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Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Others Unite To Fight NYS Ad Targeting Bill; FTC Ending Comments On Regs

This story was written by David Kaplan.

Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), AOL (NYSE: TWX), Facebook, Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) and others have banded together to fight a proposed bill in the New York State Legislature that would curtail their ability to gather user data for behavioral targeting, WSJ reported. The coalition, which also includes eBay (NSDQ: EBAY), Electronic Data Systems, Monster Worldwide (NSDQ: MNST) and Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK), have submitted a letter to Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester County), the bill's sponsor, calling his proposal "would have profound implications for the future of Internet advertising and the availability of free content on the internet."

The group's letter, written by their attorney, Jim Halpert, also said the bill was probably unconstitutional because states can't regulate internet commerce. In particular, the companies oppose the bill's provision requiring "detailed notice" on websites that collect personal data for ad targeting.

-- FTC public comment period ends Friday: The companies fighting Brodsky's bill also say it's unnecessary, since the Federal Trade Commission's will soon be issuing new guidelines for behavioral ad practices. The public comment period for companies and individuals to weigh in on the suggested regulations is set to close on Friday. So far, 15 individuals and companies have offered their views (available here on the FTC site) - ranging from privacy advocates who feel the FTC's recommendations are too lax, to Google, who argues that the suggested rules are already too broad - though an FTC rep tells ClickZ that it expects a last-minute deluge of commentary. For example, Yahoo is likely to submit its thoughts on the proposal by Friday. More after the jump.

-- Google's concerns: In its comment on the FTC's draft principles, Google outlined three concerns: a greater need to differentiate between "personally identifying information" and information that is not personally identifying; the need to have a narrower definition of "behavioral advertising"; and the necessity of drawing a distinction between first-party advertising and third-party advertising. At the other end of spectrum, several individuals pleaded with the FTC to require companies to offer opt-in, not just an opt-out, choices for accepting behavioral targeting.

By David Kaplan

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