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FTC Slates Social Marketing Session

The Federal Trade Commission says it will host its two-day "town hall" meeting on behavioral marketing Nov. 1-2, 2007, at the FTC.

The FTC said back in June it would hold the fall meeting,  a follow-up to the November 2006 Tech-Ade forum about the impact of technology on consumers.

The FTC will look to get a better handle on just what behavorial marketing is, what companies do it, and how much consumers know about how they are being marketed. That would include via Weg pages visited, searches, and content accessed.

The FTC said the move comes after "several consumer privacy advocates, as well as the State of New York, sent letters to the FTC urging it to examine the effects of behavioral advertising on consumer privacy."

One of those groups remained unappeased with the FTC's response to that request.

The Center For Digital Democracy asked back in November for action. Executive Director Jeff Chester said Monday put it bluntly. "The idea that the FTC has to collect more data before it can act to protect consumers is absurd," he told B&C. "Our complaint--and the substantial, almost daily, information we have submitted to the FTC since then--provides sufficient and compelling evidence for action.

Ecohing his criticisms when the town meeting was first announced, Chester said the commission "should be issuing rules, not invitations for an industry talkfest that will result in a delay protecting consumers."

He said the center will be at the meeting, but added that "we will use the event to remind the FTC, other policymakers, and the public that new and developing approaches  from online advertising threatens consumer privacy."