D.C., April 23, 2009—This
morning, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee held a hearing on
recent developments in online privacy for consumers. This hearing explored
several data gathering techniques, such as deep-packet inspection, that have
recently been adopted for targeted marketing purposes.
Deep-packet inspection, like many nascent technologies, has
stoked privacy fears, but it can coexist with robust privacy protections.
Nevertheless, deep-packet inspection has been vilified by many politicians,
including Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), who has called for federal restrictions on
collecting information about Web users’ browsing habits.
“Imposing rigid mandates on user-level monitoring would
stifle innovative new ways of connecting buyers and sellers,” said Ryan Radia , Competitive Enterprise
Institute Information Policy Analyst. “Internet advertising revenue is
essential to online content creators, including many local newspapers.
Especially during a recession, Web users stand to benefit from technologies
that enhance free content by increasing the value of users’ eyeballs.”
“The Internet can best serve customers as a system with few
top-down rules, guided by competitive discipline rather than government
regulation,” said Wayne Crews ,
Vice President for Policy. “The benefits that personalization brings, like
easier and faster shopping experiences, are in their infancy. Sensible data
collection improves search, communication, innovation, and competitiveness –
all the things we associate with a well-functioning economy and greater
consumer convenience and power. These developments should not be hampered by
haphazard regulation and misdirected government intervention.”
CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan
public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited
government. For more information about
CEI, please visit our website at www.cei.org .