Truth or Dare: Top Web Firms to Be Questioned on Their Targeting Practices

It looks like the NebuAd and related user privacy scandals are far from cooling off. Reuters reports that the US House Energy and Commerce Committee has sent written queries to the likes of Google, Microsoft, Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, asking if they engage in behavioral targeting of their users.

“We are interested in the nature and extent to which you engage in such practices, and the impact it could have on consumer privacy,” wrote Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell, D-Mich., and ranking Republican Joe Barton of Texas. – Reuters (08/01)

All’s fine and a honorable initiative this is: I would, indeed, be creeped out to find out just how close I’m ‘watched’ by my ISP and the myriad of sites I use. However, I’m having a Carrie moment and cannot help but wonder: are these people (John Dingell and Joe Barton, namely) qualified to run such an investigation or this initiative is just a charade? Who are the advisors doing the actual work of analysing these dotcoms and ISPs?