in the process.

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass) has seen enough and believes online monitoring services working on behalf of the advertising community should make their intentions clear and be required to obtain approval before tracking your online activities. He's not talking about innocent cookies, but deep packet inspection (DPI) technologies .

"First, there is a distinction in the detail, type, and amount of data collected," Markey said. "As opposed to individual websites that know certain information about visitors to its websites and affiliates, deep packet inspection technologies can indicate every website a user visits and much more about a person's web use," he said.

Not everyone shares Markey's same concerns. Robert Dykes, CEO of NebuAd, claims his company doesn't run afoul of privacy rights and translates visitor's IP addresses it gathers into anonymous identifiers. Furthermore, Dykes claims an opt-in program would cause "major harm" to the current infrastructure of the internet, which thrives on advertising revenue.

Does Dykes have a point, or is Markey right on the money?

Image Credit: Boston Globe, Dina Rudick

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