US ISPs agree not to snoop on subscribers as much

I was intrigued to read online that the US Senate hosted a hearing behavioural targeting - the process whereby ISPs target advertising and content at subscribers depending on their previously displayed online behaviour - last Thursday.

In what appears to be a pre-emptive move, two of the largest ISPs in the US - AT&T and Verizon - have agreed not to engage in tracking activities and have also challenged their peers to also commit to this ethos.

As a result of the hearing, it's looking more and more likely that the US government will implement some sort of privacy legislation to stop any trials amongst ISPs - in the US at least - of targeted advertising.

There's increasing support, however, for ISPs to offer punters opt-in advertising programs where - in return for a reduction in subscription rates - netters agree to receive targeted ads, rather than the run-of-the-mill ones they see on their existing online travels.

This is an interesting move, as, depending the ad revenues involved, some customers may end up getting their broadband or WiFi services for free, just as is the case with Blyk mobile phone service aimed at teenagers and young people in the UK.

In that business model, cellular users are given a bucket of free minutes and text messages, provided they agree to be bombarded - sorry, targeted - with relevant advertising.

Check out more on this emotive subject on the PC World Web site here...