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Ad group unveils plan to improve web privacy

As the debate over online privacy and advertiser access to users’ data continues, a group of the advertising industry’s largest trade organizations was to announce on Oct. 4 the details of a self-regulatory program that would allow users to opt out of being tracked by its member organizations, reports the New York Times. The program includes the use of an icon called the “Advertising Option Icon” that marketers can place near their ads or on the web pages that collect data that are used for behavioral targeting. Users who click on the icon, a lower case letter “I” inside a triangle that is pointing right, will see an explanation of why they are seeing a particular ad and will be able to opt out of being tracked. Some companies still might serve less focused ads after a user opts out, while others might stop showing ads to that user altogether. But representatives for the trade organizations said the steps were not an indication that the privacy debate had ended. And privacy advocates say self-regulation is not enough. “This is just the latest version in a long series of failed self-regulatory efforts. We need the government to step in and set rules for industry,” said Pam Dixon, the executive director of the World Privacy Forum, a nonprofit group based in California…

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