Ad coalition slams data privacy bill

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Washington, D.C.—NetChoice, a coalition of advertising trade associations and e-commerce businesses that promotes Internet commerce, has extended its fight against a recently introduced online consumer privacy bill, claiming that it could violate First Amendment protection of the media's ability to report the news.

The bill, put forward last month by U.S. Representatives Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), would require companies to notify Internet users when collecting information about them. But NetChoice Executive Director Steve DelBianco said a logical extension of the requirement might prohibit news reporters from asking the names of sources without first providing a written privacy notice or using anyone's name in an article without the source's written consent.

NetChoice members include IAC/InterActiveCorp., News Corp. and Yahoo.

Despite the advertising industry's defense of behaviorally targeted advertising, a new poll released this week indicated that a large proportion of Americans are worried about being tracked on the Internet.

In the survey by telecom industry research company Precursor and polling company Zogby International, 81% of respondents said they were “somewhat” or “very” concerned about companies tracking their Internet behavior for advertising purposes. In addition, 88% said it is “unfair” for companies to do such tracking without an Internet user's permission.

The survey polled 2,111 adults online this month.

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