Eileen Harrington, deputy director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, has clearly warned online advertisers (ie. google) to either come up with solid self regulation and effective policing (impossible) or face legislation along
the lines of the 'Do Not Call' lists which might enable consumers to permanently opt out of internet tracking and advertising.
The internet privacy issue is currently the hottest legislative topic in Washington, apart from bailing out the financial industry that is.
The EU is awakened to the issue and we may see some strong leadership from that quarter.
On a side issue, a recent court decision in the U.S. based on the actions of the Founders - they wrote 'anonymous' letters to the newspaper to stoke revolutionary fires - allows spammers to use fake sender details under the right to free speech and preventing
Is that the same oppression that is effected by search engines censoring the world for whatever junta is in power in your location? Coming to your neighbourhood soon.
The Supreme court will no doubt have some sensible input into both of these issues in coming months.
It does pose a question about google. What will their business model be if it isn't targeted advertising through behavioural analysis?
The internet is one giant focus group and no doubt they would argue that even if 10% of the bunnies willingly participate in tracking and analysis then advertisers will have enough sample data to predict which way the other rabbits will jump anyway.
It seems a few Senators are a little conscious that they just might become bunnies in the spotlight with all their behaviour predicted just like the rest of us consumers. Stay tuned.