Death to Behavioral Targeting

As the Wall Street Journal  reports, the European Union has approved legislation that would require a web user’s consent to accept cookies, rather than the opt-out provision that is currently in place.  For the uninitiated, cookies are programs that track your web movements, and they are used to analyze web behavior (by Google analytics, for instance). Once the law goes into effect (in about 18 months), European citizens will be irritated by pop-ups asking their permission on most of the sites that they visit.  But their privacy will be intact, if they so choose. This decision was part of a broader law which, among other things, knocks down the “three-strikes” law. That law, which was viewed favorably by record and movie industry associations, would disconnect the internet connection of anyone who was suspected of piracy three times.  Instead, the new law, which strives for balance between anti-piracy and users rights, will grant a trial to anyone suspected of illegal downloading. I hope the FCC is paying attention.

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