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The New York Times this morning reports on a new survey by the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Berkeley, suggesting that two-thirds of Americans “object to online tracking by advertisers — and that number rises once they learn the different ways marketers are following their online movements.”

Such tracking allows marketers to better target consumers who may be ripe for specific sales pitches.

This is a hot political issue, with some pushing Congress and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to regulate the tracking of online activities, and others hoping to fend off regulation with voluntary measures that they hoped would assuage critics.

The Times writes, “Tailored ads in general did not appeal to 66 percent of respondents. Then the respondents were told about different ways companies tailor ads: by following what someone does on the company’s site, on other sites and in offline places like stores.

“The respondents’ aversion to tailored ads increased once they learned about targeting methods. In addition to the original 66 percent that said tailored ads were ‘not O.K.,’ an additional 7 percent said such ads were not O.K. when they were tracked on the site. An additional 18 percent said it was not O.K. when they were tracked via other Web sites, and an additional 20 percent said it was not O.K. when they were tracked offline.”
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