Nearly lost in the news about the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's approval on Thursday of Google's acquisition of DoubleClick was another action by the agency: the publication of a proposed set of privacy principles governing online behavioral advertising.
The release of the privacy principles is an important and welcome step, said Peter Swire, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, and a law professor at Ohio State University. Although some privacy groups blasted the FTC for approving Google's DoubleClick deal, the acquisition has helped place focus on the entire online advertising industry's privacy practices, Swire said.
"It's good that the FTC is shining a spotlight on this industry," Swire said Friday. "Online advertising is in its second boom. They're trying lots of new techniques; some of those techniques have privacy problems."
The FTC hosted a workshop on behavioral advertising and privacy in November. The agency's proposed privacy principles, a series of "self-regulatory" steps the FTC is recommending for online advertisers, come in part from that workshop.