To safeguard consumers, Mr. Leibowitz said that standard rules about the privacy policies of Web sites may need to be established. He pointed to a study that found that people with a high school education can easily understand only 1 percent of the privacy policies of large companies.
He also noted that none of the companies in the survey made targeting an opt-in decision. Most companies today make people take action in order to opt out of their tracking programs; Mr. Leibowitz suggested that more policies should be opt-in.
“People should have dominion over their computers,” he said. “The current ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ in online tracking and profiling has to end.”
But some people from the online advertising industry said that the commission, which conducted the forum, should stay out.
Randall Rothenberg, president and chief executive of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, said the agency should not regulate online advertising because it could limit what he called a recent “extraordinary pattern of innovation.”
Also today in internet policing news, A coalition of consumer groups and legal scholars on Thursday formally asked the Federal Communications Commission to stop Comcast Corp. from interfering with its subscribers' file sharing.
Two of the groups are also asking the FCC to fine Comcast $195,000 for every affected subscriber.
The petitions will be the first real test of the FCC's stance on "Net Neutrality," the long-standing principle that Internet traffic be treated equally by carriers. The agency has a policy supporting the concept but its position hasn't been tested in a real-world case.