WIRED: Don’t Look Now, but Congress Might Pass an Actually Good Privacy Bill

July 21, 2022

“I think it’s a pretty fundamental shift,” says Alan Butler, executive director and president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “It gets at the heart of what I see as the major privacy problem in the way that ad tech has developed over the last 20 years, largely because there was no privacy law in effect. What’s developed is an ad tech industry that just gorges on personal information in every possible way it can, grabbing every possible piece of data they can find about people.”

Under the new version of the ADPPA, Butler says, some forms of targeting would remain common, particularly targeting based on first-party data. If you shop for shoes on Target.com, Target could still use that information to show you ads for shoes when you’re on another site. What it wouldn’t be able to do is match your shopping history with everything else you do on the web and on your phone to show you ads for stuff you’ve never told them you wanted. Nor could Facebook and Google continue to spy on you by placing trackers on nearly every website or free app you use, in order to build a profile of you for advertisers.

“If they’re tracking your activity across third-party websites, which they certainly are, then that’s sensitive data, and they can’t be processing that for targeted advertising purpose,” says Butler.

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