Behavioral tracking is used to gather vital information from internet users. Companies that do target advertising could use this gathered data for their marketing. This has been verified to increase the effectiveness of their campaigns. Gone are those days when marketing firms would conduct surveys of readers’ preferences and applications. Current technology has given rise to online tracking where marketing firms collect data connected with users’ online “movements”.
At first, this data collection from users seemed innocent. As more and more internet marketing companies have made use of such techniques, privacy issues started to appear. It became increasingly difficult to retain privacy on the web. A user’s online behavior can easily be tracked, making him or her “target” for internet advertising companies. Users began to question the legitimacy of such behavior, and considered it a violation of individual privacy. There then came the first claims of unlawful intrusiveness by internet data.
User data that is uploaded holds so much important information with extensive marketing potentials. As a whole, these contain the user’s data and those of his or her friends, linkages, locations, and influences. With some transformations, these could tell not only what the individual user wants but also the wants of his or her friends. Abuse of personal data becomes a never ending prospect.
The stand of the Federal Trade Commission is that behavioral marketing should be self-regulated in order to avoid privacy violation claims. It requires that website owners should not fail to disclose behavioral targeting procedures in a clear and conspicuous manner. There were some website owners who were prosecuted due to violations of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
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