Online Trackers to Tell You What They Know About You

Service to let users edit their demographics, or opt out
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 3, 2010 8:35 AM CST
Some firms that track online activity are working on a service to expose the data they have on users.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Online tracking companies are banding together to create a service where Internet users can view information collected about them, the Wall Street Journal reports. Via the Open Data Partnership, consumers will be able to edit their interests and demographics as gathered by eight tracking companies like BlueKai and eXelate—and users will even be able to opt not to be tracked. More trackers are expected to join the service after its January launch, but the Journal notes that big players like Google and Yahoo aren't involved.

“The government has told us that we have to do better as an industry to be more transparent and give consumers more control. This is a huge step in that direction,” said a head of the project. The Journal reports that web ads will bear the service's logo—a lowercase "i" encased in a triangle. Users can click on by the icon to gain access to info related to why the ad was targeted to them. The government this week urged the creation of a “do-not-track” system, but some lawmakers fear a bill mandating such a tool could harm the online economy, the Los Angeles Times notes.

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