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Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

April 22, 2014

Online Consumer Data Collection: Are the Concerns Over Privacy Warranted?
New York Technology Roundtable

ALBANY, N.Y. — Online Consumer Data Collection and concerns about privacy were the feature topics of the New York Technology Roundtable today presented by speaker Jim Halpert, partner at DLA Piper.

"The Business Council and our members take customer privacy very seriously and make every effort to ensure they know how their personal information is being used,” said Marcus Ferguson, director of government affairs for The Business Council of New York State, Inc. “At the same time, it is important for businesses to know a consumer's personal interests to match them with goods and services.”

In an effort to provide products and services to their customers, many businesses have moved to an online marketing technique called “behavioral targeting.” This is simply advertising to Internet users based on their Web surfing habits. This practice allows businesses to communicate with their customers and prospective customers as real individuals rather than as subjects in a random sampling. Businesses can dialogue with potentially millions of people about their personal interests and preferences.

Behavioral targeting as a marketing tool has received a fair amount of attention from state and federal legislators in recent years because of perceived threats to consumer privacy. We have seen proposals that would require consumers to receive notice of behavioral tracking, mandate data deletion, and give consumers the ability to opt-out of all tracking.