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NebuAd Aborts Big Brother

NebuAdThe Washington Post today reported that NebuAd has halted plans to deploy the deep-packet inspection tracking of internet users for their advertising platform. I’d earlier predicted that consumer sensitivity about NebuAd could derail their business plans, and I reported how lawmakers pressured and ISP not to share data with NebuAd.

Meanwhile, Congress is examining issues around exploiting user data for behavioral marketing and targeted advertising, and the heavy uncertainty in the air would make NebuAd’s entire business modle appear to be a very unstable foundation.

Jeffrey Chester, Executive Director for the Center for Digital Democracy, is quoted as saying:

“NebuAd… seriously underestimated the privacy concerns.”

Does this completely derail the future of behavioral marketing on the internet? Probably not. Quite a number of companies, including Google, are already using user data to some degree (such as Geolocation) in order to target content and advertising. The compelling needs for continued expansion and success of internet businesses will probably overwhelm the voice of consumer advocacy groups for a while longer.

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