Ever grow weary of Google's targeted ads following you around the Internet, making educated guesses about your consumer preferences? If only Congress would come to the rescue...


In a story on Internet ad-targeting and privacy, Miller-McCune's Emily Badger points out that there's a bill in the House to address this:

Rep. Bobby Rush, a Chicago Democrat, introduced a bill in the House earlier this summer, and the Federal Trade Commission is currently studying the issue.

Do Not Track would be technologically more complicated than Do Not Call. For starters, there wouldn't exactly be a list. More likely, you would have the option of opting into a mechanism that would leave a cookie on your computer preventing other sites from leaving their cookies tracking you.

Nor is that bill the only piece of legislation that would deal with ad targeting.

Virginia Democrat Rick Boucher unveiled a draft of online privacy legislation earlier this year, which would also allow consumers to opt out of (rather than into) having their information collected and would require companies to clearly post its collection policies.

One issue in this debate is whether or not consumer information is tracked individually and disseminated, or whether an algorithm simply associates ads with consumers in a faceless manner. Facebook, for one, believes it is well within compliance of Boucher's proposals because it doesn't sell consumer data to advertisers, but rather tells advertisers that their ads will be targeted at certain demographics, without moving any consumer data.

Given the current political climate, it seems like a matter for the next Congress. If Republicans take over the House, it will rest on the GOP's desire to confront Internet privacy as an issue.

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