Possible privacy bill in works targeting Internet advertising

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Washington, D.C.—Despite a recent report by the Federal Trade Commission confirming that the online advertising industry is capable, for the time, of regulating itself, a prominent U.S. lawmaker has announced plans to develop a bill to impose legal regulations on Internet advertising to protect consumer privacy.

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) said a minimum set of statutory requirements should apply to all behavioral advertising. He said the industry’s attempts at self-regulation have been inadequate.

Boucher, head of the telecommunications subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he is developing the bill together with two Republicans, Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida and Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, both also on the subcommittee.

Last month the advertising industry’s use of behavioral targeted advertising gained a reprieve, when the FTC issued a list of voluntary online advertising guidelines, confirming its view that the industry could regulate itself. However, the FTC also warned that legislation may be appropriate if online advertisers abuse consumer privacy.

—Christopher Hosford

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