Study Finds Online Ad Companies Ignore Consumers’ Opt Out Requests

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A woman uses a laptop computer to shop online. (AP)

MattBigler20100909_KCBS_0384r Matt Bigler
KCBS's Matt Bigler started as a reporter/anchor in 2004, and is now...
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SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Half the online advertising companies looked at in a new Stanford study continued to monitor consumers’ online activity even after the user had opted out of receiving advertising.

Third party cookies kept relaying information about the browsing activity of users who had registered with an industry website billed as a way of opting out of user tracking, as well as those who had enabled “Do Not Track” features on their web browsers.

“This study shows that left to their devices, they will do things that really are untruthful,” said Peninsula and San Francisco Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who has proposed putting behavioral tracking under the purview of the Federal Trade Commission.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

The study by Stanford graduate student Jonathan Mayer with the Stanford Computer Security Lab and the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School looked at 65 online advertising companies including Google and Yahoo.

KCBS technology analyst Larry Magid noted that some users see online tracking as a benefit.

“Frankly as a consumer I actually think I get a better experience when the ads directed to me are at least relevant,” he said.

He said such targeted advertising has been a boon to companies that have had trouble monetizing the services they offer over the Internet.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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