A battle looms over tracking consumers’ online habits
The issue has been simmering for quite some time. But in 2010 the debate over how advertisers, web companies and others monitor individuals' use of the internet will reach boiling-point. Politicians in America will debate legislation that would give consumers more knowledge of the information being collected about them online—and more control over how it is subsequently used. Advertisers and web companies will push back, arguing that they can be trusted to police themselves.
At least three trends will ensure that online privacy commands plenty of attention in the coming year. The first is the rise of so-called “behavioural targeting”, in which websites gather detailed data about the surfing habits of users and crunch this information to help determine which adverts to show surfers. Although this approach is still less widely used than, say, contextual targeting, which automatically links adverts to search terms on services such as Yahoo! ...