ciscoguy01 tips news that three privacy groups are asking the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether ad networks are "unfairly tracking Americans and profiting from their data." According to Wired, "Companies named in the complaint (PDF) include Google, Yahoo, PubMatic, TARGUSinfo, MediaMath, eXelate, Rubicon Project, AppNexus, and Rocket Fuel. At issue is a growing market of targeted, real-time ads, where advertisers can choose to show ads to people based on their age, gender, income and location — as well as their recent online behavior — often on unrelated sites that let third parties track users.... Third-party cookie tracking isn't new, but as the complaint points out, marketers are increasingly trying to augment that data with other data sets, such as the social network data that Rapleaf harvests and resells.... Tying ad cookies to personally identifiable data would let marketers successfully combine online and offline data on website visitors to build a complete digital dossier on a user."
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