Google Reminds FTC of Online Advertising’s Good Sides

Do Google ads foster freer, more robust and more diverse speech? Google thinks so, and the company wants the Federal Trade Commission to know it. The Web giant sent the FTC, which will delve into the worlds of online advertising and behavioral targeting and tracking in a November “Town Hall,” suggestions for topics to consider in addition to what the FTC has already laid out as its discussion points. The FTC already plans to consider how online behavioral advertising works, companies in the sector, types of data collected and how it’s used, data security and disclosure, consumer understanding and regulatory standards.

Mainly, Google wants the commission to consider the role of online advertising in “providing free, accessible, user-friendly, and high-quality content to consumers,” according to Google’s Public Policy Blog. “The growth in online advertising has also spurred innovation, competition, and investment in the online advertising space – all of which produce consumer benefits in the form of more online resources and more relevant information,” wrote Google Policy Counsel Pablo Chavez.

The firm also stresses the “vibrant small business community” that is enabled through online advertising. Not only can individual publishers earn part-time and full-time funds through online ads, Chavez writes, “Our advertising network helps small businesses connect in an affordable and effective manner with otherwise unreachable consumers, including consumers in small, remote, or niche markets.”

Of course, Google’s DoubleClick purchase and subsequent outcries from privacy advocates has spotlighted issues surrounding data privacy in the online ad space. At the end of the post, however, Chavez claims the proposed DoubleClick acquisition “provides an opportunity for us to bolster privacy even further,” which prompted a couple blog comments wondering exactly how.

One suspects the FTC will be wondering the same thing.

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