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Electronic Ad Sales System Raises Profiling Concerns

ONLINE PRIVACY—U.S.

November 19, 2012

The New York Times reports on little-known electronic ad sales systems helping run “the hyperkinetic world of digital advertising” in a form that “happens automatically, and imperceptibly, to most consumers.” The report states, “On the web, powerful algorithms are sizing you up, based on myriad data points: what you Google, the sites you visit, the ads you click,” adding, “Then, in real time, the chance to show you an ad is auctioned to the highest bidder.” Federal regulators and consumer advocates worry the practice “could unfairly stratify consumers,” the report states. “As you profile more and more people, you’ll start to segregate people into ‘the people you can get money out of’ and ‘the people you can’t get money out of’,” said the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Dan Auerbach. (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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