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Leibowitz Thinks IP Addresses are Personal

BEHAVIORAL TARGETING—U.S.

April 26, 2010

As Congress considers expanded rulemaking authority for the nation's consumer protection agency, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz discusses behavioral targeting and other issues with Bob Garfield, the host of National Public Radio's "On the Media" program. Leibowitz says that while targeted advertising is good for consumers in some ways, in others it can be disturbing. He says that to an extent, what is happening with behavioral targeting on the Internet is akin to having someone follow you through a shopping mall and then sell information on your shopping activities to interested parties. While Internet behavioral targeting generally involves anonymized consumer data, he says, the information could be tracked back to a user's IP address and there is an ongoing debate about whether an IP address should be considered personal information. "I kinda think it is," the chairman said.  
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