CDD pushes FTC for mobile rules investigation

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As mobile marketing takes off as a direct marketing channel, questions are arising about the role of consumer privacy.

The Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), based in Washington D.C., and the US Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG), based in Boston, have petitioned the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate the mobile marketplace and look at practices that could compromise user privacy. The groups also are pushing for a special investigation on the privacy threats and inappropriate practices surrounding targeting children, adolescents and multicultural consumers.

The petition raises concerns around the mobile practices of behavioral targeting, location-based targeting, user tracking/mobile analytics, audience segmentation and data mining.

The petition comes after the two groups' previous complaints, which were filed in 2006 and 2007, pushed the FTC to consider legislation for consumer privacy from such online advertising practices as behavioral profiling and targeting. The FTC is now investigating the industry.

The new petition requests that the FTC “Require true notice and disclosure of data collection on mobile devices; redefine ‘Unfair and Deceptive' practices in the mobile marketing arena; review industry self-regulation and protect youth from unfair or deceptive practices on mobile devices.”

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