An online accountability initiative is essentially asking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to regulate targeted online advertising delivered through search engines such as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Yahoo, and Bing when it comes to consumers searching for information on financial products such as mortgages.
Nathan Newman, director of tech-progress.org, submitted comments to the CFPB that urged the bureau to prioritize the regulation of “behavioral targeting associated with the advertising practices of these search engines and the advertising services they provide.” This would include data collected on consumers who are searching for information on financial products.
“Given the increasing role of the Internet as a means for consumers to find financial services—and in turn be subject to abusive practices that harm consumer interests—we write today to ask the Bureau to include the online intermediaries, particularly search engines and other online advertisers using so-called behavioral targeting, which are playing an increasing role in linking consumers with a range of financial institutions,” Tech Progress writes.
Tech Progress asks the CFPB to collect more data to measure the impact of such behavioral targeting on consumers and to establish rules to protect those consumers. Newman says that if the CFPB can collect data to find out how much revenue search engines are seeing from targeted search, it will show the strong presence of these tools in the marketplace.
“The CFPB should define a broad market for financial regulation that includes all companies collecting personal data and using it for behavioral targeting—both directly through specific search terms for example but also combining other personal data collected in order to connect consumers to financial institutions with targeted offers,” Newman writes.
View the comments from Tech Accountability.
Written by Elizabeth Ecker