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The federal trade commission, which has examined Internet privacy issues for children and adults, turns to online profiling in a joint workshop today with the U.S. Department of Commerce.

FTC officials last week said the agency wants to obtain information on data being gathered -- especially by third-party ad-serving companies, how personally identifiable the information is and possible disclosure needs. It said no immediate legislation or recommendation is anticipated.

Industry watchers (see Q&As below) suggest the hearing is also intended to warn marketers about the now-common practice of claiming in privacy policies that no information is being shared with third parties, but then allowing ad servers to collect information that comes close to being personally identifiable.

The possibility that the FTC could crack down on profiling has galvanized both

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