Thursday, June 18, 2009

Online Giants to Congress: We Can Regulate Ourselves

Me: Jigga WHAT?!?!

From today's New York Times' Media Decoder blog.

Congress today summoned executives from Facebook, Google, and Yahoo to inquire about how they are tracking consumers for advertising purposes. The hearing signals an increasing interest on Washington’s part into what online companies are doing with all the data they have on their customers.

It’s a joint hearing between two House subcommittees, one on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, and the other on Communications, Technology, and the Internet.

On one side are the privacy advocates, who see this online monitoring as intrusive. “We are being digitally shadowed online,” Jeffrey Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, said in prepared remarks at the hearing. “Our travels through the digital media are being monitored, and digital dossiers on us are being created—and even bought and sold.”

On the other side, the industry argues that any privacy regulation would be a huge blow to commerce. Online advertising revenues dropped 5 percent in the first quarter of 2009, the sharpest decline to date, according to a recent Interactive Advertising Bureau report. (One of the stated goals of the bureau, a trade group whose members include AOL, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and most major online media sites, is to “fend off adverse legislation and regulation”).

The industry groups are arguing for self-regulation.
Whoa! BRAKES ON! Industry self-regulation? Why does this sound familiar? I'm pretty sure the last big go-round of an industry regulating itself was an epic fail. I'm also fairly certain that said alleged self-regulation resulted in the financial crisis we are all enduring and paying for.

So the Congressional response to Facebook, Google, AOL, Microsoft, et. al's self-regulation schtick should be HELL TO THE NO.

No comments:

Post a Comment