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Key Reps. Generally OK with Verizon's Targeted Ad Consent/Disclosure

Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) appear generally satisfied with how Verizon handled consent for and disclosure of consumer's online information for a new targeted advertising program, but said they still wished it were an opt in, rather than an opt-out regime.

Verizon pointed out in the letters that they do not disclose individually indentifying information. It also argued that it took steps to notify customers individually, publicly disclose details of the program, and provided a "clear and easy way" for consumers to opt out.

The pair, co-chairs of the bipartisan privacy caucus, released Verizon's responses to their inquiry about the program, and said both companies "followed the law and exceeded common industry practices in this area." But the suggested that either the law or industry practice needed tweaking. "we are still concerned that Verizon has required customers to opt-out of this new program rather than opt-in," they said in a joint statement Friday. "An opt-in mechanism would allow consumers, not the company, to decide whether to grant permission to use consumer information for targeted advertising purposes, especially in a program focused on geolocation from customer postal addresses."

Markey and Barton said they would continue to monitor the issue, but understood the benefits of tailored advertising.