Internet advertisers’ attempts at self regulation as to
privacy matters are not meeting the necessary standard says FTC Commissioner
Jon Leibowitz. Advertisers predictably feel differently, stating that
regulation of the industry would stifle the red-hot industry.
While these comments were only those of one commissioner,
they demonstrate that privacy matters related to online advertising are very
far from being out of the regulatory spotlight. Mergers such as Google and
Doubleclick have further highlighted these issues. Online advertisers have had
a very free realm in which to operate over the years and the end or virtually unbridled
freedom may be a bit closer than it once was. While it is unlikely that there
would be serious overarching regulations, the FTC is likely to take action as
to more “risky” behavior like swapping data and targeting customers based on medical
and financial data.
While the FTC may be moving towards more regulation in the upcoming years it is
unlikely that any such rulemaking would be suffocating to online advertising. Only
online advertisers that deal in very private matters, such as medical and financial
advertising, would likely have anything to fear.