Samuelson, Annenberg Report: Consumers Believe Privacy Policies Prohibit Common Advertising Practices

Type: Report
Year: 2007

In advance of the Federal Trade Commission’s Town Hall on behavioral advertising, the Samuelson Clinic and the Annenberg Public Policy Center have released a report showing that most consumers think privacy policies prohibit common online advertising practices. Our research shows that individuals do not understand the basics and legality of information collection techniques. In a new poll of California adults sponsored by the Samuelson Clinic and conducted by the University’s Survey Research Center, 37% thought that privacy policies prohibit websites from analyzing the data they collect directly from users. When Annenberg explained the third-party network advertising model to survey respondents, 85% did not agree that a “valued” site should be able to serve clickstream advertising to them based on visits to other websites. The Annenberg survey also makes clear that many consumers do not understand or think through the privacy implications of sharing their real name and email address with a website. The report builds upon a joint paper released at the Federal Trade Commission’s 2007 “Tech-Ade” event, and recommends that the Commission police the term “privacy policy,” so that sites advertising the term provide protections consistent with consumer expectations.

Click to download pdf