Policy

Stern: Prior Consent Needed On Web

9/25/2008 6:14 AM Eastern

Washington—Time Warner Cable wouldn't participate in online target advertising without the prior consent of its high-speed data subscribers, company executive vice president Peter Stern says in Senate testimony Thursday.

"Should Time Warner Cable decide to engage in such activities, our customers' privacy will be a fundamental consideration," Stern says in prepared testimony obtained by Multichannel News.

Stern is to appear before the Senate Commerce Committee at 10 a.m. to discuss consumer privacy issues on the Internet, an issue that could produce a new law next year.

Time Warner Cable does not participate in the online targeted advertising business today, Stern says,

Stern says that any Internet privacy regime, in addition to emphasizing an opt-in approach, should not exclude Google, Yahoo and other Web-based players from its reach.

Rules designed to protect consumer privacy should be adopted and applied "to all providers of current online advertising, including ad networks, application providers and Internet service providers," Stern says.

Up to now, the Internet privacy debate has focused on whether broadband access providers have been acting improperly by surreptitiously tracking the movements of Web browsers and then plying them with ads based on those movements.

That should change, Stern says,

“A framework that leaves any provider uncovered would leave all users unprotected. In addition, a common set of rules protecting consumer privacy is the only way to ensure that all businesses that provide online advertising can compete and innovate on a level playing field," Stern says.

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