eldavojohn writes "The NYTimes is running an interesting blog piece on the answers Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo, & Google gave to the question: Can they show you an ad with your name on it? The results: 'Microsoft says it could use only a person's first name [which it doesn't consider personal information]. AOL and Yahoo could use a full name but only on their sites, not the other sites on which they place ads. Google isn't sure; it probably could, but it doesn't know the names of most of its users.' Now whether or not they would use this information is a different story. AOL has no plans to, Yahoo is open to it, and Microsoft has implemented a technological barrier preventing it (despite behavioral and demographic data being served to the ad companies). Although Google might use name information at some point, they don't now do so; nor do they use behavioral or demographic data."