Yahoo Offers Ad-Targeting Privacy Controls
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Data collection for online advertising has long been a hot-button issue among privacy advocates. Now, with regulators and lawmakers weighing in, the Web's heavyweights are taking steps to become more transparent in their use of consumer data and more willing to provide greater consumer say over how that data is used. Today saw Yahoo becoming the latest to do so, and eSecurity Planet looks at the implications.
Yahoo today unveiled a new mechanism for consumers to gain insight into how their online activities are monitored and collected for marketing purposes, offering them a chance to edit their profiles and opt out of interest-based advertising.
The company's Ad Interest Manager, released today in beta, displays a list of categories, such as entertainment, finance, and politics that reflect a broad set of interests that inform the types of ads Yahoo serves across its network of sites, inviting users to convey their preferences in each category with on and off buttons.
"Ad Interest Manager will show users what interests we think they have, and also let them edit and change those interests to reflect the most up-to-date information," Yahoo Vice President Anne Toth said in a statement. "Importantly, users who don't want interest-based ads can turn them off completely."
The timing of the release comes at a time of heightened regulatory and legislative scrutiny for online data collection. Today, the Federal Trade Commission is holding the first of a series of workshops examining consumer privacy, with a specific focus on the ways that Internet companies collect, store, and use information about people's online activity.