The Bill Heard ’Round the World: Ban Data Mining

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sem1.jpgADOTAS — Collecting information about people online – to use for targeted advertising – may soon be illegal. At least it will be if Democrat Richard Brodsky, an assemblyman who represents part of Westchester County, New York, gets his way, according to reports.

Brodsky’s beef is primarily with heavy-hitters like Google, Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo – he wants to see them slapped with heavy fines if they use people’s personal information for targeted ads without their explicit consent. He wants users to give the search titans permission to track their Web history, searches, or gather information including names, addresses and phone numbers.

Since it would be next to impossible for the companies to just limit their data mining to one state, the bill — which is gathering steam in Albany – if passed – would reverberate around the globe. Brodsky hopes to put the bill to a vote this Spring.

“A law like this essentially takes some of the gold away from marketers,” said Joseph Turow, a professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania told The New York Times. “But it’s the right thing to do. Consumers have no idea how much information is being collected about them, and the advertising industry should have to deal with that.”

Lobbyists for Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL have all met with or have scheduled meetings with Brodsky in an attempt to stymie or change the bill.

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