The Federal Trade Commission thinks that Congress should require the fair information practice principles despite the challenges that profiling by network advertisers presents. Some of the challenges include the existence of the non-visible, third-party relationship between network advertisers and consumers, meaning consumers do not know that their information and activity is being monitored by network advertising companies. Consumers only see the website that they are visiting, unless the website informs them of the advertising networks presence and that they are collecting data. Another challenge comes from having multiple network advertisers on one particular website.
In November 1999, the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) was formed. It is made up of the leading Internet Network Advertisers including 24/7 Media, Avenue A, Engage and MatchLogic. They created a blueprint for the self-regulation of the online profiling industry. The point of implementing fair information practices to online profiling is to attain transparency (the collection and use of both non-personally identifiable information and personally identifiable information) when the consumer is unaware that they are being profiled. A consumer cannot say whether or not they want their information given out unless they know it is being collected. It would be ideal for each website to provide a notice and the choice options to consumers when a network advertiser is placing cookies on their files or is collecting other information. This way, consumers can choose not to partake in profiling. For non-personally identifiable data, network advertisers cannot link what they have already collected to personally identifiable information without the consent of the consumer. Consumers will be given access to their personally identifiable information that is retained for profiling by a network advertiser. Network Advertisers must take notable precautions for protecting consumer information from being loss, misused, altered, and destroyed. To enforce the rules, all industry members must submit themselves for monitoring of compliance by an independent third party and are subject to sanctions for non-compliance. The Commission believes the NAI Principles tackle the privacy concerns most consumers have about online profiling. The Commission believes self-regulation to be really important and they think the NAI presents a concrete self-regulatory method.
I agree with the Federal Trade Commission and believe that fair information practice principles should be required. If consumers are unaware they are being watched, they cannot voice their opinion about how they feel about being watched. As of now, network advertisers can take personally identifiable information and combine it with the profiles that were created by cookies. This is not fair to me. I think the network advertisers have way too much non-consented, private information. By putting requirements on how much information they can take and requiring them to ask for permission before taking certain types of information, they are giving privacy back to the consumer. Even though the consumer never knew it was gone and some could argue, therefore, it didn’t matter anyway, but I believe that it is still their personal information and no one should be able to just take it without authorized consent.