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Google Using DoubleClick Tracking Cookies 175

dstates sends news coming out of the letters the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent to a number of broadband and Internet companies about their policies and practices on user tracking. The committee has now made public 25 responses to its queries, and many companies, including Google, acknowledge using targeted-advertising technology without explicitly informing customers. The Committee is considering legislation to require explicitly informing the consumer of the type of information being gathered and any intent to use it for a different purpose, and a right to say "no" to the collection or use. The submitter notes that, while Google denies using deep packet inspection, if the traffic is a Google search or email to or from a Gmail account, Google does not need DPI to see the contents of the message. "The revelations came in response to a bipartisan inquiry of how more Internet companies have gathered data on customers. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) said 'Increasingly, there are no limits technologically as to what a company can do in terms of collecting information... and then selling it as a commodity to other providers.' Some companies like NebuAd have tested deep-packet inspection with some broadband providers Knology and Cable One. Google said that it had begun to use the DoubleClick ad-serving cookie that allow the tracking of Web surfing across different sites but said it was not using deep packet inspection. Google promotes the fact that its merger with DoubleClick provides advertisers 'insight into the number of people who have seen an ad campaign,' as well as 'how many users visited their sites after seeing an ad.' Microsoft and Yahoo acknowledge the use of behavioral targeting. Yahoo says it allows users to turn off targeted advertising on its Web sites; Microsoft has not yet responded to the committee."

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