The Wall Street Journal reports on a new transparency effort by companies that track and compile data on people’s Internet habits in order to create targeted behavioral advertisements:
Seeking to head off escalating scrutiny over Internet privacy, a group of online tracking rivals is building a service that lets consumers see what information those companies know about them.
The project is the first of its kind in the fast-growing business of tracking Internet users and selling personal details about their lives. Called the Open Data Partnership, it will allow consumers to edit the interests, demographics and other profile information collected about them. It also will allow people to choose to not be tracked at all.
When the service launches in January, users will be able to see information about them from eight data and tracking firms, including BlueKai Inc., Lotame Solutions Inc. and eXelate Inc. Additional tracking firms are expected to join once the system is live, but more than a hundred tracking firms and big Internet companies including Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. are not involved. […]
The $25 billion Internet advertising industry is scrambling to make more transparent its widespread practice of collecting, selling and using Web browsing and other profile information about consumers, as part of a broader effort to ward off federal regulation.
Online tracking is legal, and companies currently aren’t bound by government rules to show people what they know about them. […]
Internet and advertising companies typically gather information about users to target ads. A person’s Web activities and location can be used to tailor the type of credit cards pitches they see, for instance.